Debate Dr. Phil: Sharon

One guest has a gripe with Dr. Phil's grammar.
"Grammar mistakes are my pet peeve," says Sharon, a viewer who teaches grammar and writing. "Dr. Phil, as smart and educated as you may be, you make really big grammar mistakes. It's not setting a very good example. I end up yelling at the TV during your shows!"

The one mistake that irks her the most is when Dr. Phil says that someone feels badly. "Please, please, please, stop using 'badly' with the verb 'feel,'" she urges. "You should say 'feel bad.'" Also, she wants Dr. Phil to stop saying the word "gotta." She says, "Gotta, frankly, just isn't a word," and tells him that he should no longer say, "Behaviors speak loud," because they speak "loudly."

"I can't count how many times I've yelled at the TV," she says. "Dr. Phil, even though you're a good old Texas boy, I know you can start using better grammar, please! I'll even help you learn!"

To explain why it would be incorrect to say that someone "feels badly," Sharon asks, "Would you say the flower smells sweetly? Would you say that you look sadly?" With sense verbs, she reiterates, it would be correct to say 'bad.'

Dr. Phil admits that Sharon isn't the only one to point out his

grammar mistakes. "My son Jordan gets on me all the time for 'good' and 'well.' He'll come off the field and he'll say, 'How'd I do?' and I'll say, 'You did really good!' and he'll say, 'No dad, really well.'"

Sharon continues, "We hear these phrases repeated incorrectly so often, we start to think they're correct, and the next thing you know, somebody with a Ph.D. like yourself is saying 'feel badly.'"

Sharon gives Dr. Phil a grammar book as a gift, along with an assignment. She tells him, "Here's a notebook for you to write in: 'I will not say feel badly on national TV' 50 times!"