I see "sad" and "sadness" both can follow the verb feel to express unhappiness.

For example

  • Everybody can feel sadness sometimes.
  • Everybody can feel sad sometimes.

Is there any difference between the two sentences?

  • There's no difference in meaning.
    – Mick
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 7:16
  • 1
    @Mick , there is a subtle difference. Sadness is a noun telling us what the speaker feels, and Sad is an adverb telling us how she feels. The verb is intransitive in one case, and transitive in the other. Compare Look at me and You look good. Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 7:43

1 Answer 1


Your first example is not correct. "I feel sadness" is not good English. You can say, "I am filled with sadness," or "I am overcome with sadness," but when you use a sense verb like "feel," what needs to follow is an adjective.

Similarly, we say "I feel tired," not "I feel fatigue." "I am overcome by fatigue," on the other hand, would be correct because "to overcome" is not a sense verb.

See: https://www.grammarly.com/blog/sense-verbs/

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