Johnny is having problems in school. He’s been absent a lot, and when he is not absent, he’s been late. Yesterday, the school principal called him into the office. He said to Johnny, “You had better start coming to school on time. If you don’t then you are going to get suspended.” Johnny knew he was in trouble, and that he had better improve his attendance. When he got home, his father was so angry with him. “I had better not get any more phone calls from the school about you anymore! If I do, you’ll be grounded!”
We use had better when we give urgent advice and warnings. Do you know how to use this grammar? Have a look at the paragraph above and then check out today’s lesson:
We use had better when we give someone urgent advice and a warning about a serious or dangerous situation. Had better includes the meaning that if you do or do not do something, something bad will happen. In other words, there will be negative consequences if you do not follow the advice or warning given with had better. So when we use had better, we often state the negative consequence as well. The structure is had better + base verb for positive sentences and had better + not + base verb for negative sentences. Here are some examples:
- The school principal said, “You had better start coming to school on time.” After this warning, he said the consequence. “If you don’t then you are going to get suspended.”
- Johnny’s father said, “I had better not get any more phone calls from the school about you.” After this warning, he said the consequence. “If I do, you’ll be grounded!”
Here is another example. Mark is overweight and in poor health. He goes to see his doctor. The doctor gives him the following urgent advice:
- “You had better cut down on eating junk food.” If you don’t, you will become very sick; maybe even have a heart attack.
- “You had better stop smoking.” If you don’t, then you will get lung disease.
So, had better is used to give strong warnings and urgent advice. If you do not follow the warning or advice, something bad will happen. So be careful! You had better not use this grammar, unless the situation is urgent, as in the above examples.
Thanks for studying with me today. Have you gotten any urgent advice or warnings recently?
NEW for 2012! 109 Phrasal Verbs – 116-page eBook
- The DEFINITION of each phrasal verb.
- How to USE the phrasal verb.
- The STRUCTURE showing the grammar pattern of the phrasal verb.
- EXAMPLE sentences to see how the phrasal verb is used in context.
- A PRACTICE question to give you the chance to use the phrasal verb.
Would you like a FREE 15-page sample? Click here for more information.