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Vocabulary Tips (어휘 팁): ‘Bad’ or ‘Badly’?

 

 

Confused between “bad and badly?” 이 혼동 되나요??  Check out this post by Quick and Dirty Tips to find out which one is correct. 어떤것이 맞는지 아래의 글을 확인하세요

 

 

If you’re unhappy or sick, you feel bad, not badly. To feel badly would be to stink at feeling things. Rarely does anyone intend to convey that kind of ineptitude. Yet people pair “feel” with “badly” all the time. It’s not unusual to hear things like this:

  • “The babysitter felt badly that the washing machine flooded the basement.”
  • “Squiggly feels badly about the score of the big game.”
  • “Aardvark is going to feel badly when no one shows up at the birthday party.”

In fact, in all these sentences, the subject felt, feels, or will feel not badly but bad. This is how to write these sentences correctly:

  • “The babysitter felt bad that the washing machine flooded the basement.”
  • “Squiggly feels bad about the score of the big game.”
  • “Aardvark is going to feel bad when no one shows up at the birthday party.”

In short, say “feel bad,” not “feel badly.”

 

Why People Say ‘Feel Badly’

It’s understandable that people want to tack on the “ly.” “Feel” is a verb, after all, and people are often taught that verbs are modified by adverbs. “Badly,” with its telltale “ly” suffix, is conspicuously an adverb. So “feel” would seem to cry out for “badly.”

How can “bad”—an adjective—modify “feel,” you might wonder?

 

The Sentence Mechanics Behind ‘I Feel Bad’

As an adjective, “bad” can’t modify “feel.” An adjective has one job: to modify a noun. In fact, that’s exactly what “bad” does in the sentence “I feel bad.” It modifies the subject: “I.”

 

In the sentence “I feel bad,” “bad” is what’s called a subject complement. The subject (“I”) and its complement (“bad”) are grammatically linked, identified with each other like two sides of an equation. What links them, like an equal sign, is the verb “feel.”

In other words, “feel,” here, is what’s called a linking verb.

Summary

In summary, learn to spot linking verbs by checking to see if you can swap in a “be”-verb, such as “is” or “am.” When in doubt, avoid following linking verbs with words that normally act as adverbs. For example, say “I feel bad,” not “I feel badly.” Otherwise, your word-savvy friends will feel unhappily.

 

 

 

That segment was written by Marcia Riefer Johnston, author of “Word Up! How to Write Powerful Sentences and Paragraphs (And Everything You Build From Them).” Marcia blogs at Writing.Rocks

 

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