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Is anything worse than doing your worst?

unclear worse worst

Get clear about what is worst!

With only one letter difference, today’s words are related but subtly different – and just sound wrong when used in the wrong context. Thanks to Entrapment’s comment a week or so ago, here are my definitions of worse and worst.

Note that both of these words can be used as an adverb, adjective or noun (and worst can also be a verb) so I have given all definitions.


[adjective] of a lower quality or standard The sight was terrible, and the smell worse!
[noun] more unfavourable or desirable Worse was yet to come!
[adverb] showing less skill or ability She had worse handwriting than you!

[adjective] the lowest quality or standard The hotel last night had the worst service.
[noun] the most unfavourable or desirable He was yet to face the worst.
[adverb] the most adversely or severely Marytown was the worst affected in the fires.
[verb] completely or thoroughly defeat He came out of that the worst.

The key difference to remember is that worse is poor while worst is the poorest possible. For instance, the flu is worse than a cold but pneumonia is the worst of the three.

Just to twist things a little, do you often think about the worst parts of your business, or concentrate on the best?

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