“You had better’ is a very popular expression in conversational English. Let’s learn how to give advice in English using the semi-modal “had better”.
“Had better” helps you give your opinion about what is good or bad in an influential manner. Unlike other forms of verbs used to give advice in English, “had better” includes an idea of a warning in it which makes it more influential.
In the above two examples, you can see that there is an idea beneath it that if you do not follow my advice, something bad may happen. Therefore, “had better” generates very strong advice.
“had better” sentences also express a desperate hope of the speaker as in above two examples.
These sentences bring out the speaker’s desperate hopes on the happenings in the immediate future.
When you use “had better” in spoken English, there is an impact of the tone of the speaker to suggest how bad the negative consequences would be.
You can sound as if you are threatening someone or giving someone a soft advice or recommendation depending on the intensity of your tone.
When we use “had better” it means It is advisable to do something in the present time or in the future time.
Most of the learners misunderstand this as an expression of past time. Even though “had” is a past simple auxiliary, “had better” refers to the present and future times.
“I had better” expresses that it is good for me to do something. The meaning here is more like a self-realization.
“We had better” is an expression that suggests something to ourselves.
As in the above example, the idea generated here is “It’s better for us to go home before it rains”.
In other words, it says; let’s go home before it rains.
It is a strong suggestion and also means that if we do not do so, we will have to regret it.
“You had better” is an expression used to give advice to someone else.
“Had better” is similar to “should” to a certain extent. However, “had better” gives strong advice together with a sense of warning or recommendation to the listener.
The form of “had better” does not change according to the subject of the sentence.
Had is the past simple form of the auxiliary verb “have”. When it combines with “better”, it is considered a semi-modal which expresses the opinion of the speaker.
Hence, “had better” is not a verb which is number or person sensitive.
|I had better go home.||We had better go home.|
|You had better go home.||You had better go home.|
|He had better go home.||They had better go home.|
|She had better go home.|
Negative form of “had better” is very easy. You only have to add “not” after the semi-modal “had better”.
Eg: in a conversation
|I had better not bother your parents.||We had better not bother your parents.|
|You had better not bother your parents.||You had better not bother your parents.|
|He had better not bother your parents.||They had better not bother your parents.|
|She had better not bother your parents.|
Question form of had better is not very common with certain nouns or pronouns.
However, there is rare usage with some of the pronouns like “we”.
Sometimes, the negative question form is used.
As in all the above examples “had” comes first and the subject comes between “had” and “better”.
Had is the past form of the verb “have” but “Had better” does not give a past idea. It gives a present or future idea. It suggests or hopes for something good to happen or to do in the present time or in the future.
You’d is the contracted form of “You had”. It is popularly used in the conversational language.
There is no such form as “has better” or “will have better”. Instead, “had Better” is used with all the subjects in order to bring out present and future ideas.
In conversational language, some speakers drop “had” and say
Whereas, the correct grammatical use is “You had better work hard”.
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