Don’t Feel Badly

Many people are confused about whether to say "I feel bad" or "I feel badly."  Most people, even those who pride themselves on their mastery of English grammar, erroneously choose "badly" because it sounds fancier, and probably according to the principle that if it seems unnatural, it must be more correct.  But, the correct form is actually "I feel bad."  Think of it this way: when you are unhappy, you say, “I feel sad.” (Not I feel sadly.)  The same applies to feeling bad.

When you say, "I feel bad," you are expressing a state of being, similar to "I feel helpless."  In both cases, you should use the adjective ("bad" or "helpless") rather than the adverb ("badly" or "helplessly”).

Can you feel badly?  Of course.  But only if your sense of touch is somehow compromised.

We hope this helped. In another blog we’re going to discuss the ramifications of the question, “Does this smell like chloroform to you?”