Results 1 to 2 of 2

Thread: had better

    • Join Date: Dec 2005
    • Posts: 3

    had better

    Hi all,

    Can anyone explain what the etymology of "had better" is?

    Once I read that "a survival of the subjunctive form had appears in constructions like had better and had best, as in We had better leave now. This use of had goes back to Middle English and is perfectly acceptable."

    Is this correct?


  1. Editor,
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 59,789

    Re: had better

    This page suggests it's a relatively modern form, not Old English, though I assume it could be Middle English: (scroll down a bit)
    It is perfectly acceptable, and you do here 'we had best be leaving' as well. The form does suggest that it is a subjunctive.


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts