bad vs badly : Common Errors in English

About bad vs badly

In informal speech “bad” is sometimes used as an adverb: “the toilet was leaking pretty bad” or “my arm hurt so bad I thought it was broken.” In formal writing, “badly” is preferred in both contexts.

bad Meaning(s)

  • (n) that which is below standard or expectations as of ethics or decency
  • (a) having undesirable or negative qualities
  • (s) very intense
  • (s) feeling physical discomfort or pain (`tough' is occasionally used colloquially for `bad')
  • (s) (of foodstuffs) not in an edible or usable condition
  • (a) feeling or expressing regret or sorrow or a sense of loss over something done or undone
  • (s) not capable of being collected
  • (s) below average in quality or performance
  • (s) nonstandard
  • (s) not financially safe or secure
  • (s) physically unsound or diseased
  • (s) capable of harming
  • (s) characterized by wickedness or immorality
  • (s) reproduced fraudulently
  • (s) not working properly
  • (r) with great intensity (`bad' is a nonstandard variant for `badly')
  • (r) very much; strongly

badly Meaning(s)

  • (r) to a severe or serious degree
  • (r) (`ill' is often used as a combining form) in a poor or improper or unsatisfactory manner; not well
  • (r) evilly or wickedly
  • (r) in a disobedient or naughty way
  • (r) with great intensity (`bad' is a nonstandard variant for `badly')
  • (r) very much; strongly
  • (r) without skill or in a displeasing manner
  • (r) in a disadvantageous way; to someone's disadvantage
  • (r) unfavorably or with disapproval
  • (r) with unusual distress or resentment or regret or emotional display

bad in News

  1. 'Breaking Bad': Creator Vince Gilligan spills on the final eight episodes

    When "Breaking Bad" left off last summer, tenacious DEA agent Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) was hot on the trail ? and, er, toilet ? of meth maker Walter White (Bryan Cranston). And when the revered drama returns with the second half of season 5 (beginning Aug. 11 on AMC), what should we brace for? Among other things, maybe a bit of self-reflection from the cancer-stricken chemistry teacher who ...
    on June 13, 2013 Source: CNN

  2. 'Breaking Bad' creator on last episodes

    When "Breaking Bad" left off last summer, tenacious DEA agent Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) was hot on the trail — and, er, toilet — of meth maker Walter White (Bryan Cranston). And when the revered drama returns with the second half of season 5 (beginning Aug. 11 on AMC), what should we brace for? Among other things, maybe a bit of self-reflection from the cancer-stricken chemistry teacher who ...
    on June 13, 2013 Source: CNN

  3. Bad Axe City Council is scheduled to vote on a proposed 2013-14 budget

    BAD AXE — The Bad Axe City Council is scheduled to vote on a proposed 2013-14 budget at its meeting next week.
    on June 13, 2013 Source: Huron Daily Tribune

badly in News

  1. Sharon Wand accused of stealing from residents at rehab facility

    Badly burned mother whose children were killed in a fire set by her husband faces five criminal charges
    on June 14, 2013 Source: Wisconsin State Journal

  2. Police: Badly burned baby dies after mom uses cocoa butter on wounds

    HOUSTON – A Houston mother has been charged in connection with the death of her 11-month-old daughter. Habibo Ibrahim, 27, is charged with reckless injury to a child and injury to a child by omission. Honay Buwa was badly burned at the Fulton Street Apartments in March. Ibrahim initially told investigators that the baby knocked a pan of boiling water off the stove. When they questioned her ...
    on June 14, 2013 Source: KHOU 11 Houston

  3. Child badly injured in fall from 3rd floor window

    A four-year-old boy was badly hurt late Thursday morning when he fell from a third-story window at a home in Mableton.
    on June 13, 2013 Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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