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    • Join Date: Dec 2008
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    #1

    plz help

    hi,
    i have this confusion...in this particular sentence
    " it will be fairly cold.we had better take some warm clothes."
    why is it with had better and not would better? i know it will be had but not clear with the reason...to what tense does this sentence or particular format had+ simple present fall? what exactly does it mean?

    thanks
    esheeta

  1. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: PLEASE help

    Quote Originally Posted by esheeta View Post
    Hi,
    I have this confusion. In this particular sentence,
    "It will be fairly cold. We had better take some warm clothes,"
    why is it with had better and not would better? I know it will be had but am not clear with the reason. To what tense does this sentence or particular format had+ simple present fall? What exactly does it mean?

    Thanks,
    Esheeta
    Had better = should = ought to:

    "We had better take...."
    "We should take...."
    "We ought to take...."
    "We would be smart to take...."

    Good question. It's an idiom. It has no literal meaning. You can also make this contraction: "We'd better...."

    PS -

    An important standard English rule: Only use text message shortcuts in text messages - never anywhere else. Please is not spelled plz, and capitals and punctuation matter!

    [I edit copy and have tutored college writing.]
    Last edited by Charlie Bernstein; 22-Mar-2009 at 21:03.

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    #3

    Re: plz help

    Quote Originally Posted by esheeta View Post
    hi,
    i have this confusion...in this particular sentence
    " it will be fairly cold.we had better take some warm clothes."
    why is it with had better and not would better? You cannot use "would better". i know it will be had but not clear with the reason...to what tense does this sentence or particular format had+ simple present fall? what exactly does it mean?
    "better" is not simple present; it's comparative.
    thanks
    esheeta
    Welcome!

    29. had better. 1. Grammar. The American Heritage Book of English Usage. 1996

    As the link says, it is really an idiom in your sentence. So you shouldn't try to analyze its grammar. I don't know what the origin of "had better" is.

    Of course "had better" can also be used for its literal meaning.
    A...How is the pumpkin pie?
    B...It's okay, but I've had better. (better pumpkin pie)

  2. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: plz help

    Right. It's an idiom. Don't try to conjugate it. You can't.

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