I come across some phrases such as “best avoided,” or “better avoided.” I understand what it means, but don’t know how this phrase was made. What grammatical structure is in this? I thought this phrase is short for “is best (when it is) avoided,” but this underatanding is just based on my rudimentary grammar. Could anyone help me with this?

  • I would say it relates to constructions like you'd better go now. To me at least, X is best avoided does not mean X is best when it is avoided. It means it is best to avoid X / the best thing you can do is avoid X / you'd be better-advised to avoid X etc. Sometimes there is hardly any difference between this meaning and the meaning X is best when, e.g. pizzas are best cooked in the oven can mean the best way to cook pizzas... or pizzas come out best when... Sometimes though it can only really have the it's best to meaning. – user339660 Apr 1 at 9:25
  • For example in Leicester is best avoided, Leicester is pretty much the same whether it is avoided or not, so this can only really mean the best thing to do is... In fact, on the X is best when it is avoided reading, this would mean something like please don't come to Leicester, we're better off without you, which can't be the intended meaning. – user339660 Apr 1 at 9:28

In your case 'best' is an adverb form which is used to modify a verb.

Here's an extract from the entry in Merriam-Webster's Dictionary (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/best):


superlative of WELL

1: in the best way 

: to greatest advantage

// Some things are best left unsaid.

The same thing is with 'better':


comparative of WELL

1a: in a more excellent manner // sings better than I do

b: to greater advantage  :PREFERABLY // some things are better left unsaid


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