I'm a certified English teacher that used to teach sophoeven more English prior to becoming a full-time mother.

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Worse or Worst? Find Out When to Use Each Word Correctly

Sometimes, English deserve to be difficult. One of the many prevalent word intake mistakes is confmaking use of "worse" with "worst." When speaking, your audience can not hear the mistake, yet in composing, you will definitely want to obtain it ideal.

"Worse" and also "worst" sound similar, yet when you understand also that "worse" is used once comparing 2 items and "worst" announces the winner in the competition of who's the the majority of bad, it becomes much simpler to usage the appropriate word.

As a certified English teacher—I taught sophomore English prior to becoming a full-time mom—I'd view this mistake all the moment. Here is just how I described it to my students in easy-to-remember terms so that they'd never before confuse the two aacquire.

Worse vs. Worst: Which Is Which?

What does worse mean?

"Worse" is a comparative word, just favor "better." It indicates that, when comparing 2 points, one is understood to be "worse" (and also not "worst") than the various other. Worse suggests of a lower quality or standard.

Margaret's food preparation is worse than Joe's.Wooden roller coasters are a lot worse than steel ones.Cheer is worse than Tide for getting stains out.Artificial sweeteners are worse for your wellness than sugar.I feel also worse this day than I did yesterday.

What does worst mean?

While "worse" compares 2 items, "worst" is a superlative. Think of "worst" choose "ideal," only in the negative. When somepoint is much more damaging than other things, it is the "worst" of them all. Worst means of the lowest high quality or standard.

Here are examples of "worst" provided correctly in a sentence:

That was the worst movie ever!I have actually the worst memory as soon as it comes to names.The hottest component of the day is the worst time to execute yard occupational in the summer months.Skunks are the worst-smelling animals.Yuck! That's the worst restaurant in town.

Neat trick: See just how in each of these examples, "worst" is preceded by "the"? So in a sentence, if you usage the article "the" simply prior to, remember that "worst" will commonly follow.


When to Use "Worse" In a Sentence

Use "worse" as soon as you're making a compariboy in between two things: "Rotten fish smells also worse than rotten eggs."

Use "worse" wherever before you would certainly use a word that ends via "er" as a comparison: "The Harry Potter movies are worse than the books."

Use "worse" through "than". Since "worse" is comparative, it is often offered through the word "than" in comparisons: "The new Teen Titans is a lot worse than the original." (You'd never say "worst than.")

Watch out for implied (unspoken) comparisons. Sometimes, the comparichild is implied, so you won't view two things being compared in the sentence: "Hamburgers and also sliders are basically the same, but I think sliders are worse ."

Use "worse" to describe somepoint that is degrading (worsening): "My headache keeps obtaining worse."

Use "worse" to define something that is degrading, even once the comparichild is implicit (unspoken): "The economy is gaining much worse ."

Taking that test was worse than gaining punched in the eye... but flunking is the worst!

When to Use "Worst" In a Sentence

Use "worst" to say that one thing is inferior to several other things: "I did eexceptionally machine at the gym, yet the squat rack was the worst."

Use "worst" after "the" to suggest which is the the majority of bad thing: "Fat-cost-free, sugar-cost-free cookies taste the worst."

Whenever you would use a word finishing in "est": "My vacation was the worst trip ever!

Test Your Understanding With a Fast Quiz

For each question, choose the finest answer. The answer key is below.

Anna and Gwen are both messy, however I think Anna is the worse.This is correct.Take the "the" out (Anna is worse) OR readjust it to "worst" (Anna is the worst).My mood is getting worse.This is correct.No: "My mood is gaining worst" is correct.Skim milk is worst than totality milk.That is correct.No: Skim milk is worse than entirety milk.My cat sheds, however it is worse in the winter months.That is correct!No: My cat sheds, but it is worst in the winter months.Worse is yet to come if it doesn't stop raining.That is correct.No: Worst is yet to come if it doesn't speak raining.Things took a turn for the worse.That is correct!No: Things took a turn for the worst.That is the worse excusage I've ever before heard.That is correct!No: That is the worst excusage I've ever before heard.

Answer Key

Take the "the" out (Anna is worse) OR change it to "worst" (Anna is the worst).This is correct.No: Skim milk is worse than whole milk.That is correct!That is correct.That is correct!No: That is the worst excusage I've ever heard.


Is it "worst for worst" or "worse for worse"?! Since it's a comparikid, you'd usage "worse."

Common Idioms That Include Worse or Worst

One of the the majority of confutilizing elements of English are the countless idioms and also colloquial phrases. Below are widespread idioms and phrases that use the words worse or worst.

