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DeadlyAccurate
02-03-2007, 12:56 AM
Anyone know which is correct?

If worse came to worst?
If worst came to worst?
If worse came to worse?

("Worst" starts to look funny after you type it a few times.)

maestrowork
02-03-2007, 01:04 AM
If worse comes to worst...

Sage
02-03-2007, 01:31 AM
If worse comes to worst...
Makes sense, though I think I say it wrong verbally (worst/worst)

Jamesaritchie
02-03-2007, 01:38 AM
Anyone know which is correct?

If worse came to worst?
If worst came to worst?
If worse came to worse?

("Worst" starts to look funny after you type it a few times.)

None of the above. I know people use this expression, but it makes no sense at all. It's like saying if red comes to red, or if gangrene comes to gangrene.

One side is the same as the other. There is no change.

The only way it makes sense is if you write "If bad comes to worse/worst."

DeadlyAccurate
02-03-2007, 01:41 AM
<lightbulb>

Thanks, JAR. That makes sense.

Sage
02-03-2007, 01:43 AM
How does "if worse comes to worst" makes less sense than "if bad comes to worse/worst"? Both are going from something that is not as bad to something that is... well, worse.

absitinvidia
02-03-2007, 03:17 AM
"if worst comes to worst."

At least, that's what my dictionary says.

Thump
02-03-2007, 03:44 AM
I think it's "worse come to worst". There is a sort of suite in there IMO. Worst is erm... worse than worse... therefore you're just going up the scale of badness (yeah, I know, not a word.

It's like saying "if red comes to redder" which, while not being an expression per se, I think works because there is a progression for the worse.

Get me? :D

arrowqueen
02-03-2007, 03:51 AM
I'm with absitinvidia.

I've always known it as: 'If worst comes to worst.' and assumed it meant 'If the worst (possibility) comes true and turns into the worst (reality.)'

Sage
02-03-2007, 03:53 AM
It's like saying "if red comes to redder" which, while not being an expression per se, I think works because there is a progression for the worse. "If pink comes to red"? ;)

Sandi LeFaucheur
02-03-2007, 03:58 AM
Here you go: http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?date=19980713

It's "if worst comes to worst".

Silver King
02-03-2007, 05:33 AM
You should just say, "If worst comes to worst, then that is the worstest state you can ever worstly assume."

Judg
02-03-2007, 05:54 AM
How about "as best as you can". I see/hear it all the time and it drives me nuts. Best is a superlative, not a comparative, so I'm assuming the expression is incorrect. Or is it one of those sayings that has become consecrated through usage, although technically not correct? Personally, I stick to "the best I can".

Yup, anal.

Silver King
02-03-2007, 06:07 AM
How about "as best as you can".

Personally, I stick to "the best I can"
The first is written in second person and the next, first person? :D

Cat Scratch
02-03-2007, 11:30 AM
I've always known it as "if worse comes to worst." And it isn't redunant, because it's saying "if an already worse situation reaches the absolute worst point it could reach." Makes sense to me.

Mud Dauber
02-03-2007, 05:30 PM
Here you go: http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?date=19980713

It's "if worst comes to worst".

Ack! It's one of those sayings that, like the OP said, the more your stare at the words the more they start to look funny and no matter which way you write it, it looks wrong. Thanks for the "proof", Sandi.

Gotta love the English language.

Jamesaritchie
02-03-2007, 06:16 PM
How does "if worse comes to worst" makes less sense than "if bad comes to worse/worst"? Both are going from something that is not as bad to something that is... well, worse.

Because worse and worst are very nearly the same thing. Bad and worst are not the same thing.

Besides, it sounds really horrible. It's just not good writing.

In college, we were taught the original saying is actually, "That is bad, this is worse."

From bad to worse makes sense. From worse to worst doesn't make sense, and sounds silly, to boot.

Sandi LeFaucheur
02-03-2007, 09:57 PM
Because worse and worst are very nearly the same thing. Bad and worst are not the same thing.

Besides, it sounds really horrible. It's just not good writing.

In college, we were taught the original saying is actually, "That is bad, this is worse."

From bad to worse makes sense. From worse to worst doesn't make sense, and sounds silly, to boot.

You're going to argue with Fielding and Dickens? Don't know if I'd care to tell either gent they couldn't write.

Judg
02-03-2007, 11:41 PM
The first is written in second person and the next, first person? :D
LOL! OK, I plead bad proof-reading.

FloVoyager
02-04-2007, 03:29 AM
The way I heard it is: Bad came to worse, and then worse came to worst.

It's a figure of speech. It may not be "correct," but we know what it means.

How are you using it? Maybe putting it in context would help.

