1. We only feel bad when our hands are numb.

  2. We only feel badly when our hands are numb.

Which one is correct and why?

  • Please describe it with reasons so that I may catch it easily. Jun 6, 2015 at 5:00
  • 2
    You can feel bad, as to be emotionally sad when your hands are numb --> "Oh no! My hands are numb! Whatever will I do!". Or you can feel things badly when your hands are numb --> "George, pass me the ketchup! My hands are numb and I can't feel anything! What does this feel like?"
    – 13509
    Jun 6, 2015 at 6:17

2 Answers 2


I feel happy/glad/angry/sad - Here the structure is to feel + adjective. Not the way of feeling is angry, that does not make any sense. The underlying concept is: I feel that I am happy/glad/sad. Actually "to feel happy" is nothing but a variant for "to be happy".

There are groups of verbs which are connected with adjectives, and not adverbs.

Copula verbs:

1 to be

2 to become, to get, to turn, to grow

3 to remain, to stay, to keep

4 to seem, to appear

Some verbs of perception:

to look, to smell, to taste, to sound, to feel

In all these cases the adjective is a complement to the subject. These structures don't describe the manner how the verb action is performed. There are a lot more verbs of the type vb + adj, but I don't want to write a grammar here. Actually these structures verb + adjective are variants of to be + adj.


  • Xpmai: respond to my second question. Jun 6, 2015 at 7:23
  • I'm new user, sir. I can posts, but I feel perplexity in tags searching Jun 6, 2015 at 7:34
  • 1
    Can I say, I feel badly bad or I feel bad badly?
    – Ahmad
    Jun 6, 2015 at 7:37
  • Hi teachers, Help me please. Can I say that in my above sentence the word feel is action verb so we will take an adverb here . This is badly. Correct me if I am wrong. Jun 6, 2015 at 17:53

Some adverbs and adjectives have the same form but are used differently. It is the usage that will determine whether the word is an adverb or an adjective.

                   A                                   B
       He is **much** better today.        There is **much** work to do.
       I come here **daily**.             'The Pioneer' is a **daily** newspaper.
       Don't speak so **loud**.            He spoke in a **loud** voice.'

This is exactly what I found in 'A Comprehensive Grammar for Current English' by Biswas and Myall.

The first option is correct. "Bad" may look like an adjective but it is actually used as an adverb in the sentence. You do not need to change its form (by adding "-ly") to make it look like an adverb.

Like other adverbs, "bad" qualifies the verb "feel" in this particular context.

Note that the part of speech of a particular word is dependent upon its usage in the sentence.

  • Sir, I shared a few post. Please add your fruitful comments. Thanks Jun 6, 2015 at 5:39
  • Hi! Where did you post your questions? I will be happy to help you. Jun 6, 2015 at 5:42
  • Sir on this forum. Jun 6, 2015 at 5:50
  • 1
    Could you tell me what exactly seems unreliable? Jun 6, 2015 at 6:26
  • 1
    @user124234, please post it as a new question if you want to ask more questions about English since there's a rule that disallow talking off-topic. (also ensure that the question comply with the site's rules)
    – XPMai
    Jun 6, 2015 at 7:30

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