Which sentence do you think is correct, A or B?
A. I feel bad about spilling wine on your rug.
B. I feel badly about spilling wine on your rug.
If you chose B, think again. It’s A. You may believe that bad should get the “ly” treatment. It’s an adverb, right? Well, when you use it descriptively, it should be an adjective. Therefore say, “I feel bad about spilling that red wine all over your expensive white rug!”
Think of it this way.
If you say you feel badly, you’re really saying that
your body is having trouble feeling the things around you.
GrammarBook.com does a great job explaining this rule in more detail. The trick is to understand how to use these four sense words: taste, look, smell and feel.
Here’s what they say:
When we use these verbs actively, we should follow them with adverbs.
When we use these verbs descriptively, we should follow them with adjectives.
I feel bad about having said that.
I am not feeling with fingers in the above example; I am describing my state of mind, so the adjective is used (no ly).
She feels badly since her fingers were burned.
She feels with her fingers here so the adverb (ly form) is used.
You can check out the rest here on GrammarBook. There’s even a little quiz to help you get the rule right.
And if sometimes you still aren’t sure, do what I do. I always think of this book to get it straight!
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