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June 29, 2007

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Andrew J

Oh dear! 'Least worst'. Yes, I know, it's in common usage. As a fan of A to Z – and I have 1st and 2nd editions at the moment – I hope you sort of bemoaned the lousy English that has gone into that horrible phrase (not your lousy English, but that of whoever thought that one up). I mean, if something is worst, you've already used a superlative to describe it. The same with 'least'. To say 'least worst' means, logically, that there must be a less worst and something called merely a worst; or maybe a least bad, a least worse and a least worst. I think I need a cup of tea.

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