feel bad/weird/strange

komarovsky

Senior Member
Spanish - Spain
Dear members,

It is unclear to me whether these expressions can be used either if you are feeling unwell as well as if you have to confront a difficult situation. For example, could I say this?:

I have been feeling strange/bad/weird since I had breakfast this morning

I always feel strange/bad/weird when I have to undress in front of my doctor.

Oxford dictionary says" Feel strange: (of a person or part of the body) feel unwell; have unpleasant sensations:her head still felt strange" but it sounds weird to me to use it if I have stomachache or fever...

And my main question: Are the adjectives interchangeable? If not, how would you use them.

Thanks a lot!
 
  • Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    I would use "strange" and "weird" interchangeably in the first sentence, if I wanted to indicate that I wasn't certain what the problem was and couldn't clearly describe how I was feeling. I would use "feeling bad" if I were feeling ill.

    In the second sentence, "strange" and "weird" would also be interchangeable, but I would expect them to mean "uncomfortable" or "embarrassed." To say "I always feel bad when I have to undress in front of my doctor" would appear to mean that one's undressing somehow creates a problem for the doctor, and it's hard to think of a reason for that. Body odor? Ragged underwear?
     

    Elwintee

    Senior Member
    England English
    I would use "strange" and "weird" interchangeably in the first sentence, if I wanted to indicate that I wasn't certain what the problem was and couldn't clearly describe how I was feeling. I would use "feeling bad" if I were feeling ill.

    In the second sentence, "strange" and "weird" would also be interchangeable, but I would expect them to mean "uncomfortable" or "embarrassed." To say "I always feel bad when I have to undress in front of my doctor" would appear to mean that one's undressing somehow creates a problem for the doctor, and it's hard to think of a reason for that. Body odor? Ragged underwear?
    In BE 'I feel bad when...' usually means that I feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. I think it hardly ever means "I feel 'sinful' when...". So perhaps there is an AE/BE divide if, in AE, your sentence "I always feel bad when I have to undress in front of my doctor" means you feel you are creating a problem for your doctor. Or have I misunderstood you?
     

    JustKate

    Moderate Mod
    All three of those words can be used to mean "feel ill," but they can mean other things as well, so I don't think this particular meaning is clear in "I've been feeling ____ since I had breakfast" this morning." It wouldn't be clear to me, anyway, although it might be with more context, e.g., "I am starting to feel rather queasy. I've been feeling strange/weird since I had breakfast this morning." I'd probably wouldn't use bad here because it's more definite than the other two. If I feel a little ill, I might feel strange or weird, but I wouldn't use bad unless I begin to feel quite ill.

    I agree with Elwintee that bad also doesn't work with the doctor example. Strange, weird, odd, peculiar, uncomfortable - lots of words work there, but bad doesn't, at least not for me.
     

    Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    In BE 'I feel bad when...' usually means that I feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. I think it hardly ever means "I feel 'sinful' when...". So perhaps there is an AE/BE divide if, in AE, your sentence "I always feel bad when I have to undress in front of my doctor" means you feel you are creating a problem for your doctor. Or have I misunderstood you?
    There may be an AE/BE divide on this matter, but I did not mean to suggest that "I feel bad when..." suggested "I feel sinful when..."

    I suppose it would depend on context. If I had a friend who I knew had body-image issues -- due to obesity, for example -- and they said "I always feel bad when I have to undress in front of my doctor," I would understand them to mean that they were unhappy with their weight or how their body looked, and they felt the doctor would view their weight negatively. Outside of such a context, "bad" seems is too strong a word to use for the embarrassment someone might feel when undressing in front of a doctor. On the other hand, it is common in AE to say "I feel bad" about something one has done that might have offended someone else.

    I should note that I am dealing somewhat in the hypothetical, however, as in the US we do not actually disrobe in front of the physician.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Weird is stronger than strange.

