Feel Strong or Feel Strongly?
Phil Dragonetti asks about the idiom “to feel strongly about something.”
. . . when people say “Oh–I feel badly about that”. . . we know that what they mean is “I feel bad about that.” But what about “I feel strongly about capital punishment.”? That almost sounds right..no? And “I feel bad about capital punishment”does not really get the idea across.
What I would write is: “I have strong feelings about capital
punishment.”—but doing so just allows me to avoid the problem.
My feeling is that it is grammatically incorrect to say
“I feel strongly about capital punishment.” Can you give me a perspective on this???
Most of us probably remember the English lesson about how to tell a being verb from an action verb: if you can substitute a form of be for the verb and the sentence still makes sense, it’s a being verb.
I feel the wall. I am the wall. Nope, makes no sense; feel is a transitive action verb here. It means “to employ the sense of touch.”
I feel faint. I am faint. Bingo, feel is a being verb because here it denotes a state of being.
That’s helpful as far as it goes, but those are not the only two uses of feel as a verb. The OED gives 16 definitions. Here is number 14:
intr. To have the sensibilities excited; esp. to have sympathy with, compassion for (a person, his sufferings, etc.).
It is in this sense that feel is used in the idiom “to feel strongly about.” It’s not a being verb in this expression, so there’s nothing wrong with using the adverb strongly with it.
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