Thursday, May 25, 2017

Grammar Grams: Worse vs. Worst

Another popular word whisker that creeps up on the lazy or uneducated is the difference between, or quite possibly how to use, the words "worse" and "worst". The most common misuse is omitting the word "worse" from one's vocabulary entirely and substituting with the other. True, this may sound very picky and unnecessary, but I am only here to guard against ignorance, so we'll start with the basics of the vernacular.

We probably don't need to waste time defining the word "worse" or "worst" other than to say one may be seen as of greater severity than the other. Truly what could be worse than worse than the worst, but for bits and giggles, let's go ahead and see what Google says:

So clearly, one is worse than the other... in terms of severity. But, then how does one use it in a sentence?

The republicans are bad, but the democrats are worse!

A common misspeak (and one I hear often) would read,

The republicans are bad, but the democrats are worst!

It is safe to say that that hard, consonant "T" is merely a word-whisker, and bad tongue-habit. I've known those that couldn't help but to pronounce their "T's" as "K's," so these things do exist. But I've also found the opposite to be true, and the usage is quite willful or untaught. Generally speaking the word "worst" is preceded by "the," even if understood. Even in the Google example we see "the industries worst affected" where "industries" is inconsequential to the sentence's formation and meaning.

In this case, my silly example of a sentence could read:

The republicans are bad, but the democrats are the worst!

Of course, I am not concerned with the accuracy of the sentence as I am with the accuracy of the usage of the word "worst." It's just something to watch for in everyday language and conversation. When it comes to grammatical errors, and errors of speech, trust me, there is much worse out there, but why not tackle the little pickles first, right?

Read on, friends...

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