    Weird would describe (i) a (usually unpleasant) feeling that the person has not suffered before nor have they heard of anyone else suffering in that manner. (ii) a feeling where they are conflicted or confused by virtue of being in a novel and/or unusual situation. The person would usually have difficulty describing the precise symptoms.
    Strange would indicate that the feeling is unusual and, usually, unpleasant but it is a feeling that the person assumes is not unknown.
    Bad can be used to express regret or remorse or a guilty conscience as well as a general illness.
     

    JustKate

    Moderate Mod
    We don't? Well, OK, probably not entirely, but we come pretty dang close to it under certain conditions.

    I can imagine someone using bad under the circumstances you describe, Florentia, but it still sounds slightly odd to me - as though the person just couldn't quite think of the right word and so used bad by default. I agree that it wouldn't mean sinful, though - it would just mean "uncomfortable" or perhaps "unhappy."
     

    Florentia52

    Modwoman in the attic
    English - United States
    (W)e come pretty dang close to it under certain conditions.

    I completely agree that we come pretty dang close to being completely naked in the presence of the physician; I only meant that the actual act of taking off one's own clothing happens in private.
     

    Mahantongo

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    In the US English I speak, to say that one feels "bad" in a situation often indicates regret or remorse, even if one is not doing anything wrong, or one's actions are necessary.

    I felt bad when I had to tell the remaining applicants that all the jobs had been filled, and we would not be hiring anyone else.

    I would thus agree with Florentia: to my ears, "I feel bad when I have to undress in front of my doctor" can certainly suggest the idea of "I regret the necessity of making my doctor endure the unpleasant sight of my undressed body." I think the most natural word to use to describe the feeling in this situation is one mentioned by JustKate; I would say
    "I feel uncomfortable when I have to undress in front of my doctor."
     

    komarovsky

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Spain
    Thank you all! It was very helpful.

    May I ask you one more related question.

    In this conversation:

    A: You look awful, what's the matter with you?
    B: I don't know. I feel strange/weird // I am feeling strange/weird.

    Which option would you use? Is it clear that I want to say I feel sick, but I could not say what it is?

    Thanks again.
     

    Elwintee

    Senior Member
    England English
    I would use either, but with typical British understatement, I would more probably say "I'm not feeling too good". If someone told me they felt strange/weird I would fear they might be about to faint, and would get them to sit down.
     

    komarovsky

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Spain
    Weird is stronger than strange.

    Weird would describe (i) a (usually unpleasant) feeling that the person has not suffered before nor have they heard of anyone else suffering in that manner. (ii) a feeling where they are conflicted or confused by virtue of being in a novel and/or unusual situation. The person would usually have difficulty describing the precise symptoms.
    Strange would indicate that the feeling is unusual and, usually, unpleasant but it is a feeling that the person assumes is not unknown.
    Bad can be used to express regret or remorse or a guilty conscience as well as a general illness.
    Dear Paul,
    Thank you for your reply.

    Could we then establish a malaise scale as follows?

    I'm feeling weird
    I'm feeling strange
    I'm feeling bad
    I'm not feeling (too) good.
    XYZ
    I'm feeling good

    What would be option XYZ. It is that one I've been trying to find. Some expression to say I do not feel well or I just started to feel unwell, but it is nothing serious.

    Furthermore, with which of the above expression will me interlocutor be alarmed?
     

    Elwintee

    Senior Member
    England English
    Dear Paul,
    Thank you for your reply.

    Could we then establish a malaise scale as follows?

    I'm feeling weird :eek:
    I'm feeling strange :eek:
    I'm feeling bad :eek:
    I'm not feeling (too) good. :confused:
    XYZ "I'm feeling a bit off-colour" :confused: :)
    I'm feeling good :thumbsup:

    What would be option XYZ. It is that one I've been trying to find. Some expression to say I do not feel well or I just started to feel unwell, but it is nothing serious.

    Furthermore, with which of the above expression will me interlocutor be alarmed?
    'I'm feeling a bit off-colour' is not alarming. I have inserted indications above as to the likely reactions of other people.
     
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