had better (‘d better)

 

Use

 
We use had better to give strong advice or to tell someone (including ourselves) what to do.

  • I‘d better go home. It’s getting late.
  • You‘d better tell mum what happened before she finds out. 

Had better often implies that something negative will happen if something is not done and it often sounds like a threat or a warning.

  • He‘d better give me my money back or he’ll be in trouble. 
  • You‘d better behave yourself if you don’t want me to get really angry. 

 

Form

 
The word had is a past verb form, but the expression had better is only used to talk about the immediate future.

  • You‘d better call me soon. I’ll be worried.

After had better we need to use infinitive without to.

  • I‘d better take a look. (NOT I’d better to take)

Had better not (‘d better not) is the negative form of had better.

  • You‘d better not say a word about this. 
  • I‘d better not forget. 

In spoken English we normally use the short form ‘d better. And in informal speech, people sometimes say just better (without had).

  • You better go home.
  • I better get it right this time. 

 

had better vs should

 
We often use should to give advice, to say that something is a good thing. And we use had better to express urgent advice or a warning, with bad consequences if you don’t follow it.

  • You should try the cake. It’s delicious. 
  • He‘d better hurry up or he’ll miss the cake. 

 

It’s time

 
We can use it’s time + to + infinitive or it’s time for someone + to + infinitive to say that someone should do something now or in the future.

  • It’s time for you to go to the doctor. 
  • It’s time to take a decision. 

We can also use it’s (about) time + subjectpast simple to say that someone should do something now or in the future.

  • It’s time you went to the doctor. 
  • I really think it’s high time you made a decision. We can’t go on like this any longer.

Note that we use the past in this form, but we are talking about the future.

We often use this form to complain or criticise.

  • It’s time you paid me what you owe me.  
  • It’s about time you started looking for a job.