Bad vs. Badly & Good vs. Well
PAIRS: LINKING VERBS + ADJECTIVES
Linking verbs are paired with adjectives, not adverbs. You
can tell a verb is linking if the substitution of a form of be
(e.g., is, are) or seem doesn't really alter the meaning of
• The skaters look [are] wonderful [NOT: wonderfully].
• They look [are] eager [NOT: eagerly] to skate.
• The congratulatory cake tastes/smells [is] sweet/perfect/
bad/good [NOT: sweetly/perfectly/badly/well].
• They turned [are] professional [NOT: professionally].
• They feel [are] strong [NOT: strongly] today.
It (the material of their costumes) feels good/bad.
Their music sounds good/bad.
• They look [are] beautiful [NOT: beautifully].
• They look [seem] happy [NOT: happily] with their performance.
SPEAKING OF EMOTIONS/SPIRITS
• I feel bad/sad [NOT: badly/sadly] about missing their performance.
• They feel good/bad [NOT: well/badly] about their performance
SPEAKING OF HEALTH
• She feels/looks well/unwell today.
• "I don't feel well [NOT: good] today," she said.
Doctor's Note: When speaking of health, well functions as an adjective. Here are two more ways to use well as an adjective.
• He is not a well man [man = a noun].
• All is well [is = a linking verb].
PAIRS: ACTION VERBS + ADVERBS
Verbs that describe action are modified by adverbs.
• They skated wonderfully [NOT: wonderful].
• They looked eagerly [NOT: eager] into the stands.
• They looked at each other sweetly [NOT: sweet].
• They turned perfectly [NOT: perfect].
• They skated strongly [NOT: strong].
Note: To express a conviction, use the adverb:
• They feel strongly about practicing every day.
• They jumped beautifully [NOT: beautiful].
• They looked happily [NOT: happy] at their scores.
SPEAKING OF A SENSE OF TOUCH
• They feel badly [NOT: bad]. They rely on their designer to choose
the fabric for their costumes.
SPEAKING OF THE ABILITY TO DISCERN
• She looks carefully [NOT: careful] through the fabrics.
SPEAKING OF ATTRACTIVENESS
• They look good in their costumes.