Worse vs. worst. Repeat that three times, and you will see how both words can be a tongue-twister, especially in verbal conversation.
The words may sound and look alike. However, they carry a different meaning and are used in different contexts. Read to the end of this article to find out the details.
Worse and Worst, What’s The Meaning of Both?
How do you use the word worst, and how about worse?
The key to using them correctly is to remember the intensity of the words instead of their literal meaning. It is because both of them have the same meaning, which is ‘bad.’
But how bad?
To simplify it, you can remember worse as ‘more bad than’, and worst as ‘the most bad’. Therefore, the level of intensity goes like this;
Less Intense Bad → Worse → Worst More Intense
Take a look at these examples for a clearer depiction:
- The condition of the house looks bad. It needs renovation.
That sentence indicates that the house’s condition is bad. There is no comparison.
- This house’s condition is worse than mine, even though they were built in the same year.
Meanwhile, this one example shows that there are other buildings that look bad, but it might not be the only one.
- This house’s condition is the worst of all the buildings in the neighborhood.
Lastly, this sentence shows that the house is the most damaged out of all the other houses. The damage is so severe there is no comparison.
So, How Do the Words Worse and Worst Differ?
You use ‘worse’ to describe something with a lower quality compared to the others. Moreover, it also indicates something that undergoes deterioration, decline, or something that is ‘less than before.’
- My father’s condition has gotten worse now compared to last summer.
Due to the nature of the word, English categorized ‘worse’ as a comparative adjective.
Intermezzo: What Is a Comparative Adjective?
Like its name, a comparative adjective is the word you use to compare two or more things. It indicates the condition of the things but doesn’t show whether it has the highest or lowest quality. It usually ends with ‘-er than’.
Meanwhile, ‘worst’ is used to signify something so bad that it has no contender. It has the lowest quality, and nothing can even compare to that situation.
- My father’s condition has gotten to its worst state. The doctors told us to prepare our hearts.
Usually, ‘worst’ is used when you compare two or more things. In English, it is called a superlative adjective.
Intermezzo: What Is Superlative Adjective?
A superlative adjective is an adjective you use to compare multiple things while also showing which has the highest or lowest quality. Typically, superlative adjectives are marked with the use of ‘most’ or ‘least’ and end with ‘-est’.
Worse vs. Worst Examples in Daily Conversation
How do you use worse and worst in everyday conversation? Here are some common examples:
“It Got Worse” or “It Got Worst”?
Even though the sentence does not indicate what ‘it’ is, the word ‘got’ shows a process of declining condition. Therefore, the correct one is “It got worse”.
“Worse than” or “Worst than”?
The word ‘than’ shows the use of comparative adjectives. Therefore, the correct one is ‘worse than,’ not ‘worst than.’
“Worse Day” or “Worst Day”?
“Worst day” is correct if you treat it as an object.
- Today is the worst day ever.
However, if you intend to compare it with another day, “worse day” is right.
- Today is worse than yesterday
Does this article satisfy your hunger for knowledge, especially about comparative and superlative adjectives? If not, maybe it is time to get a hands-on tutor. And for that, you can rely on us in the Fun English Course.
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