Garner’s Usage Tip of the Day: worse; worst; *worser.

worse; worst; *worser. Writers seldom have trouble with the adjectives “bad/worse/worst.” But sometimes they yield to temptation with a little harmless wordplay — e.g.: o “He beat his supposed betters, and worsers, clearly if not handily, taking the lead at the top of the homestretch and holding off by a length a rush by the 14-to-1 shot Victory Gallop at the end.” Frederick C. Klein, “Long Course Favors Long Shot,” Wall Street J., 4 May 1998, at A20. o “The Giants got a little worse. The Dodgers got worse than that. The Rockies got even worser.” Ray Ratto, “Don’t Expect a Comeback, Not Even, ‘Oh Yeah?'” S.F. Examiner, 16 Sept. 1998, at D1. o “I was so terrified at this prospect that I went straight home, washed down the better (or worser) part of a quart of gin, and cried myself to sleep.” Jonathan Yardley, “High Anxiety in the Space Age,” Wash. Post, 2 Nov. 1998, at E2. *Invariably inferior form. For information about the Language-Change Index click here. Quotation of the Day: “When the mind hesitates, grows cold, begins to labor, loses zest, you should suspect instantly a loss of direction. The climax at which you aimed, the proof that was preparing, the point of it all, is no longer so clear as it seemed at first. Go back. Wait until the mind warms again to the idea. Save time by waiting.” Henry Seidel Canby, Better Writing 83 (1926).
Scroll to Top