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    • Join Date: Dec 2007
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    #1

    had better and should better

    According to the grammar book I have, 'had better' is an ok expression but not 'should better'. It says that the latter ought to be just 'should' instead of 'should better.' But I wonder if this is true, because I often hear people (native English speaking people) use them both. So if both of them are usable, please explain the difference by showing actual examples.

    Any help would be appreciated
    Thank you.

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: had better and should better

    Quote Originally Posted by jibou View Post
    According to the grammar book I have, 'had better' is an ok expression but not 'should better'. It says that the latter ought to be just 'should' instead of 'should better.' But I wonder if this is true, because I often hear people (native English speaking people) use them both. So if both of them are usable, please explain the difference by showing actual examples.

    Any help would be appreciated
    Thank you.
    Only 'had better' is correct.

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    #3

    Re: had better and should better

    Quote Originally Posted by jibou View Post
    According to the grammar book I have, 'had better' is an ok expression but not 'should better'. It says that the latter ought to be just 'should' instead of 'should better.' But I wonder if this is true, because I often hear people (native English speaking people) use them both. So if both of them are usable, please explain the difference by showing actual examples.

    Any help would be appreciated
    Thank you.

    I am not a teacher.

    Both may be used in certain circumstances.

    -If I plan to advance in my career, I had better study and work hard.
    -If I plan to advance im my career, I should better myself as far as my work ethic is concerned.


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    #4

    Re: had better and should better

    Quote Originally Posted by Searching for language View Post
    -If I plan to advance im my career, I should better myself as far as my work ethic is concerned.
    TRue, but 'should better' is not a modal idiom.
    In your sentence it is just two words.

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    #5

    Re: had better and should better

    Quote Originally Posted by svartnik View Post
    TRue, but 'should better' is not a modal idiom.
    In your sentence it is just two words.

    I realize that, but thought that it was important to explain in which context those two words can actually be used together.


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    #6

    Re: had better and should better

    OK, so what is your final verdict?

    For example:
    I had better leave now.
    I should better leave now.

    I'm sure both of these are commonly used interchangeably.
    So "should better" in this case is,
    1.not usable
    2.idiomatic to 'had better'
    3.'better' is used only to emphasize 'should'
    4. or simply I'm just hearing what's being said wrongly.

    Thank you for your kindness.

  2. RonBee's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: had better and should better

    Quote Originally Posted by jibou View Post
    I had better leave now.
    I should better leave now.
    I have been speaking the language for over fifty years, and I don't remember hearing the second sentence. Instead, say:
    I should leave now.

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    #8

    Re: had better and should better

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee View Post
    I have been speaking the language for over fifty years, and I don't remember hearing the second sentence. Instead, say:
    I should leave now.

    I have heard it used, but only by someone whose enlish is sadly lacking. I guess my example confused the issue.

    In my example "should better myself" the "better" could be replaced by "improve"

    I should leave now, or I had better leave now are correct.

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    #9

    Re: had better and should better

    Many English speakers - maybe most - use non-standard English. Your book is right. Should better is incorrect grammar. Should and had better are both right and mean the same thing.

    Had better is much more formal and stiff than should, so most people using standard English say should. This is informal but grammatically correct.

    However, it is common to hear and see had better it in contraction form: You'd better, I'd better, she'd better, we'd better.

    Non-standard English speakers shorten that, saying you better, I better, she better, we better, but this is also incorrect grammar.

    [I am a copy editor and have been a university writing tutor.]

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    #10

    Re: had better and should better

    Quote Originally Posted by Searching for language View Post
    I am not a teacher.

    Both may be used in certain circumstances.

    -If I plan to advance in my career, I had better study and work hard.
    -If I plan to advance im my career, I should better myself as far as my work ethic is concerned.
    PS - This is right, but don't be confused: this is using a different meaning of better. In the first example, had better means should. In the second, better means improve: I should improve myself, I had better improve myself.

    [I am a copy editor and have tutored writing at a university for several years.]

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