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    • Join Date: Jan 2004
    • Posts: 189
    #1

    Worse than nothing

    Dear all,

    What does " if they are the best option, but they are worse than nothing" mean?

    Regards,

    Dean

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    • Join Date: Jun 2008
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    #2

    Re: Worse than nothing

    Quote Originally Posted by dean View Post
    Dear all,

    What does " if they are the best option, but they are worse than nothing" mean?
    It has to be:
    " if they are the best options, but they are worse than nothing" OR
    " if they are the best options, but they are worse than nothing"

    "If ..., but .." doesn't go together.
    Regards,

    Dean
    The meaning is straight forward. It is better to do nothing than choose any of the "best options".
    Example:
    A: I'm hungry. What's in the fridge?
    B: Some moldy cheese or some rotten fruit.
    A: If those are the best options, I'll pass, thanks.


    • Join Date: May 2009
    • Posts: 182
    #3

    Re: Worse than nothing

    Some context might help here.

    "Worse than nothing" means that it would be better to have nothing at all than accept the option available. Say I go to the store and I want to buy orange juice. I like to be healthy, so I buy my orange juice 100% fresh. However, the store is all out of fresh orange juice. They can sell me orange soda or an orange juice drink that is 15% orange juice and mostly sugar. Ick! I don't want to buy either of those, so I decide it is better to buy nothing. The options available were worse than nothing.

    It is possible that they have a can of frozen orange juice concentrate. That is more healthy than the orange soda or the sugar drink, so it is the best option available. But I really hate orange juice from concentrate, so I still decide to buy nothing. Then I might say the orange juice from concentrate was the best option, but it was still worse than nothing.

    The "if" in your example throws it off a bit... I suppose there could be a situation in which you have to choose one of the poorer options, where "nothing" isn't an option. Then you could say, "If they are the best option, I have no other choice. I wish I could choose nothing, because the choices I have are still worse." Or it could be an exaggeration. I may complain that the orange juice concentrate is worse than nothing, but I may contradict myself and buy it anyway.

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