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I feel good

Q From an anonymous writer: Can’t proper usage allow me to say, for example, ‘I feel good’, and refer to my sense of well-being (not just sense of touch), rather than say, always, ‘I feel well’ referring to my sense of well-being?

A It’s an informal usage, particularly in the US, which dates back well into the nineteenth century, but is still regarded in some quarters as being non-standard. However, it is so common that we now have the adjective “feel-good” (or “feelgood”) formed from it. There is a small distinction of sense between the two forms, in that “feeling well” always refers to health, while “feeling good” refers more generally to one’s state of mind — to be happy, in good spirits, and not depressed. Contrast “feeling bad” in the sense of being embarrassed or unhappy about some situation, which is now regarded as being standard English.

Page created 10 Oct. 1998

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Last modified: 10 October 1998.