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Blow ye winds

string # hits
“if worse comes to worse” 10,200
“if worst comes to worst” 6,640
“if worse comes to worst” 3,570
“if worse come to worse” 404
“if worst comes to worse” 404
“if worst come to worst” 246
“if worse come to worst” 66
“if worst come to worse” 6

Personally I prefer the third version. It’s logical, but it doesn’t beat you over the head with subjunctive schmanciness like the seventh one seems to. Some people argue from the presence in Motteaux’s Quixote, and in Middleton, of “the worst comes to the worst” that the second is longstandingly usual. None of these people that I saw actually cite chapter or verse of either, though. And they’re all “famous quotation” sites and whatever (that is to say, credulous flapjaws), so it seems possible to me that Motteaux & Middleton’d’ve meant it more along the lines of “the harder they come, the harder they fall”. It’s too bad that it’s utterly impossible forever to tell how they used it.

Some of the “come” ones seem subjunctive and some seem to be AAVE-style s-dropping.

9 Responses to “Blow ye winds”

  1. jared Says:

    I think this is a strong candidate for set membership in “things meant to neither be written down nor spoke/heard clearly enough to belie spelling intention.” Unless IWCTW is already overloaded, I hereby submit it as an acceptable text binding candidate. 😛 BTW dood, we still need to get together to chill/bike and so I can give you the stuff your crib sent. peace mug.

  2. e Says:

    Jared using the word “dood” is the only thing I can think of worse than ‘if worst come to worse.’ Worst has apparently, therefore, come to worst.

    peace mugz

  3. jared Says:

    pardon me…i meant d00d. happy weekend e’rybody!

  4. Desultor Says:

    Hurray for happy weekends! It’s beautiful today. I’m boutsta go for a bike ride.

  5. e Says:

    bike ride, word–let me get in on some o’ dat.

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