22.214.171.124.2 worse = pire & plus mauvais (adjective); pis (adverb)
Bad (mauvais) is a word that seems to cause some trouble, when coming to the comparative. Already in English we have an irregular form. However, the French are even a bit more creative. They have two forms for comparative adjective (pire and plusmauvais) and one form for comparative adverb (pis). Let's have a look at the differences.
mauvais is more often used as pire. While plus mauvais has the more objective meaning of worse, has pire more the meaning of morally bad. Let's have a look at the examples to get things straight.
pire ce qu' il a fait, il l'
a vraiment détruite.
C' est encore plus mauvais ce qu'
il a fait, il l' a vraiment détruite.
This is even worse, what he did, he has truely destroyed it.
pire qu' un crime, c' était
un acte barbare.
C' était plus mauvais qu' un
crime, c' était un acte barbare.
This was worse than a crime, it was an act of barbarity.
Le remède est pire que le mal.
The medecine is worse than the illness.
Pire is used to describe the judgement of the speaker in a moral manner.
worse in a more objective way
Il est plus mauvais au tennis qu' elle.
He is worse in (playing) tennis than she (is).
Celle-là est plus mauvaise que celle-ci.
This one over there is worse than the one here.
The same distinction we have with the adverb of bad (mal). In a meaning of morally bad (respectively worse) the comparative is pis. However, pis is not used so often anmore, mostly in some fixed phrases as the following.
Ça va de mal en pis.
This is going from bad to worse.
what a pity
Tant pis pour vous.
Tough luck for you.
For all the other cases, when we need a comparative of the adverb mal, we use the regular form.