Worse vs. Worst

Worse vs. Worst

These two words-worse and worst-are very similar and are often confused. However, they do have very distinct meanings, and these meanings are easily understood. Take a few minutes to read about their differences-really, what's the worst that could happen?

Worse can function as an adjective or adverb, and is the comparative form of "bad" or "ill." So, if two things are being compared as "bad," one of them would be worse than the other. If two people are feeling "ill," one is feeling worse that the other.

1. Today is worse than yesterday because at least the sun was shining yesterday.

2. Mr. Jones is a worse math teacher than Mrs. Smith.

3. I couldn't feel worse than I already do, so will you please accept my apology?

Worse can also function as a noun, denoting an event or situation that will be comparably "bad" to whatever has come before.

4. Worse is yet to come because on top of all of this rain, I think the temperature is going to drop below freezing tonight, and the roads will be icy.

Worst also functions as an adjective or adverb, and is the superlative form of "bad" or "ill." So, if three or more things are being compared as "bad," one of them would be the worst. If three or more people are feeling "ill," then one is feeling the worst.

1. Out of all of the pictures painted by our class, I really think mine looked the worst.

2. Mr. Krunk is the worst teacher in the school, so I am glad I don't have him for science this year!

3. Well, if breaking a window with a baseball is the worst thing you've ever done, it's not the end of the world.

Worst can also function as a noun, denoting the most negative circumstance or situation.

1. The worst is yet to come-have you ever meant my cousin Kevin?

So, as you can see, these words are easily distinguishable. Worse is the comparative form (comparing two things); worst is the superlative form (comparing three things).

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