you'd better not" versus "you'd better not to"

< Previous | Next >

lupocci

Member
Italian
Hi to everybody! I kindly ask you a question: what is the correct expression among "you'd better not " and "you'd better not to"? I heard both from non-native english speakers. Google search for example provides for the verb "to be":

-"you'd better not to be " => 4000000 results
-"you'd better not be " => 8000000 results

So they are both used. What is the grammatically correct one?
thanks
Lupocci
 
  • lupocci

    Member
    Italian
    And another great doubt: does the term 'd stay for "would" or for "had"? I always thought "would" but doing a google search is confusing me!
    thanks
     

    Tazzler

    Senior Member
    American English
    "you'd better not to be" is incorrect, plain and simple, regardless of the Google results you get. I would look over them if I were you as they are probably showing different constructions. The bare infinitive is always used. And "you'd" is in its fuller form "you had," although some people omit the "had."
     

    Bonnie Ochoa

    New Member
    MEXICO
    "You'd better not" is "You had better not...." As in "You had better not go the party!" ("You are not allowed to go to the party" or there will be a punishment/disapproval, etc.)

    "You'd better not to" is probably incorrect for "You would be better not to..." As in "You would be better not to steal" ("You are better off if you don't steal"/"One is better off if one doesn't steal")

    apostrophes are tricky in English. "You'd be better off to omit them"
     
    Last edited:

    lupocci

    Member
    Italian
    First of all thanks for the answer. But I do not really understand the grammar below : "You had better not be". Lets take the positive version: You had better be. It does not make sense to me, "You had be" sounds grammatically incorrect to me. Or it is maybe a verbal form that I do not know. And why the use of the past "had"? If I am talking at the present I would say "You have better be", but still grammatically senseless. On the contrary, "You would be" and "you would not be" both make a lot of sense to me. Thank for any clarification you could offer.
     

    FL84

    New Member
    English - US
    "You had be" makes no sense.

    "You had better be" makes sense depending on what follows it. It may not be 100% grammatically correct, but it is certainly used in spoken American English. It explains a consequence of a future action, "You had better be there when I arrive" means that if you are not there when I arrive at some point in the future, there will be negative consequences. Also, "you had better not be there when i arrive" means you should not be there when I arrive in the future, or there will be negative consequences, such as a fight starting between us.

    I believe the past tense "had" is added because of the future point of reference. However, the "had" can be omitted and the sentence retains the same meaning.


    "you'd better not" makes sense whereas "you'd better not to" does not. In this case the you'd is a contraction for you had.
     

    Bonnie Ochoa

    New Member
    MEXICO
    "had better" means "must" in this context. If you substitute "must" in your example, it would read "You must be". As in, "You must be good", or "You had better be good". It's a stronger form of the command, usually a parent to a child. << Spanish removed by moderator>>
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    First of all thanks for the answer. But I do not really understand the grammar below : "You had better not be". Lets take the positive version: You had better be. It does not make sense to me, "You had be" sounds grammatically incorrect to me. Or it is maybe a verbal form that I do not know. And why the use of the past "had"? If I am talking at the present I would say "You have better be", but still grammatically senseless. On the contrary, "You would be" and "you would not be" both make a lot of sense to me. Thank for any clarification you could offer.
    Had better and had best are idioms, meaning "would be wise to" (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary) or "ought to" (American Heritage Dictionary). Because they are idioms, you can't remove the word better as you have done above, since taking better out destroys the idiom.
     

    lupocci

    Member
    Italian
    Ok, mplsray answer completely satisfied my. Had better is an idiom. Now it is clear.
    So what about the use of would as for example: "you would be better come back soon?" Is it correct? Or maybe it should be: "it would be better if you come back soon".
    thanks
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    Ok, mplsray answer completely satisfied my. Had better is an idiom. Now it is clear.
    So what about the use of would as for example: "you would be better come back soon?" Is it correct? Or maybe it should be: "it would be better if you come back soon".
    thanks
    This is a use of better as either an adjective or an adverb (see discussion below).

    It would be better if you came back soon.

    The Oxford English Dictionary entry "better, adj. and adv. (and n.1)," has the following under A. adj. I. 4. a.

    In the predicate, after be, the neuter adj. formerly interchanged with the adv. bet, and its grammatical character is still dubious: the positive of 'it is better to go' may be either 'it is good' or 'it is well.'
    Thus you could have the following variants of the sentence:

    It would be good if you came back soon.

    It would be well if you came back soon.

    (For what it's worth, in my view the latter sounds either old-fashioned or very formal.)
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Google search for example provides for the verb "to be":

    -"you'd better not to be " => 4000000 results
    -"you'd better not be " => 8000000 results
    After doing the first query, look at the bottom of the page. Where there are page numbers which usually go from 1 to 10, you will see only 1 2 3. If you try to page forward through these 4,190,000 results, Google quickly decides that there are only 25 results including this post on WordReference.
    You should also look at the quality of the results. Most of them have at least one other obvious grammar mistake in the little bit that is shown on the Google page. Many of the hits on the second and third pages have Chinese characters in them.
     
    Last edited:

    Man_from_India

    Senior Member
    India
    "you'd better not to be" is incorrect, plain and simple, regardless of the Google results you get. I would look over them if I were you as they are probably showing different constructions. The bare infinitive is always used. And "you'd" is in its fuller form "you had," although some people omit the "had."
    I agree that "you'd better not be" is the correct one. But I thought 'd here means "would", but yet "had" is also possible, but all of these depends on context.
    Am I right? At least this is what I think. You people are welcome to correct me.
     

    phil_34

    Senior Member
    "had better" means "must" in this context. If you substitute "must" in your example, it would read "You must be". As in, "You must be good", or "You had better be good". It's a stronger form of the command, usually a parent to a child. << Spanish removed by moderator>>
    Bonnie Ochoa 'had better' doesn't mean 'must', it means 'you should'/'it would be better if you did/did not do this'. 'Had better' is a fixed expression and it is always followed by a bare infinitive = infinitive without to.

    'I had better not take this medicine'. (because it's addictive) 'You had better stay sober tonight because you're driving.' 'You had better quit smoking.' (it's not a must, but a 'should').

    =================>

    I agree that "you'd better not be" is the correct one. But I thought 'd here means "would", but yet "had" is also possible, but all of these depends on context.
    Am I right? At least this is what I think. You people are welcome to correct me.
    In general the contraction with 'd can mean would and had, but 'had better' is the fixed expression here. not would better.

    =================>

    "You'd better not" is "You had better not...." As in "You had better not go the party!" ("You are not allowed to go to the party" or there will be a punishment/disapproval, etc.)
    'You had better not go TO the party.' (You need to add the 'to' in this sentence). And it doesn't mean you're not allowed to go to the party. It means you shouldn't go there for some reason. There will surely not be a punishment if you go. It's simply advice.
     
    Last edited by a moderator:
    < Previous | Next >
    Top