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Conversational structures with had better

Posted By Manjusha, Filed in English Speaking

We use had better to tell people what we think they should do.

  • You had better turn that music down before dad gets angry.
  • You had better consult a doctor.

Had better is also used to give advice to ourselves.

  • It is seven o’clock. I had better put the meat in the oven.

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. (If you don’t, there will be trouble.) (Order/threat)
Grammar Notes

Had better refers to the immediate future, but the form is always past. Have better is impossible. After had better we use the infinitive without to.

  • It is late – you had better hurry up. (NOT You had better hurried up.)

In British English, better can come before had for emphasis.

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


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