Feel good or feel well?



Everybody wants to feel well. Everybody also likes to feel good. What's the difference?

David Shaffer


Feel well, I think, is used only to refer to a good health condition. Feel good, on the other hand, can also be used in this way, but is also very commonly used to refer to a good emotional condition.

Shinichiro Ishikawa


So can we say as follows...?

(Someone sick for a long time in the hospital says to the person visiting him/her:)

I can't feel well but I feel good this morning.

Hiroshima, Japan


Both answers are correct.

Feel well and be well refer to one's health. Well in this case is an adjective. This is the only use of well as an adjective-to mean healthy, not sick.

Feel good means to feel happy.

So in Bocchi's answer above-"I can't feel well but I feel good this morning"-the sick speaker in the hospital is saying that he can't feel healthy, but he does feel happy, or in a good state of mind.

Compare feel good with feel bad (click here). Feel good means to feel happy; feel bad means to feel unhappy.

(Feel badly, as well as feel bad, meaning to feel unhappy, guilty, or uneasy, does exist, as described in Quirk et al., A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (Longman, 1985, p. 408-409). It has become acceptable, according to The American Heritage Dictionary's usage entry under bad. Still, Quirk notes that " there are prescriptive objections to the adverb form.badly with feel.")


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