Better vs. Best – Difference & Usage Explained (Helpful Examples)

We have to understand the comparative and superlative forms of words to be at our best when learning English. Usually, they follow simple rules of adding “-er” or “-est” to the end of a word, but this article will look at using “better” and “best” as irregular forms.

When Should I Use Better Vs. Best?

You should use “better” when you want to compare two things and say that one thing is “more good” than the other thing. You should use “best” when you want to compare multiple things with each other and say that one is the “most good.”

When Should I Use Better Vs. Best?

Usually, with comparative forms, we’d add “-er” to the end of a one-syllable word or write “more” before a longer word to indicate something is better compared to something else.

However, the root word for “better” is good, meaning we ignore the usual rule (which would be “gooder” if we followed it). Instead, we use “better” to mean “more good.”

The same happens with the superlative form. English rules say we add “-est” to the end of a one-syllable word or write “most” before a longer one. However, that doesn’t work when the root word is “good.”

The superlative of “good” should be “goodest” if we follow the rules. This is not the case, which is why we use “best” as the only superlative form to describe something that is the “most good.”

What Is The Definition Of Good/Better/Best?

Let’s explore the meanings of each form of “good.” We’ll start with the root form and work our way up to the superlative form, increasing the value of “goodness” as we go.

The definition of “good,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “very satisfactory, enjoyable, pleasant, or interesting.”

The definition of “better,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “comparative of good: of a higher standard, or more suitable, pleasing, or effective than other things or people.”

The definition of “best,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “of the highest quality, or being the most suitable, pleasing, or effective type of thing or person.”

Each word is closely related and talks about the level of satisfaction or suitability of a thing or person.

“Good” is the base form of the word. “Better” is one step up and talks about something of a higher standard than something else (comparative form). “Best” is the highest possible standard available (superlative form).

Is It Better To Be Better Or The Best?

Generally, “better” and “best” mean similar things in certain contexts. You’ll be happy to know that if you’re ever called either of them, it’s meant as a compliment above all else.

Being called “the best” is better than being called “better” than someone else. “The best” compares you to every possible person (i.e., “the best in your class”), while “better” only compares you to a few other people (i.e., “you are better than him.”)

Either way, it’s meant nicely and is supposed to show you that you’re of a higher standard than someone else. Generally speaking, though, we would want to hear the superlative form to show we’re the highest possible standard rather than the comparative form.

Examples Of How To Use “Better” In A Sentence

Let’s try out some examples to see how “better” is used. This will help you understand what we mean when we’re talking about comparing one thing or person to a larger group of things.

“Better” is the comparative form. It means that someone or something is at a higher standard than a few other things, though it’s not saying you’re the “best.”

  1. You’re so much better than I am at just about everything academic.
  2. These chairs are better than the ones we have at home.
  3. They’re better than the majority of people in this class.
  4. I’m better than you are at math, and there’s no denying that.
  5. Do you actually think you’re better than me at sports?
  6. He’s better than I am, but I still try hard to beat him.
  7. These sandwiches are better than the ones you made yesterday.
  8. This food is much better than anything I’ve tried in a restaurant!
  9. The government provides us with better housing than previously.
  10. You’re not better than me, and I can prove it!

Generally, we compare one person or thing to a slightly larger group of other people and things. That’s when it makes the most sense to use “better” in a sentence.

Sometimes, “better” and “best” are synonymous. For example:

  • Of the two, he is better than her.
  • Of the two, he is the best.

When we compare two people, saying that one is better means that there is nobody else to compare them to. Therefore, it’s possible to also say they’re “the best,” which is the only time both words are synonymous.

Examples Of How To Use “Best” In A Sentence

Now is the time to see how to use “best” in a sentence.

“Best” is the superlative form. That means that no one or nothing else can be “better” than the thing we’re talking about. It’s of the highest possible quality available compared with the group we’re talking about.

  1. You’re the best of us, and you’ll do us all proud.
  2. He’s by far the best student in the class.
  3. This is the best food I’ve ever tried!
  4. You run the best gym in the area, and we have a sponsorship offer for you.
  5. This is the best political campaign I’ve seen in a long time.
  6. They’re the best people, and they’re always so kind to their guests.
  7. You’re not the best, even if you think you are!
  8. I’m the best at what I do, which is why I get paid so much for it!
  9. She’s the best girlfriend a man could ask for.
  10. It’s the best time to go out and buy Christmas presents!

“Best” works well when we’re talking about something that is the most important or most satisfactory thing of a larger group. Sometimes, the group only needs to refer to two things, but it’s usually reserved for a larger group.

Also, it’s important to note that the group never needs to be specified. Instead, you can say:

  • You’re the best!

