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From which the Style Queen holds forth on matters linguistic, both spoken and written. We (the royal sort) will issue, if not decrees, at least strong opinions — usually with some explanation, justification, or rationale — relevant to all genres.

The Style Queen earned her reputation over many years of work as an editor, for her command of English grammar, syntax, and style, as well as her extensive shoe collection (which may also be featured here from time to time).


REALTOR ~ The Style Queen’s biggest pet peeve ever!

Repeat after me: REE’-UHL-TOR. Try it again. Repeat 10 times.

The word is not REAL-A-TOR.

I once met a man who told me that his son was in the reality business. It took me a really long time to figure out what he did for a living!

The field of work is not REALITY. It’s REE-AL-TEE.

Thanks for humoring Her Majesty.



It must be that, many decades ago, schoolchildren were taught to use badly wrongly. I often hear people self-correct to an incorrect version, e.g., “I feel so bad — I mean badly — for him.”

People, people! Have you, has anyone, ever said, “I feel goodly”? No, never, absolutely not. For that matter, do you ever say, “I feel sadly”? No, no, no.

You feel good or you feel bad. Why? Because in these sentences, good and bad are adjectives — not adverbs. They describe you, how you’re feeling inside.

I feel good that I won.
I feel bad that you lost.

In these sentences, feel is a linking verb. It describes a state of being. The adjective bad is also used with other linking verbs (is, am, was, were, are, and feel).

I am good.
You were bad.

Badly is an adverb. It’s used to modify action verbs.

He played the clarinet badly.
I slept badly last night.

You might feel badly if you were using the verb feel as an action verb, that is, to describe the act of touching or handling something or to feel your way. I can’t think of many contexts in which one would feel badly. Perhaps if your fingertips were numb and you weren’t able to detect textures very well, then we could say that you feel badly. But it’s unlikely that we’d phrase it that way.

You feel bad when you’re talking about an emotion.
You feel badly when you’re talking about limited physical sensation.

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