You 'd be far better playing squash or tennis after work.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by xunilxunil, Dec 10, 2016.

  1. xunilxunil

    xunilxunil Banned

    Urdu
    Hello all,

    Is the bold sentence ' had better' or 'would better' ? Is it a fixed expression? And why do the writer use 'ing' fotm after better?
    It is n't clear to me. Could you please give me a reference from dictionaries or any websites?

    "You 'd be far better playing squash or tennis after work. That would help you relax far better.
    You need less stress in your life. "


    Thanks.
     
  2. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    The standard expression is
    Subject + verb to be + far/much better off [by] <-ing form of the verb>.
    or
    Subject + verb to be + far/much better off with the/a <noun>.

    e.g. "We would be much better off avoiding the places that are filled with tourists."
    "I will be far better off with new computer than trying to repair this one."

    The -ing form of the verb is used as this implies "spending time verbing."

    "to be [far/much] better off" = to be in a [far/much] more advantageous position.
     
  3. heypresto

    heypresto Senior Member

    South East England
    English - England
    Where did you see this sentence? I would have expected ' . . . better off . . . '.

    Cross-posted.
     
  4. xunilxunil

    xunilxunil Banned

    Urdu
    Src: English vocabulary organizer by CHRIS COUGH unit 27 page 60
     
  5. xunilxunil

    xunilxunil Banned

    Urdu
    Thanks.
    Is the second definition in the below link OK?
    better off | meaning of better off in Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English | LDOCE
     
  6. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    As heypresto points out, "better off" is commoner. Your example with the omitted "off" would sometimes (not often and colloquially) be used where the speaker is suggesting an alternative:

    A: "What do you do to relax?"
    B: "I usually sit in front of the television and drink a beer."
    A: "You 'd be far better playing squash or tennis after work."

    The examples given are good.
     
  7. xunilxunil

    xunilxunil Banned

    Urdu
    Thanks for your help. So Can I use the original example ? Is it correct or we have to put 'off' ?
     
  8. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    You can use the expression with and without "off" but the version with "off" is commoner.
     
  9. xunilxunil

    xunilxunil Banned

    Urdu
    Thanks so much. So helpful.
     
  10. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    Devon
    British English
    Your question was
    It is "You would be far better ..."

    It is "you had" in sentences such as "You'd better get out of here before I punch you on the nose".

    "You'd be better ..." - "would"
    "You'd better ..." followed by a verb - "had"
     
  11. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southern England
    English - England
    It is You would be far better verb-ing - and I'd say it was a fixed expression used to suggest an alternative activity to someone.

    Obviously, some activity needs to have been previously mentioned for better to have a point of comparison.

    I fear I don't agree with those who say that it would be necessary to add an off after better, though the ngram I looked at suggests that it's much more usual to do so. The obvious problem with the ngram is that better off can mean financially better off, which is not the meaning we are concerned with here, and I can't think of an easy way of eliminating cases where it doesn't mean this.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
  12. Andygc

    Andygc Senior Member

    Devon
    British English
    I didn't comment on "off" because that wasn't the question, but I agree with Thomas. I find the absence of "off" more natural in this sentence: "You'd be far better playing squash or tennis after work" - although I would actually say "You'd do far better playing squash or tennis after work".
     

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