Badly Vs Bad: An Interesting Guide

You might be writing an essay and want to recall…

You might be writing an essay and want to recall when to use badly vs bad in your arguments. Don’t worry, it’s essential when writing to determine when to use certain terms to produce a high quality output.

Badly Vs Bad: Everything You Need to Know

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Photo by Emmanuel Ikwuegbu on Unsplash

It’s a Common Mistake

Grammatical errors tend to misuse bad and badly. Bad is an adjective that can be used to modify nouns and pronouns.

Badly, like most words ending in “-ly”, is an adverb and is used to modify verbs. People find it confusing to use these words and distinguish them.

In casual talk, we hear bad and badly used incorrectly so often. Good news is, you can easily identify which word to use in your writing based on the function the word bad/badly refers to.

If, for instance, your friend Amanda just took a test, you find out that she has not done well. You say that “She has done the test badly”.

Sometimes such an expression occurs in casual speech, but it has to be carefully used in good writing.

“She did bad with the test”.

Bad is used in this sentence as it alters the noun “test”. If a noun depicts as “not good”, we use the word bad.

We would use badly if we rewrote these sentences so that verbs become modified.

It Has Something to Do with Linking Verbs

Verbs such as “to be” and “to feel” can link to adjectives because they describe a state rather than an action.

Generally speaking, what you want to describe is your negative mood or emotional state (I am feeling bad).

Such as, “I feel awful if you describe that you aren’t very successful at reaching out and feeling the things around you”.

It Has Something to Do with Adjective and Adverb Forms

Particular English adjectives and adverb forms of a word may not be used correctly because they mistakenly depict what they describe. The best example is the pair of words “bad” and “badly”.

Nouns and pronouns are modified by the word bad. Such as, she had a bad accident.

The word badly is an adverb which conveys the manner or extent of a verb’s action. Such as, she was badly injured in the accident.

Two words are commonly confused when they accompany sensory linking verbs taste, look, smell, and feel.

Adverbs are important when we use these verbs. We use sound frequently.

Whenever we use these verbs descriptively, they should be followed by adjectives.

According to the American Heritage Dictionary, the use of badly with want and need was once considered incorrect. In this case it meant “very much” rather than “immorally.” However, this usage is still prevalent in formal contexts and is therefore considered standard.

We recognize, therefore, that bad and badly can both be used as adverbs with verbs of strong emotion (e.g. want, need). However, we prefer distinguishing them for greater precision.

To Wrap Up

Now, let’s look back on how the word bad and badly is used and how it changes throughout the sentence and story. It’s always a sign that something has gone wrong.

Using badly and bad depends on the other elements of the sentence you wish to add them. Which is why it’s essential to keenly look at the sentence and the linking verbs present before adding bad or badly.

Frequently asked questions

How badly do you want it meaning?

You want something badly, and you want it very, very much.

How do you use bad and badly in a sentence?

A bad adjective modifies nouns and pronouns. The word badly is an adverb that conveys the way or degree of a verb’s action. She was badly hurt in the accident.

What type of adverb is badly?

accuratelybeautifullyexpertly
anxiouslycarefullygreedily
badlycautiouslyloudly

What is the comparative and superlative form of badly?

AdjectiveComparativeSuperlative
badworseworst
littlelessleast
muchmoremost
farfurther / fartherfurthest / farthest

Which is correct bad or badly?

Bad is an adjective that can be used to modify nouns and pronouns. Badly, like most words ending in -ly, is an adverb that can be used to modify verbs. People seem to forget that verbs like to be and to feel are adjectives and not adverbs.

Do it badly meaning?

Ignoring something or something it does badly will not be of much consequence.

What is another word for wanting something badly?

Wish, desire, desire and desire are common synonyms of desire. All these words mean “to have a longing for something,” and want specifically implies a feeling of need to or lack of something.

How do you use so badly?

You must substitute an adverb (“badly”) to modify the verb, want. You hear “I want it so bad” because many people often use adjectives instead of adverbs.

Is badly an adverb or adjective?

The adjective Bad or Badly Bad is used alongside verbs like feel, seem, be, look, etc. Unfortunately, he does not play in this game. That’s right: I feel bad that he is not participating in the game. Badly is an adverb that allows you to modify action verbs.

How bad do you want it or how badly?

According to at least one guide, “want bad” is standard English. Make the most of your ability to use “want badly” in formal written English, specially if you are graded on grammar. “Need bad” can also be used in other situations.

Is it real bad or really bad?

Senior Member. Despite the fact that Merriam cites it as informal, I was taught that “real” is wrong as an adverb. To me, “really” as an adverb (meaning “very,” rather than “in truth”) is itself somewhat informal. An adjective “bad” cannot be modified to make the word “disaster” complete.

What does so badly mean?

I like this usage, which means very well. If you say you want something, this implies you want it very much, so your cited version is just an even more explicit way to emphasize how much you want. Also, you will notice even more emphatic forms such as the way I want it.

What is another word for so bad?

extremely badso atrocious
so awfulso disgraceful
so dreadfulso hopeless
so laughableso lousy
so patheticso poor

How do you use badly in a sentence?

My performance was even worse than he had played. It affects the administration badly by delaying its implementation. Her job was badly wanted. The need for a vacation is very important to me.

Is more bad grammatically correct?

Comparative and superlative forms of the adjective bad, not the adjective badly, are the worst. You should use worse, but now you are using poorly. Also, you would need to use worse. The word isn’t even close.

Badly Vs Bad: An Interesting Guide

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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