I am feels bad or she feels badly. Which is correct and why?

asked Jul 03 '13 at 12:04 Kathryn Love New member

4 answers


If you feel bad, you have some sort of illness or a problem with something that has happened.

I drank too much, and I feel bad.

I feel bad about the way she was treated.


If you feel badly, you have a problem with your sense of touch.

The end of my finger was chopped off, and now I feel badly.


The difference is in whether 'feel' is used as a linking verb or an action verb. If you are describing how your head hurts, it's a linking verb and 'bad' should be an adjective. 'My head feels bad.' If you are using 'feel' as an action verb, then you should use the adverb 'badly' to describe the action of feeling something.

link comment edited Jul 03 '13 at 12:36 Lewis Neidhardt Grammarly Fellow

"I am feels .."  is not correct. "Feels" is the second person singular of the verb "to feel", as in "she feels".

"She feels badly" is correct: note that it does not mean that she is unwell,  but that she is unhappy about something: "She feels badly about having insulted her father."

The sentences "She feels bad" and "She is feeling bad" mean that she is unwell.  But,  if followed by the reason, as in the example above, can also mean the same as "She feels badly...".

link edited Jul 03 '13 at 13:12 Michael Cranfield Expert

It may be US vs. British usage, but I disagree with 'She feels badly about having insulted her father.' An easy tip I learned to answer the question of which to use is to substitute a form of the verb 'to be' to see if the sentence still makes sense.I feel bad. I am bad. This works. 'I am badly' doesn't work.I feel badly about having insulted my father. I am badly about having insulted my father. This doesn't work. Feel used in this context is a linking verb and needs the adjective form.

Lewis NeidhardtJul 03 '13 at 13:26

The bad/badly issue is one that has been doing the rounds for many years, but "feels badly" is of such long-established use in most of the English-speaking countries in which I have lived that it sounds slightly better to me than "feel bad". The latter may be more correct but perhaps this "rule" has gone the same way as the one about not finishing sentences with a preposition.

Michael CranfieldJul 03 '13 at 19:36

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As pointed out, the question here relates to context. Verbs are either action verbs (with or without objects) or being verbs (with complement). Some verbs, depending on context, can be both. In terms of the latter, 'feel' is a good example.

If it is used as an action verb, you may have: He feels the breeze on his face. Here, 'the breeze' is the object of 'feels' - he feels something. If he feels the breeze badly, he might have trouble feeling it, for whatever reason.

In this case, 'badly' is an adverb that modifies the meaning of the action verb 'feels'. However, if 'feels' is used as a linking verb, it will link the subject with more information about the subject. In this case, the verb functions like a = sign. What follows the verb is not an object but a complement. This complement is usually a noun, a pronoun, or an adjective. Thus, 'He feels bad,' is a sentence that tells you more about 'he'. You can visualise it as: He = bad.

So, context is monarch, as usual!

link comment edited Jul 03 '13 at 21:40 Ahmad Barnard Expert

Sim[ple explaination.

1.I am feeling bad over something.(the way a person feels/ using present continuous tense).

2. She feels badly hurt over the words spoken to her.(adverb)

link comment answered Jul 05 '13 at 01:03 Adziah Aziz New member

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