“Had better” / “it’s time”

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Welcome to your “Had better” / “It’s time” lesson! In this topic we talk about:
• When do we use “Had better” / “It’s time”?
“Had better” and “Should”
“It’s time”
Take the quizzes when you’re ready! If you’re having problems, use the comment box to contact our English Teachers.

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

“I’d better do something” 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 “I’d 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” and “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.”

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