Is this the ‘worse’ day of your life or the ‘worst’ day? How do you know which to use and what the difference is between these two words? They’re similar and come from the same word, family, but what do they mean? We’ll cover all of that below, plus teach you how to use both words correctly.
The short answer is:
As we just touched on briefly, the difference between the two words is that ‘worse’ describes something of low quality, and ‘worst’ describes something of the lowest quality. Meaning if something is ‘worse’ than something else, something else could be the ‘worst’ or the most horrible something could be.
If you’re looking for the most extreme version of the word, use ‘worst.’ (i.e., this is the worst trip I’ve been on – meaning nothing has been worse than this.) But if you’re comparing two things, you might say one is ‘worse’ than the other, but not necessarily the ‘worst.’ (i.e., this trip is worse than the last one, but nothing beats our trip to Vegas three years ago. That was the worst.)
Now, let’s look at the definition and meaning of both words.
The Merriam-Webster definition of the adjective form of the word is: “of more inferior quality, value, or condition,” “more unfavorable, difficult, unpleasant, or painful,” “more faulty, unsuitable, or incorrect,” “less skillful or efficient,” “bad, evil, or corrupt in a greater degree: more reprehensible,” and “being in poorer health: sicker.”
The noun form of the word can be defined as: “one that is worse.”
The adverb’s definition is: “in a worse manner: to a worse extent or degree” and “what is worse.”
You might have heard phrases containing the word ‘worse.’ Let’s take a look at a few of them.
Merriam-Webster's definition of the word is: “most corrupt, bad, evil, or ill,” “most unfavorable, difficult, unpleasant, or painful,” “most unsuitable, faulty, unattractive, or ill-conceived,” “least skillful or efficient,” and “most wanting in quality, value, or condition.”
The adverb version of the word can be defined as: “to the extreme degree of badness or inferiority” and “to the greatest or highest degree.”
The noun version is defined as: “one that is worst.”
Finally, the verb version of the word is defined as: “to get the better of: defeat.”
Some synonyms of the word include:
Now that we know the definition and the difference let’s take a look at how to use both words in a sentence. We’ll start with ‘worse.’
Now, let’s take a look at how to use ‘worst’ in a sentence correctly.
To recap, we’ve discussed that the difference between ‘worse’ and ‘worst’ is that the former is a comparative adjective that means low standard or low quality, unpleasant, or more unfavorable, and the latter is a superlative adjective that describes something of the lowest standard or lowest quality. It’s the extreme version of the word.
If you ever get stuck or need a refresher, pop on back over and browse our library of content. We have an entire library of articles dedicated to explaining confusing words and phrases. Come back whenever you need to.
Add new comment