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I had better - I would rather
Let's come back to two idioms which are frequently problematic...I'd better et I'd rather.
➡️ 1) I'D BETTER// YOU'D BETTER // he/ she/ it'D BETTER// we'D BETTER// they'D BETTER:
'You would be better off doing this': this expression is a warning (sometimes implying a threat).
It's used to give advice and orders, including to the person who's speaking (and to oneself!)
The full expression is I HAD BETTER; the form is that of a past, yet, the meaning is in the present or future.
The expression must be followed by an INFINITIVE WITHOUT TO: (verb base)
- Come on Peter! You'd better get up now, or you'll miss your train.
* Used in the negative form, you must take a careful look at the word order ! You'd better NOT do.
- She'd better not cheat during the test. If she does, she'll be punished.
➡️ 2) I ' D RATHER... / You'D RATHER... :he/ she/ it/ we/ they'D RATHER:
a) I'd rather/ he's rather = I would prefer... expresses a choice, a preference.
The full expression is I WOULD rather + infinitive without TO.
The auxiliary WOULD has, of course, consequences when you want to form a question tag:
- I'm sure you'd rather drink soda than milk, just now, wouldn't you?
- Would you rather play games or watch TV? I'd rather have a rest doing nothing.
Notice that if the choice is given between several things or possibilities, 'than' is then used. (It's a former comparative form.)
b) I'D RATHER + different subject + verb in the modal preterite; this preterite indicates that the action isn't real:
it's simply a choice, a preference and is often a warning, or even a threat to the subject of the verb.
- Please, don't go out tonight! To be frank, I'd rather you didn't go out at all.
Therefore, be careful! Do not use one form for the other, and think of the auxiliary if you must have a question tag!
Quite easy, isn't it? Go for the test!
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