En mettant les choses au pire…
ah may-tah lay shoh zoh peer… Click below to hear this.*
Sounds like negativism, but I like to think of this expression as encouraging positive thinking. If I can get a logical, rational handle on the worst thing that can happen, then I prevent myself from inventing horrible, awful, but unlikely, consequences of my present situation.
Literally, the phrase means putting things at the worst…. Its companion phrase is en mettant les choses au mieux…, which encourages one to think of all the good things that could happen. Can’t lose, either way!
Here’s how the comparisons go for these two irregular adverbs:
bien = well
mieux = better
le mieux = the best
mal = badly
pire = worse
le pire = the worst
En mettant les choses au pire, at least now you have a quick-reference table to help you remember what’s what.
*Some mobile phones, such as Blackberries, won’t display the audio player. If no player appears, here’s an alternative link to the audio file: