You'd better get used to it vs. 'You better get used to it'

Hi, is there is any difference between these two phrases:

You’d better get used to it.
You better get used to it.

Thanks in advance,


TOEIC listening, talks: Giving instructions on time cards[YSaerTTEW443543]

Yes! And a big one, though not in meaning, I think. The difference is that the first one is good English and the second is not. To my knowledge, at least :slight_smile: !

Well, I took that sentence (the second one) from Dan Brown’s book Angels&Demons.[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEIC listening, talks: Informing city residents about an Independence Day parade[YSaerTTEW443543]

According to Google, many more people use the second one! Still I’d be surprised if it was accepted English.

Hi Torsten

The difference is:

You better get used to it. --> That’s what everybody except English teachers actually says. :lol:

[size=75](At least in the US)[/size]

Just a quick little story:
When I was a kid, if my father went to the trouble of saying “You had better do it!” then I knew he was super serious and I was in BIG trouble. :shock:


That’s why I think that you can learn grammar from a teacher, but if you want to learn the langugage, you better ask someone else :slight_smile:
(Not the best way of making friends in a site full of teachers,is it?)

Dear friends,

My name is Gonçalo, I’m an English teacher at Lisbon, Portugal, and I’ve attained the University of Cambridge’s CPE exam in 1998. Two days ago I applied for a Summer job and I had my English skills assessed through a multiple choice test. In one of the items there were two options with the following sentences:
“You’d better do that again, hadn’t you?”
"You’d better do that again, wouldn’t you?’

Altough I knew the contraction “you’d” meant “you had”, I was so confused that I ended up chosing the wrong option.
What I’d like to know is whether this sentence “You’d better do that again, hadn’t you?” makes any sense at all, since this expression is most commonly used to make recommendations or to warn someone. Why is the negative form “had you not” employed?

My best regards,

I have read that we should use “Had better”.
Eg: You had better finish it today.

But, I have been seeing - “You better finish it today” - even in the sub titles of English moveis which are shown on Star Movies / HBO (in India.)

Had better is an idiomatic verb phrase meaning “ought to, must.” It resembles an auxiliary verb in that its form never changes to show person or tense and that it can’t follow another verb in a phrase (that is, you can’t say He will had better leave, for example).

When speaking, people have a tendency to leave out had: You better clean up your room! But in writing, you had better keep had, either in full or as a contraction: You had better not do that or You’d better not do that.

The American Heritage® Book of English Usage.

Hello Gonçalo,

The answer to your question is that “hadn’t you” is simply a tag question, and it is also the most commonly used format for a tag question (i.e main sentence affirmative, tag negative – or vice versa). “You had better do that again, hadn’t you?”

  • He has already finished the report, hasn’t he?
  • The answer to that question didn’t make much sense, did it?
  • He thinks he’s better than everyone else, doesn’t he?

However, tag questions are used for a number of different reasons. Not all tag questions are actually intended to be understood as real questions.

If the [color=darkblue]intonation rises at the end of a tag question such as “hadn’t you”, then the tag is in essence a real question. In such a case, the speaker is basically using the tag question to say “I think what I just said might be correct, but I’m really not sure. Is what I said right? Or is it wrong?”

On the other hand, if the [color=darkblue]intonation falls at the end of a tag question such as “hadn’t you”, then the meaning is more like this: “I am confident that what I just said is right, and I expect/want you to agree.” So, rather than asking whether or not the person can confirm the previous statement, a tag question with falling intonation basically asks for or even demands agreement.

I’d say that “You had better do that again, hadn’t you?” is not a sentence you’re likely to hear on a regular basis, however I would by no means rule the use of this sentence out. I would also expect the tag to have falling intonation in this case. The speaker is making a strong recommendation, and a tag question with falling intonation would basically tell the listener: “I want/expect you to agree to follow the advice I’ve just given you.”


By the way, in my three example sentences, I would expect the tag in the first one to use rising intonation. However, it could also be used with falling intonation. It would depend entirely on what meaning the speaker wants to convey.
I would expect the tags in the second and third examples to use falling intonation.

[size=84]“New opinions often appear first as jokes and fancies, then as blasphemies and treason, then as questions open to discussion, and finally as established truths.” ~ George Bernard Shaw[/size]

  1. You’d better get used to it
    The meaning is you SHOULD get used to it. The speaker wants to suggest that you get used to doing something.

  2. You better get used to it

The function of better here is to intensify the verb (get used to). Compare the following sentences:

You BETTER get used to it.
You ALWAYS get used to it.

Once again (in my opinion), the function of BETTER is just only to modify the verb. BETTER is the comparative form of WELL (functioning as an adverb).

Warm regards,
Cahayatek from Indonesia

Hello, Esl!

Thank you for your time!
Ok, I see what you mean! The thing is that I’d never heard this “hadn’t you?” before when using “you’d better…”
And I’ve listened to lots of spoken English and read a lot of stuff so far, especially on the web!
I understand that this “hadn’t you?” means “ok?” but… I don’t know, it didn’t sound neat at all!

Well, so much for my Summer job! :roll:
Many thanx once again! :lol:

Best wishes

To me the first one seems to be a suggestion meaning that there is no escpae. The second one seems to be an order. So there are tangible differences between the two expressions.

Milanya has the correct technical answer. This should be read in conjunction with Esl Expert’s response to get the full picture. However, in the UK at least, you can no longer rely on intonation to enhance meaning: for the last 20 years or so we have been inundated with Australian soap operas and, as a result, many younger people have rising intonation at the end of practically every sentence - tiresome!

Nanucbe and Cahayatek’s answers are uninformed guesses and incorrect.

The sarcastic comments about not learning language from teachers is fine if you are happy with slang. There is a large number of expressions in common use which could be acceptable in the US, for example, which we would simply regard as slang, but how else does a language evolve? New words or phrases often vary in meaning between different groups as the usage spreads. It’s not until they are in general usage with a commonly agreed meaning that they can truly be considered to be part of the language.

For questions of this nature a good starting point is Sir Ernest Gowers “Complete Plain Words”. It’s a bit dated now but there are modern revisions. It was an excellent reference in its time, essentially written for civil servants to ensure the correct use of English in official documents - and is often available second-hand.