BizWritingTip reader: “I would never say, ‘I feel good’ or ‘I feel bad.’ It sounds like a rapper’s song. I think we should say ‘I feel fine’ or ‘I feel well’ because, in fact, we are using an adverb to describe ‘how’ we feel.”
BizWritingTip response: This may seem like a simple question, but there are several rules that come into play here — plus an exception.
1. “I feel good” refers to your mental state. James Brown had it right in his song. “I feel well” refers to your physical well being.
I found a parking spot at the shopping mall. I feel good.
My cold is over. I feel well.
2. In other places, “good” is an adjective. “Well” is used as an adverb (a word that describes a verb).
She has a good golf swing. (“Good” is used as an adjective.)
She did not play as well as her partner. (“Well” is used as an adverb.)
I played well. (“Well” is an adverb.)
3. “Bad” is an adjective. “Badly” is the adverb.
There is a bad dent in my daughter’s car. (adjective)
He played badly. (adverb)
She was badly hurt in the accident. (adverb)
Exception to the rule: Whenever the verb in your sentence is a variation of “to feel” or “to look,” you must use the adjective “bad.”
I feel bad about the way I played.
She looked bad when she hit her golf ball through the car window.
How are you feeling today? Good, well, or bad?