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So, since there's a military coup going on in Turkey right now, a few of my friends have taken to Facebook to share how they feel about the whole thing. And, one of them put up a status that reads:

There's a military coup right NOW at Turkey. 80 more people were killed in France.

I don't even know how to feel about this anymore.

And I was wondering, should it not be "I don't even know what to feel about this anymore'?

Because, usually I hear people say "I don't know what to feel".. So, am I right? Or is How always okay in similar contexts?

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  • Really? I think I usually hear how.
    – user230
    Jan 12 '17 at 17:27
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If you ask someone "how to feel", you are asking what should you do to be able to feel.

If you ask someone "what to feel", you are asking what should you feel on that situation.

If you are trying to express that you are shocked about something, you can use either "how" or "what", but to use "how" you would need to change the phrase slightly:

"I don't even know how I feel about this anymore." - You are so shocked that you can't define what sentiment you are feeling.

or

"I don't even know what to feel about this anymore." - You don't know what you should feel about the situation.

Both can be used to express that you are very shocked in front of a situation.

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I don't even know how to feel about this anymore

This statement is essentially saying that something is beyond feeling anymore and is not incorrect grammatically.

I don't know what to feel about this anymore

This statement seems to me to say that the person is unsure what to feel. Again, this is not incorrect in that context.

However, if both statements are referring to the same sense of incredibility then the first usage is possibly the more correct.

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In this context:

  1. I don't even know how to feel about this anymore.
  2. I don't even know what to feel about this anymore.

These statements are usually equivalent.

They say "I don't know what way to feel." (the answer is an adjective) and "I don't know what to feel." (the answer is a noun.)

Think about them like this:

The question "How do you feel?" is correctly answered "I feel happy," or "I feel excited," or "I feel sad." "How to feel" asks about the manner in which the person is feeling.

The question "What do you feel?" is correctly answered "[I feel] excitement," or "[I feel] sadness," or "[I feel] happiness." It is asking what (emotion) a person is feeling.

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