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Worse Vs. Worst: Examples to Use Them Correctly

Sai Kardile
There are people who look intellectually fetching. But, the moment they open their mighty mouth, they reek of grammar gaffes. So, unless you are hell-bent on being violating grammar etiquette, read on for the correct usage of worse vs. worst along with examples.

Off-putting errors from outstanding celebrities!

Daniel Radcliffe on Twitter:
Hello guys, It have been an age that I didn't tweet, thanks all for your amaizing messages .DAN XX.

Mr. Potter, we reckon, 'has' could have been more befitting and it is 'amazing', btw.
Well, those of you, who despised their grammar classes and billed them as one of the worse things in life, allow us to tell you two very important things.
First, we understand how certain things in life can seem a pain in our unmentionable body part and second, how that very pain, because of your sheer disregard, can go on to become a pain in other people's unmentionable body part.
Oh and yes, if you are one of those who have ever made the exasperated proclamation about grammar classes, let us tell you that your incorrect usage of 'worse' pains us terribly, beyond comfort, and beyond reparation.
But don't worry as we have found a way to palliate our pain (we can't possibly cure it all at once, because there are too many grammar gollums to correct). So, moving on.
Just like we have degrees for felonies, we have degrees for adjectives, and mind you, both are pretty scary. But fellas, as promised, we are here to purge you of the grammar stigmata that you may have brought on yourself, albeit unwittingly. Now, concentrate.

Worse vs. Worst

The first important point to remember is that 'worse' is a comparative degree, while 'worst' is a superlative degree. We use the former to compare two things and the latter to compare more than two things. Simple. So, if you want us to feel your anguish of having to sit in the grammar class, then, dear ones, 'worst' would aptly describe it.
Let us now delve deeper and understand how these words are used correctly.
We begin by understanding the definition of 'worse' and 'worst'. The Free Dictionary defines 'worse' as something that is bad or ill in a greater or higher degree; inferior in excellence, quality, or character.
Likewise, it defines worst as something that is bad or ill in the highest, greatest, or most extreme degree. So, when someone says that your handwriting is worse than hers, it is still okay, as your handwriting is only being compared with one person.
But, if someone is to say that your handwriting is the worst they have ever seen, then it means that it is the pedestal of crabbedness; you are being compared with every possible thing that can write or even maybe a crab. We're sure you now get the drift.

How to use the word 'worse'

Here are some examples:

✦ This dress is worse than the one before. (remember: comparative has affinity toward 'than').

✦ I just abhor drinking guava milkshake but banana milkshake is even worse.

✦ There is nothing worse than going to Italy and not visiting the magnificent Sistine Chapel.
✦ Who is a worse driver, Alicia or Kate?

✦ I reckon this place is becoming worse (than it was before).

In the last example, you would argue that we aren't comparing two things with each other. But if you peruse the sentence, you'll realize that a comparison is still being made in the 'state' of the place.
✦ Caleb and Smith are bad dancers, but Caleb is worse (than Smith).
Don't remain oblivious to implied comparison. It is a crime to use comparative degree if there's no implied comparison being made. While in the sentence, there's no direct comparison between Caleb and Smith, it is, however, implied; or else it could have only been Caleb is a bad dancer in the positive form.

How to use the word 'worst'

Here are some examples:

✦ Jason is undeniably the worse singer than the other two, but Phillipe is the worst of them all.

Note the accompaniment of the word 'the'. It underscores the fact that Phillipe is the least pleasant sounding human on planet earth.
✦ That is the worst movie I have ever watched.

✦ The pairing of red wine and chocolate cake is bad, but the downright worst is burgundy and lasagna!
✦ Is this the worst possible thing it can do?

✦ Wearing stockings with peep toes is the worst faux pas of corporate fashion de rigueur.

✦ Summer is the worst season (of all).
Remember the aforementioned implied comparison. The sentence doesn't make a consummate comparison but just implies it.

The worst-case scenario

We are sure you have heard this idiom before and we are also sure that you must have at least once heard its 'worse' variant. So, which of the two is correct? Well, the heading says worst-case scenario so it has got to be the right one. Haha. Allow us to enlighten you.

Worst, being the superlative degree, compares or measures one particular thing against all things, so it is only plausible to use 'worst' rather than its comparative kin. In other words, worst-case scenario means the least desirable or most unfavorable thing that can arise in a situation.
For example,
In the worst-case scenario, we'll have to hold the project work indeterminately.