Worse or Worst – Which is Accurate?

If you’re wondering which is accurate between worse or worst, you’re not alone.

Worse or Worst — What’s The Difference?

grayscale photo of two Volkswagen cars parked on sidewalk
Photo by Nikola Johnny Mirkovic on Unsplash

Worse is a comparative adjective or adverb that describes something that is more unpleasant. Comparative adjectives are used to determine the relationship between two objects.

Worst, on the other hand, is a superlative. That means something is as bad as it can get: it is impossible for anything to be worse. The superlative adjective is used to compare at least three things to one another.

The reason for the confusion stems from the fact that worse and worst are irregular adjectives. Unlike regular adjectives, they don’t follow a standard set of rules.

Comparatives/superlatives most often look like these: Large > Larger > Largest. Adding an “er” makes the comparison, and adding an “est” makes it superlative.

In the case of bad, however, it does not work like that. You can’t say Bad > Badder > Baddest, unfortunately!

This irregularity also applies to good as well. The comparative adjective for good is “better,” and the superlative adjective is “the best.”

Example Sentences Using Worse

  • Every day is worse than the last!
  • I have been worse, don’t worry about me.
  • Which one do you want to hear first — bad news or worse news?
  • This car is worse than my first one!

Example Sentences Using Worst

  • Today was the worst day of my entire life!
  • The third movie was the worst of the trilogy.
  • She is the worst person I know. I haven’t met a worse one yet!

How Can I Remember Which One is Which?

Although worse and worst are irregular comparative and superlative adjectives, and you can still see the pattern. 

Let’s look at a regular word, such as fast. Its superlative adjective is fastest, which also ends with -st. So if it ends with -st, you can say that adjective is the superlative one. 

To Wrap Up

Worse refers to something of a lower quality than another thing. Two things are compared using this word.

Worst describes something that is the lowest quality among three things.

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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