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

#1
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.
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    English - England
    #2
    Is the bold sentence ' had better' or 'would better' ? Is it a fixed expression?
    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.
     
    #5
    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.
    Thanks.
    Is the second definition in the below link OK?
    better off | meaning of better off in Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English | LDOCE
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    English - England
    #6
    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.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    #10
    Your question was
    Is the bold sentence ' had better' or 'would better' ?
    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"
     
    English - England
    #11
    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.
    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:

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    #12
    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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