Грамматика

Had better / It’s time

Мы используем had better для обозначения настоящего или будущего, говоря о действиях, которые, по нашему мнению, должны совершать люди или которые желательны в конкретной ситуации. Глагольная форма всегда «had», а не «have». Обычно мы сокращаем его до «I’d better» в неформальных ситуациях. За ним следует инфинитив без to:
 

A. Had better (I’d better / you’d better etc.)

I’d better do something = it is advisable to do it. If I don’t, there will be a problem or a danger:

  • I have to meet Ann in ten minutes. I’d better go now or I’ll be late.
  • ‘Shall I take an umbrella?’ ‘Yes, you’d better. It might rain.’
  • We’d better stop for petrol soon. The tank is almost empty.

 

The negative is I’d better not (= I had better not):

 

  • A: Are you going out tonight?
  • B: I’d better not. I’ve got a lot of work to do.
  • You don’t look very well. You’d better not go to work today.

 

You can use had better when you warn somebody that they must do something:

 

  • You’d better be on time. / You’d better not be late. (or I’ll be very angry)

 

Note that:
The form is ‘had better (usually ‘I’d better / you’d better‘ etc. in spoken English):

 

  • I’d better phone Carol, hadn’t I?

 

Had is a past form, but in this expression the meaning is present or future, not past:

 

  • I’d better go to the bank now/tomorrow.

 

We say ‘I’d better do…’ [not ‘to do’):

 

  • It might rain. We’d better take an umbrella, (not ‘we’d better to take’)

 

B. Had better and should

Had better is similar to should but not exactly the same.

 

We use had better only for a particular situation (not for things in general).

 

You can use should in all types of situation to give an opinion or to give advice:

 

  • It’s cold today. You’d better wear a coat when you go out. (a particular situation)
  • I think all drivers should wear seat belts, (in general — not ‘had better wear’)

 

Also, with had better, there is always a danger or a problem if you don’t follow the advice.

 

Should only means ‘it is a good thing to do’. Compare:

  • It’s a great film. You should go and see it. (but no danger, no problem if you don’t)
  • The film starts at 8.30. You’d better go now or you’ll be late.

 

C. It’s time…

You can say ‘It’s time (for somebody) to do something’:

 

  • It’s time to go home. / It’s time for us to go home.

 

You can also say:

 

  • It’s late. It’s time we went home.

 

Here we use the past (went) but the meaning is present or future, not past:

 

  • It’s 10 o’clock and he’s still in bed. It’s time he got up. (not ‘It’s time he gets up’)

 

It’s time you did something = ‘you should have done it already or started it’. We often use this structure to criticise or to complain:

 

  • It’s time the children were in bed. It’s long after their bedtime.
  • The windows are very dirty. I think it’s time we cleaned them.

 

You can also say: It’s about time… / It’s high time… . This makes the criticism stronger:

 

  • Jack is a great talker. But it’s about time he did something instead of just talking.
  • You’re very selfish. It’s high time you realised that you’re not the most important person in the world.

 

EXERCISES

1 Complete the sentences. Sometimes you need only one word, sometimes two.

1  a I need some money. I’d better ..go…. to the bank.
b John is expecting you to phone him. You ……………………….. better do it now.
c ‘Shall I leave the window open?’   ‘No, you’d better ……………………….. it.’
d We’d better leave as soon as possible,……………………….. we?

2  a It’s time the government……………………….. something about the problem.
b It’s time something ……………………….. about the problem.
c I think it’s about time you …………………… about me instead of only thinking about yourself.


2 Read the situations and write sentences with had better. Use the words in brackets.

1 You’re going out for a walk with Tom. It might rain. You say to Tom:
(an umbrella) …We’d better take an umbrella…..

2 Jack has just cut himself. It’s quite a bad cut. You say to him:
(a plaster) …………………………………………………………………………………………………….

3 You and Ann plan to go to a restaurant this evening. It’s a very popular restaurant. You say to Ann: (reserve) We ………………………………………………………………………………………………

4 Jill doesn’t look very well — not well enough to go to work. You say to her: (work) …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

5 You received your phone bill four weeks ago but you haven’t paid it yet. If you don’t pay very soon, you could be in trouble. You say to yourself: (pay)……………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………………

6 You want to go out but you’re expecting an important phone call. You say to your friend: (go out) I …………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

7 You and Fiona are going to the theatre. You’ve missed the bus and you don’t want to be late. You say to Fiona: (a taxi) …………………………………………………………………………………………

 

3 Put in had better or should. Sometimes either is possible.

  1. I have an appointment in ten minutes. I’d better go now or I’ll be late.
  2. It’s a great film. You … should… go and see it. You’ll really like it.
  3. I………………………………… get up early tomorrow. I’ve got a lot to do.
  4. When people are driving, they ………………………………… keep their eyes on the road.
  5. Thank you for coming to see us. You ………………………………… come more often.
  6. She’ll be upset if we don’t invite her to the wedding, so we ………………………………… invite her.
  7. These biscuits are delicious. You ………………………………… try one.
  8. I think everybody ………………………………… learn a foreign language.


4 Read the situations and write sentences with It’s time (somebody did something).

  1. You think the children should be in bed. It’s already 11 o’clock. . It’s time the children were  in bed.
  2. You haven’t had a holiday for a very long time. You need one now. It’s time I………………….. ……………………………………………………………………………………………
  3. 3 You’re waiting for Mary. She is late. Why isn’t she here yet? It’s time she …………………………. …………………………………………………………………………….
  4. You’re sitting on a train waiting for it to leave the station. It’s already five minutes late…………….. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
  5. You enjoy having parties. You haven’t had one for a long time…………………………………………….
  6. The company you work for is badly run. You think there should be some changes……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….