How do you feel?

It drives me crazy when I hear someone say “I feel badly.” They think they are sounding educated, just like someone who says “It was a bad day for my sister and I”. But both of them are wrong. It should be “I feel bad” and “It was a bad day for my sister and me”.

English verbs can be divided into two categories: verbs of being and verbs of doing. The first group includes words like am/is/are/was/were. They link the subject to an adjective.

I am happy.
She is hungry.
Those bananas are good.
My dog was bad.
Those plates were hot.

Most other verbs describe an action and may be accompanied by an adverb which modifies the verb and describes the quality of the action.

I danced happily.
She ate her lunch hungrily.
He told the story well.
You did your work badly.
Those people argued hotly.

So, what about the word feel? It belongs in the first category. It links a subject to an adjective.

I feel happy.
She feels hungry.
I feel good.
He felt bad.
I feel hot.

It is just plain wrong to say…

I feel happily.
She feels hungrily.
I feel goodly.
He felt badly.
I felt hotly.

What confuses people is that it sounds nice to say “I feel well” instead of “I feel good”. That’s not because well is an adverb. It’s because well can also be an adjective describing health. So it’s perfectly fine to say “I feel well” meaning the opposite of “I feel ill”. The word feel is not a verb of doing, it’s a verb of being. So, what’s the opposite of “I feel good”? It’s “I feel bad”. And if you say  “I feel badly” you are just as wrong as anyone who says “I feel happily”.

 

“It was a bad day for my sister and I” is wrong for a different reason. It’s wrong because you would never say “a bad day for I”. It should be “a bad day for me”, therefore the whole sentence goes “It was a bad day for my sister and me.”

Also, a preposition is a perfectly fine thing to end a sentence with.

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