Welcome to
ESL Printables, the website where English Language teachers exchange resources: worksheets, lesson plans,  activities, etc.
Our collection is growing every day with the help of many teachers. If you want to download you have to send your own contributions.





ESL Forum:

Techniques and methods in Language Teaching

Games, activities and teaching ideas

Grammar and Linguistics

Teaching material

Concerning worksheets

Concerning powerpoints

Concerning online exercises

Make suggestions, report errors

Ask for help

Message board


ESL forum > Ask for help > Question to natives from various regions in the world    

Question to natives from various regions in the world


Question to natives from various regions in the world
Hello dear colleagues!

I īm currently working on giving advice. Of course I gave students the structures "you should" and "if I were you, I would...".
I also thought of "you īd better" but the Canadian assistant working in my school said it was only British. She said "you better" (without the "had") is used, but only in the context of a threat or in anger.
What do you think? Can "you īd better" express "pure" advice as well? And is it used only in Britain?
If possible, I īd like opinions from British, American and Canadian people, and why not Australian or more nationalities.
Thanks in advance!
And have a great weekend!

7 Dec 2012      


As a native speaker (Canadian) I īd also use "you īd better" as a warning, as in "you īd better put your jacket on, you īll catch your death out there"
but mostly I īd use it as a threat "you īd better do your homework, or else!"
I can īt think of a context where I would use it as "pure" advice, as you say.
my two cents.

7 Dec 2012     


I īm not a native speaker, but I lived in the US for several years. You are right, they don īt use "had".

I am currently working with modal verbs and I asked myself the same question: can you consider "had better" for advice? I would say so. The difference I find is that it emphasizes a warning, the possible negative consequences of an action, whereas "should" emphasizes a moral necessity.

I īd love to hear a native speaker about this, too.

7 Dec 2012     


Hope this helps:
you better

Same as "you should". Implies advice or warning. Common in the southern US, this phrase has been shortened down from: 

You would be better off if you... 
You would be better to ... 
You īd be better... 
You īd better... 
You better... 

Sometimes as a threat, a person will mistakingly say "you had better...", but the correct uncontracted version is "would" not "had".
You better get started on that paper if it īs gonna be done by Monday. 

But really there īs no big difference:

"Had better" is most commonly used to make recommendations. It can also be used to express desperate hope as well as warn people.


  • You had better take your umbrella with you today. recommendation
  • That bus had better get here soon! desperate hope
  • You had better watch the way you talk to me in the future! warning

7 Dec 2012     


thank you!

7 Dec 2012     


It īs just a bad habit (leaving off the "had").  Americans also commonly misuse "have got" by saying things like "Do you got?"  Some linguists say that if everyone is doing it, then it becomes the standard and is no longer bad grammar.  I īll leave them to debate that.

7 Dec 2012     


Grammatically it īs you īd better or you had better, but in real life the had is disappearing because it is pronounced very faintly (or as a glottal stop) and many people have even forgotten that there is īd in the expression.

Language is changing constantly, and we are getting to a point where the expression you better is now more used than you īd better. Eventually you better will become correct, if it isn īt considered to be so already.

7 Dec 2012     


If you are looking at advice you can say: you would do better ...

For example:

"Should I take the M25 to the airport"
"You would do better on the A40 and the M11"

"Should I marry Fred?"
"You would do better with Harry."

The answer to the last one could be "you could do worse"

You īd better, however, sounds like a threat, although Cagreis ī last few examples make perfect sense to this ex-pat.


8 Dec 2012     


thanks for the additional answers I got since I last checked the thread!
You īve all been very helpful!

8 Dec 2012