9/10/2004

so the phrase "I feel badly" bothers me. I hear people say it sometimes and now it's on TV a lot in a commercial for some new show called "Desparate Housewives" (which is not porn, even though it sounds like it). This guy says "you tried to kill me," and a woman, who I assume is a desparate housewife, says "And I feel badly about that." However, she is really saying "And I am not capable of feeling about that" or "And my sense of touch doesn't work about that." I assume people say "I feel badly" instead of "I feel bad" because they think it's proper grammar or makes them sound smart, but it ain't not right. (ha)

Badly is an adverb, meaning it modifies the verb, such as "I run quickly." How do you run? Quickly. So when you say "I feel badly," you are modifying the verb "feel." You are describing the manner in which you feel something, not describing your emotion. Does that make sense? You don't say "I feel angrily," right? If you say "I run badly" it means you aren't a good runner. So when you say "I feel badly," it means you aren't a good feeler.

Here's a page that gives an in-depth grammar reason for "I feel badly" being wrong
http://www.grammartips.homestead.com/badly.html

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