DeadlyAccurate
02-04-2007, 08:59 AM
Maybe I'll just change the whole sentence to, "If things get really ****** up..."

MajorDrums
02-04-2007, 04:56 PM
LOL!

pdr
02-05-2007, 05:28 AM
but it may be an American v. Standard English thing.

'If the worst comes to the worst...' is what I've always known and read.

Meaning, as Arrowqueen said, 'if the worst possibility eventuates then...'

ErylRavenwell
02-05-2007, 05:59 AM
Maybe I'll just change the whole sentence to, "If things get really ****** up..."


"From bad to worse", perhaps.

Judg
02-05-2007, 06:21 AM
I love this forum. I am being out-analed. :D And how's that for a neologism?

Idiomatic expressions don't have to be logical. And if it really bothers you, just rewrite the sentence.

arrowqueen
02-06-2007, 02:02 AM
'Idiomatic expressions don't have to be logical.'

True. One of my favourites is: 'She's no better than she should be.' Try and analyse that and you're left going 'Eh? What?'

But said Darkly and With Implications and we all know she's a Loose-Knickered Trollop!

Sandi LeFaucheur
02-06-2007, 02:18 AM
'Idiomatic expressions don't have to be logical.'

True. One of my favourites is: 'She's no better than she should be.' Try and analyse that and you're left going 'Eh? What?'

But said Darkly and With Implications and we all know she's a Loose-Knickered Trollop!

Or, "she's all mouth and trousers." The first time I heard that, I just nodded in what I hoped was a knowledgeable fashion. I'm still trying to figure it out.

arrowqueen
02-06-2007, 03:05 AM
Ah, that's because it usually refers to a gentleman and means that he's all brag and bluster, but pretty useless when it comes down to the real thing. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge. (See 'Implications' above.)

scarletpeaches
02-06-2007, 03:08 AM
There's a marvellous Scottish saying - "She's all fur coat and no knickers!"

ElouiseBates
05-07-2012, 06:16 PM
And this is why I love this forum - five years after the original question posted, and I'm able to come here to check whether I should be writing "worse came to worst" or "worst came to worst."

And yeah, you write "worst" too much and it completely ceases to look like a real word at all.

lorna_w
05-07-2012, 06:36 PM
Or "have your cake and eat it too." C'mon, how many people just own a cake? If you have the damned thing, surely you're going to eat it.

On OP, there's this: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/06/magazine/06FOB-onlanguage-t.html

Sarah Madara
05-07-2012, 06:41 PM
There's a marvellous Scottish saying - "She's all fur coat and no knickers!"

Just shared that with my husband. He said, "Isn't that, like, the ideal woman?"

Shadow_Ferret
05-07-2012, 07:05 PM
I've heard people SAY something like "from worse to worse/worst" but Ive never read it. To my ears "bad to worse" sounds better and eliminates the ambiguity.
Or "have your cake and eat it too." C'mon, how many people just own a cake? If you have the damned thing, surely you're going to eat it.

On OP, there's this: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/06/magazine/06FOB-onlanguage-t.html

That expression is " you CAN'T have your cake and eat it too" meaning if you eat the cake you no longer have it.

Bufty
05-07-2012, 08:06 PM
Not really.

I believe it relates to ladies from Edinburgh where they're so posh and the accent is such that they think 'sex' is what coal is delivered in.:snoopy:


Just shared that with my husband. He said, "Isn't that, like, the ideal woman?"

Once!
05-07-2012, 09:26 PM
The phrase that sticks in my head is "if the worst came to the worst". It may not be grammtically correct, but it's how I remember it being said.

IceCreamEmpress
05-07-2012, 10:08 PM
There's another thread on this idiom. People say (and write) both "if worse comes to worst" and "if worst comes to worst." This article (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/06/magazine/06FOB-onlanguage-t.html) is a pretty good overview.

Searching Google books gives about a million results for each common variation of the phrase ("if worse comes to worst," "if worst comes to worst," "if the worst comes to the worst"), so people definitely use it in writing. Dean Koontz, Thackeray, H. G. Wells--folks from every age and every genre.

ArchaWriter
05-08-2012, 04:36 AM
Where I'm from, I have always heard 'if worse comes to worst'.
Maybe it's a regional thing.

StephanieFox
05-08-2012, 05:05 AM
Expressions don't have to make literal sense. I've already heard it as 'If worse comes to worse.' I think this is a good expression. The 'went from bad to worse,' is another expression.

I

Xelebes
05-08-2012, 05:40 AM
That expression is " you CAN'T have your cake and eat it too" meaning if you eat the cake you no longer have it.

That is the basis of the idiom, but it can be altered to fit. i.e. "He wants his cake and eat it too."