We’re not directly comparing “you” with a group, but the implication is that there is no one better out in the world than “you.”

Which Is Correct: Best Of Two Or Better Of Two?

“Best of two” and “better of two” are both correct. As we’ve mentioned, “best” and “better” are synonymous when you’re only talking about two things or people.

If one thing is better than another thing, and they are the only two things present, it’s safe to assume that it is also the “best” thing in the current group.

  • This one is the best of the two.
  • This one is the better of the two.

As you can see, both forms are correct.

Is It “One Of The Better” Or “One Of The Best”?

“One of the better” means something is of a higher standard than a lot of the other choices on the list, while “one of the best” means something is almost at the highest possible standard, though other things might equal it.

Both phrases are correct and can be used as follows:

  • This is one of the better bands I’ve listened to.

Here, we’re not saying they’re our favorite band, but we’re saying that we enjoy their music compared to others.

  • This is one of the best bands I’ve listened to.

This time, we’re saying that we’re very fond of the band, though we might have a few other favorites alongside them.

Is It “Better Not” Or “Best Not”?

“Better not” means that it would be better if we didn’t do something, though it’s not outright denying you the chance to do it. “Best not” means the same thing but is generally more powerful to try and get you to stop.

  • You better not annoy him if you can avoid it.
  • You best not do anything stupid.

“Better not” implies that we shouldn’t do something, but the speaker isn’t going to stop us. “Best not” implies that we definitely shouldn’t do something or we’ll regret the consequences.

What Word Is Better Than Best?

“Best” is already one of the most complimentary and high-praise words you can find in English. However, there is a chance you might hear one word that is slightly better than even “Best.”

“Perfect” is better to say than “best.” “Perfect” means someone or something is of the highest standard and never does anything wrong.

  • He’s perfect at this job.
  • He’s the best at this job.

“Perfect” in the above example means that “he” makes no errors and does the job exactly as expected of him.

However, while “best” is saying he’s better than everybody else, it still doesn’t mean he’s “perfect.” “Best” is a relative term, so if everyone else is really bad, then to be the “best,” you only have to be “okay” at something.

What Is A Fancy Word For Better?

We can also go slightly further with “better” and develop a fancier word to use in its place.

“Superior” is a fancy word for “better.”

To call someone or something “superior” means that they’re a cut above the rest of the crowd. We can talk about them being of a higher value than other people, which is similar to what “better” means but is a fancier word.

Is It Ever Correct To Use “More Better”?

“Better” already means “more good” and is a comparative adjective. “More better” would mean “more more good,” which is grammatically incorrect. You should not use “more better” because it is wrong.

Using “more better” is creating something known as reduplication. This is something in English where the same word (“more”) is used twice to create a new word with redundancies. It’s best to avoid doing this to streamline our language use.

Can I Say “Very Better”?

“Very” is another way to create a comparative adjective, and it’s wrong to use with the word “better.” “Very better” means “very more good,” which is incorrect because we can’t use “very” and “more” to describe an adjective.

While “very better” isn’t strictly reduplication, it comes very close. “Very” isn’t the same as “more,” yet the two words have very similar meanings, making it important not to use them in this way.

Can I Say “Much Better”?

“Much better” is correct because “much” and “more” do work together. “Much better” means that something is now “better” than the previous option that we had, and we are comparing it to that.

  • I need a new car; this one is old now.
  • Here are your new car keys!
  • Oh, that’s much better.

As you can see from this, “much better” compares our new thing with the previous thing we’re talking about.

While the other thing might also have been “better” than something else, the new thing is “much better” because it’s even more satisfying to us than whatever it was that we had previously.

Is “Way Better” Correct Grammar?

“Way better” is grammatically correct and is synonymous with “much better.” However, “way better” tends to be a little more powerful in meaning, implying that something is far superior to what we previously had.

“Way” can accompany the “more” portion of the word “better” (“more good”).

Typically, “way” means that something has gone much further than we expected it to and has done a great job in impressing us.

  • This is way better than the car I had before!

If we’re shocked or impressed by the thing that we now have, it might be “way better” than what we previously had.

While synonymous with “much better,” you’ll want to reserve “way better” for the most impressive things in your life.

Is “Most Best” Grammatically Correct?

“Most best” is grammatically incorrect. It returns to the reduplication problem we mentioned before. “Best” means “most good,” so “most best” would mean “most most good.”

It’s impossible to find a situation where “most best” works grammatically. However, some people do use it casually to say that there really isn’t anything more perfect than what they’ve got right now, but they shorten it to the following:

  • Bestest

Again, this isn’t an officially recognized word, and you should only use it in informal situations if you’re going to use it at all.