When I was little, my mom and dad arrived home earlier than expected from a party. My mom explained to me that they left early because everyone started playing a game they didn’t like. In this game, someone was blindfolded, and the blindfolded person was to see if he or she could identify his or her spouse by touching members of the opposite sex.
My mom sounded kind of disgusted when she told me, and I remember thinking that it did sound like a super boring game. But for some reason it stuck with me, and then at some point when I was older, it hit me: those adults were dabbling in some light swinging. (And that my parents are total prudes!)
Even though I would really only want to play that game if I were partying with Jon Hamm, Clive Owen, and Johnny Depp, I always wondered if I would be able to identify my partner through touch.
I would feel badly if I wasn’t able to. What I mean by that is that I would be bad at feeling in the sense that I would not be good at perceiving or examining by touch.
I would also feel bad if I couldn’t identify my partner.
By that, I mean that my state of mind would be affected: I would feel inadequate because I hadn’t memorized every inch of his body.
Feel is an interesting verb. It swings both ways. Sometimes it’s an action verb and sometimes it’s a linking verb.
An action verb is just what it sounds like: a verb that expresses an action (e.g., jump, run, grope).
Feel can be an action:
My hand must have slipped; I meant to feel her arm.
A linking verb, on the other hand, describes a state of being. It “links” the subject to an adjective (a word that describes the subject). Some of the most famous linking verbs are is, are, were, was, and am. For example, in the following sentence, the linking verb are links the word biceps to a word that describes them:
His biceps are larger than her husband’s.
Feel can also link a subject to a description of that subject:
I feel excited when the blindfolded man touches me.
I feel bad that I feel excited when the blindfolded man touches me.
The moral of the story is that it’s correct to say “I feel bad” when describing your state of mind.
Now, who wants to play?