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  1. #1
    wotcha's Avatar
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    Default had better / should

    Between 'had better' and 'should', which is stronger advice?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: had better / should

    Neither is necessarily stronger.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: had better / should

    *Not a teacher

    Though I agree with fivejedjon, I differentiate them a little bit. Example:

    You had better go home, your mother is looking for you. (she is very angry, you are going to be punished)
    You should go home, your mother is looking for you. (she is very worried)


    I don't really know how to explain, I hope you will understand from my example.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: had better / should

    I am not a teacher nor a native speaker.

    There is something more that I learned from the Murphy's book (Yes! There is the dedicated topic in there).

    Had better is similar to should but not exactly the same.
    We use had better only for particular situation (not for things in general).
    You can use should in all types of situation to give an opinion or to give an advice.
    Also, with had better, there is always a danger or a problem if you don't follow the advice.

    Dear teacher, I would be grateful if you would correct my grammar in the post.

    Thanks, Alex.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: had better / should

    Quote Originally Posted by AlexAD View Post
    Also, with had better, there is always a danger or a problem if you don't follow the advice.
    That's what I wanted to say, thank you, AlexAD!

  6. #6
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: had better / should

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    (1) IMHO, a learner should never use "had better' until s/he has a somewhat fluent

    command of English. Otherwise, s/he is liable to get into BIG trouble -- without

    understanding why.

    (2) Many learners do not understand that sometimes a "had better" carries with it the

    idea of "or else."

    (3) Let's say that someone is blocking the door, and you cannot enter. If you say to

    him/her: "You had better move!," the other person will be very insulted and may

    reply: If I don't move, what are you going to do about it?"

    Sincerely,


    James

  7. #7
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: had better / should

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    A few minutes ago, I read something that I want to share with those

    who want to see how "powerful" the words "had better" can be.

    The article concerned anti-government demonstrations in a

    certain country:

    "The time and place for the demonstrations had to be transmitted

    from mouth to mouth, from friend to friend. And they had better be

    real friends." (My comment: If they had not been real friends, those

    "friends" would have told the secret police.)



    Sincerely yours,


    James

  8. #8
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: had better / should

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    A few minutes ago, I read something that I want to share with those

    who want to see how "powerful" the words "had better" can be.

    The article concerned anti-government demonstrations in a

    certain country:

    "The time and place for the demonstrations had to be transmitted

    from mouth to mouth, from friend to friend. And they had better be

    real friends.
    " (My comment: If they had not been real friends, those

    "friends" would have told the secret police.)



    Sincerely yours,


    James
    (my underlining)

    A very strange example, however, I think you'll agree, since the narrative relates to the past while 'had better', despite its past form, relates exclusively to the present! The underlined sentence needs amending to e.g.

    And they had to be real friends.

  9. #9
    AlexAD's Avatar
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    Default Re: had better / should

    Hello.

    I'm reading the stories about Robin Hood and I've come across the usage of 'had better' that I find not very clear.

    Robin brought a fellow, who didn't let him pass across the bridge, to the camp in the Sherwood Forest and asked his friends what they should do with him.
    - 'Duck him!' they cried.
    - 'No!' answered Robin. 'He has proved himself a fighter with a staff. He had far better join for us'.

    It is clear from the context that the fellow wouldn't have caused any problem, if they had not allowed him to join their band. But... as I wrote before, referring to Murphy's book, with had better there is always a danger or a problem if you don't follow the advice. However, I can't see either of them in this example. Can you?

    Yours sincerely, Alex.

  10. #10
    TheParser is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: had better / should

    Quote Originally Posted by philo2009 View Post
    (my underlining)

    A very strange example, however, I think you'll agree, since the narrative relates to the past while 'had better', despite its past form, relates exclusively to the present! The underlined sentence needs amending to e.g.

    And they had to be real friends.
    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    The teacher is spot-on (I just learned this bit of British slang and really

    like it!!).

    Like the teacher, when I first read it, I did find it a bit jarring.

    Nevertheless, I really like it, and I feel that if fits nicely into the

    feeling that the author is trying to express. But I lack the

    ability to explain why some writers might justify this use of

    "had better."


    Sincerely,


    James

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