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Welcome to your free Had better / It’s time lesson! In this topic we talk about:

• When do we use Had better / It’s time? 

Had better / Should. 

It’s time. 

When do we use Had better / It’s time?

HAD BETTER means “it is advisable to do it”. (If I don’t do it, it will have a negative result):

I have to meet him in ten minutes, I’d better go now or I’ll be late.

I had better take an umbrella, looks like rain.

I’d better stop eating or I’ll be sick.

The negative form is HAD BETTER NOT:

I’d better not go out tonight, I have work in the morning.

You’d better not do that, you’ll regret it.

HAD is normally past, but the meaning of HAD BETTER is present or future.

I’d better go to the shop tomorrow.

Had better / Should

HAD BETTER is similar to SHOULD, but not exactly the same. We use HAD BETTER only for specific situations. SHOULD can be used for all situations where you give an opinion or give advice.

It’s getting late, I had better go.

Your back hurts, you had better go and see the doctor.

Also with HAD BETTER, there is always a danger or a problem if you don’t follow the advice. SHOULD only means that it is a good thing to do. Compare these sentences:

It’s a great film, you should go and see it.

The film starts in thirty minutes, we‘d better go or we’ll be late.

It’s time

You can say “It’s time for you to … “:

It’s time for us to go.

You can also say:

It’s late. It’s time we went home.

Here we used WENT, but the meaning is present, not past.

It’s 10am and she still isn’t awake. It’s time she got up.

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

It’s time the kids were in bed, it’s long after their bedtime.

You’re very lazy, it’s time you stopped acting like that.

You can also say “it’s about time”. This makes the criticism stronger:

You’re a great listener, but it’s about time you participated in the conversation.