Learn English: How to use I'D BETTER & I'D BETTER NOT

“It’s late. I’d better go.” Have you ever heard this in conversation or a movie? The expressions “I’d better” and “I’d better not” are very, very common in conversation. In this English class, you will learn what these expressions mean, how to use them, and how not to use them. We will look at many examples of the use of these expressions, and I’ll explain the grammar too. You will also learn about the meaning of “you’d better”, which we use to express an order or a strong suggestion. At the end of the video, try my quiz at https://www.engvid.com/learn-english-better-better-not/ to practice what you have learned.


Hello. My name is Emma, and in today’s video I am going to teach you a very common and important expression we use in English, and that expression is: “I’d better”; or in the negative form: “I’d better not”. So we use this expression a lot. But before I teach you how to use this expression, I’m going to give you an example to help you understand when we use this expression. Okay, so let’s get started.

So I have here my friend Jack, and you’ll notice Jack is a little confused. He has a whole bunch of question marks around his head, because he’s thinking. So, what is Jack thinking about? Well, Jack has a test at 8am, and he’s nervous about his test, and so he’s wondering: “What should I do?” That’s what Jack is thinking. So I want you to think about: What should Jack do in this situation? He has a test at 8am. Should he go to bed early? Should he party all night? Or should he watch TV all night? What do you think? And he really wants to do well on his test. Well, hopefully, you know, you said the first one: Jack should go to bed early. So this is when we would use the expression: “I’d better”. We would use it in this case.

And what does it mean? We use: “I’d better” when we want to talk about something that’s a good idea to do; and if we don’t do it, there might be a problem. Okay? So, for example: “I’d better go to bed early.” This is something Jack would say, because going to bed early is a good idea. He has a test to study for… Or, sorry. He has a test the next day, so it’s very important that he goes to bed early. Okay? So let’s make this into an expression Jack can say. “I’d better”, and then we put the verb, which is the action or the good idea. So, in Jack’s case, Jack would say: “I’d better go to bed. I’d better go to bed.” So, now let’s look at more examples of the expression: “I’d better”.

Okay, so you might be wondering: What does “I’d better” stand for? If you actually break up the “I’d”, because “I’d” is a contraction, it stands for: “I had better”. But usually when we use: “I’d better”, we don’t usually use it with the word “had”; we usually use it in conversation with the contraction. And so, the way we pronounce that is: “I’d better”. So let’s look at some examples with this expression.

Okay, so I want you to imagine it’s going to rain later today. What’s a good idea? If it’s going to rain, a good idea is to bring an umbrella. So, we can use this expression to talk about this good idea. “I’d better bring an umbrella today because it’s going to rain.” Okay? If I don’t bring an umbrella, I’m going to get wet. So this is a good idea; and if I don’t do it, something bad is probably going to happen – I’ll get wet.

So let’s look at another example. “I’d better leave my house earlier because I don’t want to be late.” So maybe there’s a meeting or a job interview, and you’re thinking: “Oh, I need to get to work early”, or: “I need to get to this job interview early.” That’s a good idea. A good idea is to leave my house early. So, because we’re talking about a good idea, we say: “I’d better leave my house earlier than normal.” If I don’t leave my house early, maybe there will be problems getting to the interview; maybe I’ll be late. Okay? So we often use “I’d better” when we’re talking about a good idea; and if we don’t do this good idea, there can be a problem.

This is a very common thing you’ll hear people say: “It’s late”, okay? Meaning it’s late at night. You’re at somebody’s house: “It’s late. I’d better go.” Okay? So, I think this is actually probably the most common way we use this expression. You’ll see it all the time in movies; somebody often says: “It’s late. I’d better go.”

And then another example: “My friends are coming over.” Okay? So, what’s the good idea? Your friends are coming over. It’s usually good to buy some food, maybe some drinks, so: “I’d better buy some food.” Okay? So that’s a good idea. If I don’t buy food, my friends will be hungry.

I just wanted to point out one thing. You’ll notice after: “I’d better”, it’s the same in each sentence: “I’d better”, “I’d better”, “I’d better”, “I’d better”… What comes right after the word “I’d better”…? Or, sorry. The expression is the verb. So, in this case, we have the verb “buy”; in this case, we have the verb “go”; we have the verb “leave”; and we have the verb “bring”. […]


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