Monday, November 30, 2015

Sometimes feeling badly is not goodly

I heard an unhappy Congressman interviewed on MSNBC. He said that he felt badly about the result of an election.

"Badly" is an adverb. In this case, it describes the act of feeling. You may feel badly if you have nerve damage to your fingers or are clumsy.

If you are unhappy, you feel "bad" -- with no "ly."

Similarly, if you feel badly, you don't feel well. If you feel bad, you don't feel good.

I have a feeling that 'educated' people say "I don't feel well" when discussing their health, instead of "I don't feel good" because "well" is a more adult word than "good." It may be more adult -- but it's the wrong word. It seems to have become an acceptable inaccurate phrase, like when the TV newsman tells viewers "I'll see you tomorrow."

Now, I hope you feel better.

"Better" works in both cases. If you are more dexterous than Dexter, you feel better than he feels. If you have gotten over an illness, you feel better than you used to feel.

(photo from 

No comments:

Post a Comment