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Peter Sokolowski, Editor at Large
"Are you sick?" or "How are you feeling?"
Friday February 4th 2011
"Are you sick?" or "How are you feeling?"

Vam asks an excellent question about the expression are you sick? It might be misunderstood in the wrong context.

Sick usually means "ill" or "unhealthy," but it can also mean "crazy" or "not mentally healthy" -- so there is a possibility that you may be misunderstood.

If you ask someone "Are you sick?" it might be understood to mean "Are you crazy?" Sick is sometimes too direct in tone, so here are some other ways of asking the same question:

Are you not feeling well?

Do you feel ill?

How are you feeling?

It must be said that if a person is very obviously feeling unwell, you will not be misunderstood if you ask "Are you feeling sick?"

Sick is more commonly used when speaking about yourself or someone in the third person. It is never misunderstood in this context:

His mother is very sick.

The teacher went home sick.

I've been feeling sick all week.