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Had Better: How to Use this English Phrase and a Comparison with Should

had better

Learn how to use the phrase ‘had better’ in this English lesson. See below for a comparison with should.

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Video Transcript

Hello, everybody. This is Jack from tofluency.com. Now, last night my wife and I went to this great bar. It’s called the Bywater because its by the river, and there are lots of things to do there. It’s very popular for people to go there with their families and just hang out outside. So, we went with my so,n we met a few friends there… and it was getting late, okay, it was about 9 p.m. And normally, my son goes to bed around 8 / 8:30, so, my wife said to me, ‘We’d better get going. ‘We’d better get going.’

So, this is a contraction of we had better – we’d better – we’d better get going. And this simply means ‘we should go home now. We should go home now.’ So, this phrase is very popular in British and American English and we use it a lot of talk about specific situations. So, ‘had better’ is used with specific situations whereas should is more about general advice. Now, if you click the link in the description or somewhere on this screen, it will take you to the page
with more examples of this phrase. So, what I’d like you to do is to leave an example below in the comments section using ‘had better’ – we had better or you had better etc.

There are a few ways you can use it, so feel free to experiment a little. So, thank you for watching this video and I’ll see you guys next time!

Had Better vs Should

‘Had better’ is used to talk about specific situations. Should can be used here too.

  • We’d better get going
  • We should get going
  • You’d better eat that quick!
  • You should eat that quick!

Should is for general advice:

  • You should listen to a lot of English if you want to improve

Using had better in the negative can be threatening (strong):

  • You’d better not come closer (threatening violence)
  • He’d better not say anything

What to Do Now

Leave an example below and then download my free book.

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5-Step Plan English Fluency Book

  • I’d better learn English with you every day . I should practice English with you daily .

  • Diana Iclozan

    He`d better sleep a little bit.

  • Beata Skwierczyńska

    I should practice my spoken English. I’d get started practicing with my friends on Skype.