Home Guide English Vocabulary How to Use Bad or Badly and Good or Well

How to Use Bad or Badly and Good or Well

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Understand the difference between the two words.

  • "Good" and "bad" are adjectives. Adjectives simply describe nouns.
  • "Well" and "badly" are adverbs. Adverbs are the descriptive words that describe verbs or adjectives.

Take a look at these sentences to see the difference in action:

  • It is badluck to see a black cat. (adjective)
    • It's great that you found a good book to read. (adjective)
  • Sally is behaving badlyagain. (adverb)
    • Sally did really well in her tryouts this year.

Practice writing some sentences until you feel confident with the difference. It doesn't take long for it to make sense intuitively.


  • Nouns are the words used for people, animals, places, ideas and things.
  • There is some confusion about the use of these adjectives and adverbs when describing states of being: People wonder whether to say "I feel bad" or "I feel badly." The thing to remember here is that in describing states of being, these are predicate adjectives that modify the noun that is the subject of the sentence -- not adverbs that modify the verb. "I feel badly" makes sense only if what one wants to say is that one's tactile sense is somehow impaired. "I feel well," on the other hand, is a grammatical state-of-being utterance -- but here, well is not an adverb but an adjective that means "in good health."
  • Teachers, don't forget to look at the other wikiHows in the English grammar category for additional articles on grammar that you can easily incorporate into your teaching.