"When worse pertains to worst."

This expression ssuggest implies that a bad instance (one that was ssuggest worse off than another) has actually currently become the the majority of destructive that it might possibly be (it is currently the worst). A modern take on this idiom is the expression "from poor to worse."

"Worst case."

This expression is frequently misspoken with the word "worse," yet the correct means to say it is via "worst." The intention is you are planning for the worst possible outcome. You frequently hear the phrase "worst-situation scenario" describing the most negative possible outcome that could occur in a offered situation.

"None the worse for wear."

This indicates that the challenge or additional initiative didn't leave an individual or item any type of worse off. Although a things was provided, it was not destroyed.

"Their bark is worse than their bite."

This idiom sindicate compares a person's actions (their "bark") with their intention (their bite). It implies that they might comordinary loudly, yet once it comes best down to it, the noise they make is even more painful than anything else that might occur.

"A fate worse than fatality."

This idiom compares a situation through death and also asserts that what has actually befallen is also worse than dying. Because you're comparing 2 items, you usage "worse."

"Take a turn for the worse."

This is perhaps the phrase that is most frequently misspoken. The case has actually gotten worse than it was originally, therefore, you usage "worse" and not "worst."

Bad —> Worse —> Worst!

© 2011 Wendy Leanne

What do you think? How perform you remember to use these words correctly?

David on January 24, 2019:

oops, necessary typo:

I believed the saying was "once worst pertains to worse"

To reiterate: the instance was thought to already be the worst yet then it came to be worse.

Ngram finds no outcomes for this however I believed I'd share my mistake and also reasoning.


Madan kumar, Chennai, India. on September 19, 2018:

Your explanation is great. I taken the distinction between 2. If you put some exercise on worse and worst suggests it will certainly be extremely aid to exercise..

GalaxyRat on June 11, 2017:

Worst and also worse sound and also look strange as soon as you think around it. :D

Andrea on December 22, 2015:

Googled Worse vs. Worst after I recorded the typo in a publiburned book and practically put the book down. After searching a dozen write-ups, THIS one clarified it so exceptionally well.

Antoinette Lee Toscano from Raleigh, NC on October 28, 2015:

This was so beneficial say thanks to you. I'm a new fan.

Lynn Klobuchar on March 29, 2014:

Thank you! It helps to hear someone else describe it.

norma-holt on February 16, 2014:

Great leans. I required to inspect on the distinction in between these words for somepoint I am writing and also came throughout this lens. Good work-related.

anonymous on August 26, 2013:

Thanks for answering my Worse vs. Worst questions! That dang English language gets you eincredibly now and also again!

anonymous on July 07, 2013:

Totally awesome... Thank you!

geosum on April 05, 2013:

Good one.

WordChipper on February 26, 2013:

Shoot... 2/3 guess I much better practise my english gooder before it gets worst. LOL

suepogson on February 17, 2013:

Very clear - thanks

Wedding Mom on February 07, 2013:

anonymous: No. It would certainly constantly be worded worst situation scenario, worse case scenario would certainly constantly be awkward. If you were to compare 2 scenarios it would certainly be worded "winning $100 would certainly be worse than winning $200." Or you could say scenario A is worse than scenario B. When worse is offered it need to be when comparing one thing or instance to one more.

anonymous on February 06, 2013:



anonymous on January 21, 2013:

My mom would have actually been the worse prepare if there were only 2 cooks

Digory LM on December 27, 2012:

The stress from these squid-quizzes are the worst! Not really. Nice lens.

Lisa Auch from Scotland on December 17, 2012:

cough...think I need to examine a little even more !

anonymous on December 09, 2012:

Yes that was really clear. Thanks.

anonymous on November 26, 2012:

yes. many thanks a lot!

siobhanryan on October 23, 2012:

Blessed-unique principle for a lens

anonymous on October 08, 2012:

Thank you for this article- extremely informational. Worthy to review.

See more: How To Use Zeal In A Sentence, The Best 451 Zeal Sentence Examples

Squidviews on October 06, 2012:

The worst one that I watch all the time is people mixing up then and than, can't obtain worse than that. LOL


Wendy Leanne (author) from Texas on September 07, 2012:

bskcom: Ha! That could not go over well at all, however it certain would be grammatically correct! =)

bskcom on September 05, 2012:

Ahhh...so that's just how I deserve to e-mail my wife to tell her that her chicken cassefunction was worse than her pasta--which was the worst thing I ever ate. :)

Kathryn Grace from San Francisco on September 04, 2012:

You have done an excellent job explaining the difference in between worse and also worst.