Tag Archives: verbs

Bad vs. Badly

We often hear people or read things that say “I feel badly” or sentences that are similar. Have you ever wondered when you use the word “bad” or when you use “badly”? Well, we have and we figured it was worth addressing. In this post we will discuss the difference in these words when used in a sentence.

“Bad” is a verb. “Badly” is an adverb. This makes all the difference in their meaning and their place in sentence structure.
If I say that “I feel badly”, it is not a very accurate statement. The verb “feel” means to touch or to “have a sensation of (something), other than by sight, hearing, smell or taste. An example of this is “feel a stabbing pain”. So basically, if I say that I “feel badly”, I am saying that I “touch badly”.
A person pointed out at one time that most people don’t say that they”feel badly” or “feel sadly”, so why would anyone “feel badly”? This makes perfect sense. “Feel” is a verb and “badly is an adverb. Adverbs modify verbs so it just doesn’t make sense to use it in this manner.
Here are a few sentences to show examples of correct and incorrect usage:
Incorrect: I feel badly.
Correct: I feel bad.
Incorrect: I smell badly.
Correct: I smell bad.
Times when the use of “badly” does not follow the rules above are:
“You behaved badly in the movie theatre.”
“The move went badly.”
The misconception with “bad” vs. “badly” is that in most cases you are just fine using an adverb after a verb but with this particular verb and adverb you need to watch it. We must point out that different people have different views on English grammar and usage rules.


In this post we will talk about the basic types of verbs. The English language has three basic types of verbs: action verbs, linking verbs and auxiliary verbs or helping verbs.

Action verbs:
An action verb is an action that can be done by a person, place or thing. This can be physical or mental actions.
Alan says he is going to New York.
The dog barks when vehicles drive by.
To be sure if a word is an action very ask yourself if it is something you could do? For example: Todd jogs every weekday. Ask yourself if you can do each word. Can you Todd? No. Can you jog? Yes.
Linking verbs:
Linking verbs tie the subject to the rest of the sentence. These are often different forms of “to be”.
Kathy is a sweet lady.
The new car could be a Dodge.
More often than not a linking verb describes the subject of the sentence. In our two examples the linking verb connects the subject to the definition of the subject. For example the first sentence defines Kathy as a “sweet lady”.
Here are a few of the various forms of “to be” that can work as linking verbs. Am, are, be, is, can be, were, shall be, has been, have been, would be, being, was, could be, has been, should be, would have been, should have been, could have been, will have been, shall have been, have been and will be.
Auxiliary verbs:
Auxiliary verbs are often referred to as “helping verbs”. These words appear in front of action or linking verbs.
The shy girls are sitting at the table together.
You could have been working tonight.
There are many types of auxiliary verbs in our language. Here are just a few of the words that often act as helping verbs. They can also act as action or linking verbs in different sentence structures. Can, could, may, might, must, would, shall, should, will, had, has, and have.

If you want to be sure if a word is a auxiliary very or a linking verb you would just look to see if the action verb immediately follows the “to be” verb. If it does then it is an auxiliary verb, if not it is a linking verb.
Students learn about verbs early on in their school curriculum. However, in the early elementary school grades verbs are simply introduced as “action” words. For more educational tools on verbs you can visit the following: