How “is” can be “good”

As a writer author novelist – well, okay, author * – language intrigues me. And as an author, I try to avoid clichés. A (fairly new) one that I’ve come to dislike a lot is: “It is what it is.”

It’s often always (it seems) used to suggest something negative. It basically means:

It’s not good, but it’s not going to change, so you just need to accept it.

I guess it’s a shorter way to say that (so, better), but it’s not very encouraging. Now, I’m in favor of acceptance – especially of those things that aren’t going to change.

But doesn’t everything have at least the possibility of changing? Maybe it’s just me. Maybe “It is what it is” is, well, helpful. But no one ever means by it:

It IS good, it’s not going to change, so you need to accept it.

Speaking of “good,” I DO like another commonly used phrase (and I say it myself): “All is good.”

(It’s short, it makes me feel good, and it’s kind of like the French phrase Ça va bien.)

“Good” suggests something positive, and though I’m a glass half empty sort of person, I’m very happy to recognize anything positive. 

“All is good” gives you hope, rather than dread or resignation. And hope is something I’m also in favor of.

Now, you tell me: Which do you prefer/say?

1. It is what it is
2. All is good


* I’ve written two novels and have a work of creative non-fiction coming out in 2015, so I guess “author” covers that better than “novelist”


2 thoughts on “How “is” can be “good”

Add yours

Leave a Reply to Marg Nelson Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: