Had Better

We use had better to give strong advice, or to tell people what to do. After had better, we use the infinitive without to.

  • You had better consult a doctor.
  • It is late. I had better hurry up.

Had better may suggest a threat. It is not used in polite requests.


  • Could you lend me some money? (request)
  • You had better lend me some money. (order/threat)

Had better refers to the immediate future, but the form used is always past. Have better is not possible.

  • Shall I go now? You had better. (NOT You have better.)

We can put better before had for emphasis. This is common in British English.

  • ‘I promise I will pay you back.’ ‘You better had.’

We normally make the negative with had better not + infinitive.

  • You had better not tell him.

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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