View Poll Results: You ____ do it.

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2354. This poll is closed
  • hadn't better

    395 16.78%
  • had better not

    1,782 75.70%
  • Either

    177 7.52%
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Thread: Had better

  1. #41
    MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    Default Re: Had better

    Quote Originally Posted by Marcus Aurelius View Post
    One thing that has been missed in this discussion is that the convention of using "had better" or "had better not" carries with it a threat of violence or other negative consequences if the person is to not heed the advice given. NEVER use this convention when simply offering friendly advice, especially when speaking with Americans.
    I disagree, particluarly about the "violence" part. This is nothing more than a strong suggestion. There may be negative consequences, but that is why the suggestion is strong.

    If you need to be home by midnight, you'd better leave now.
    We'd beter leave now if we hope to beat the storm.

  2. #42
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    Default Re: Had better

    It's perfectly fine for speaking with Americans - of course you can make it sound threatening, but when talking with my friends, I use it all the time (You had better not take my food!); it's also fine for talking with someone you just met, in giving advice, as Tdol said (you had better take the back roads today - the interstates are backed up).

  3. #43
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    Default Re: Had better

    Quote Originally Posted by galaxy View Post
    COULD you give me a comprehensive explanation about the usage of the modal had better ? please

    in the light of my present knowledge , ı say b , had better.
    I don't think "had better" is a modal.

    http://www.usingenglish.com/glossary/modal-verb.html

    ~R

  4. #44
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    Default Re: Had better

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee View Post
    I don't think "had better" is a modal.

    http://www.usingenglish.com/glossary/modal-verb.html

    ~R
    It is not usually included on the list, probably because it is a phrase. Some call it a modal because it can be replaced by "should" or "must" in many uses.

  5. #45
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    Default Re: Had better

    Okay. Then where is the "comprehensive explanation about the usage" of that modal that the poster asked about?


  6. #46
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    Default Re: Had better

    Quote Originally Posted by riverkid View Post
    No, it's not wrong, Bob. It's just a slightly different form. This occurs all the time in language. It's called phonological reduction.
    ...
    That's an interesting view. Reflecting on my own usage in less formal contexts, the /d/ of I'd assimilates to the /b/ of better, becoming an unreleased bilabial closure (but still voiced). This may sound fairly similar to 'I better' in most respects (it'd take either a speech spectrograph or a sensitive listener to tell the difference - mainly, a longer closure), but there is a difference. The failure to produce that difference isn't a feature of standard English (not of BE anyway - I have no idea what they do in Canada ).

    b

  7. #47
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    Default Re: Had better

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee View Post
    Okay. Then where is the "comprehensive explanation about the usage" of that modal that the poster asked about?

    I don't know if this discussion was comprehensive enough, but it has some information in it.

  8. #48
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    Default Re: Had better

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    That's an interesting view. Reflecting on my own usage in less formal contexts, the /d/ of I'd assimilates to the /b/ of better, becoming an unreleased bilabial closure (but still voiced). This may sound fairly similar to 'I better' in most respects (it'd take either a speech spectrograph or a sensitive listener to tell the difference - mainly, a longer closure), but there is a difference. The failure to produce that difference isn't a feature of standard English (not of BE anyway - I have no idea what they do in Canada ).

    b
    By far, the most common use worldwide seems to be "S + better + verb". This is not surprising because these types of "recently developed semi-modals ... are common in conversation but virtually non-existent in written exposition. Interestingly, BrE has been more innovative recently in the use of semi-modals than AmE".

    [material in quotes from the LGSWE]

    A UK pages only google:

    Results 1 - 10 of about 664,000 for "You better".

    Results 1 - 10 of about 290,000 for "You'd better".

    Results 1 - 10 of about 123,000 for "You had better".

    Looks like it's in pretty standard usage in the old UK, Bob.

    A regular google:

    Results 1 - 10 of about 7,040,000 English pages for "You better".

    Results 1 - 10 of about 1,250,000 English pages for "You'd better".

    Results 1 - 10 of about 1,060,000 English pages for "You had better".

  9. #49
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    Default Re: Had better

    This is intriguing: Google results - UK pages only -

    "I had better" 118,000
    "I'd better" 225,000
    "I better" 172,000

    That is, the total of "I had" and "I'd" hits outweigh "I better" 2:1 - even assuming that all those "I better" hits are relevant. They're not. In the first screenful I found not one that was relevant. There were three from either American- or Australian- related pages (presumably written either by speakers of something other then BE, or by people influenced by non-British factors - e.g. family connections); and one totally irrelevant coincidental collocation ("How can I better understand....").

    In the case of the first person, I have no doubt that 'I better' is non-standard as far as BE is concerned. I'm not convinced the same is as incontrovertibly true in the case of "you better". Very few of the UK-page "you better" hits are relevant - on the first page, most are coincidental collocations. Most of the rest relate to modern pop culture - the first conduit of language change in a wired world. I don't have the time to look further into the second-person results, but it looks as though the increase in acceptability (which I don't dispute is happening - it'll just happen over my dead body ) is progressing via "You" forms to "I" forms.

    I'd like to look into this further, using BNC rather than Google. But it'll take me a while to learn to drive that properly - time that I don't have at the moment (as I have an interview to prepare for).


    b

  10. #50
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    Default Re: Had better

    I think there are AE and BE differences. Anyhow, I know that we use both "you had better" and "you better" here. Something I have said myself and (I am sure) have heard is:
    You better not.
    (My two cents.)


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