Question on using the word 'better'

I would like to know which of the following statements is correct

First one: She better learns it

Second one: She better learn it.

Pls let me know which one is correct.

Thank you so much,

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Hello, Karthik Emotion: smile

If what you mean by those sentences is to give someone firm advice, then the correct form is:
"She'd better (=had better) learn it."

In meaning, the expression is similar to "should" and "ought to", and it's very common in conversation.
I've heard some people omit 'had' in sentences like that. I assume but I'm not sure that it's a more informal way of saying the same thing (that would be your second sentence).
THanks for your reply Miriam.

I understand your point.

But my intent is just to know if at all there are 2 sentences like I had given, which one will be better on an average basis? I understand that both of them may not be used in real life scenario. Thanks for your help
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As Miriam noted, in casual speech people sometimes truncate "had better" to simply "better". For example:

She better learn it.
You better believe it!
They better not even try to fool me.
Tell him he better leave me alone, or else.

The above usage is not correct English, but it is fairly common. Even the British slip up on this, as evidenced by the song "You Better, You Bet" by The Who: "If I say I love you, you say, 'You better!'"

But even the sloppiest of speakers, British or American, would not say the following:

She better learns it.

The reason is that "had better" is a modal verb (other modal verbs include will, would, can, could, may, might and should). A fundamental rule of English is that modal verbs are always followed by an infinitive form of the main verb (the main verb in your example is "learn"). This rule is followed by English speakers even when "had better" is (incorrectly) shortened to "better".

This is the first time I've heard "had better" called a modal verb. Can you tell me what author includes the expression within the category of "modals"?


Taiwandave is right, "had better" is a modal:


a) for recommendation

People should unplug toasters before they clean them.

You should have unplugged the toaster before you tried to clean it.

3. You had better unplug the toaster before you try to clean it.

b) for desperate hope/ warning

The movie had better end soon.
They had better be here before we start dinner.
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Thanks, Pem Emotion: smile
I know "had better" is used informally to mean "should" and/or "ought to". What I find surprising is that it is called a modal verb. I've read a zillion grammar books in my life but never came across such a classification. Can you tell me what authors consider the expression a modal verb?
I was a bit confused myself in the beginning becuase I thought that modals were just
can, could; may, might; will, would; must; shall, should.

These verbs are the "classical" modals, but every verb that expresses/describes the modus of a full verb is a modal verb:

I may go e.g. means I have the allowance to go (not: I do go, which would be indicative)
I must leave means I have to leave (not: I do leave)
-> here you can see that "can" and "must" express the mode of the full verbs go, and leave.

The same is still true for the substitutes of the classic modals:
"to have to" for must: I have to leave
"to be allowed to" for may: I'm allowed to go
-> These substitutes are still modals as they also express the modal character of a (full) verb.

Also "had better" expresses a modus of special full verb:
I had better go means the same as I should go (not: I do go).

All these verbs are also called "modal auxiliaries", which is a much better term:
The special modus, the full verbs are in (can go = having the ability to go; must go: having the necessity to go, etc.) is NOT expressed by an inflection of the particular verb itself (as it is done in indicative [he goes] and subjunctive mode [he were]), there is no extra paradigm for these modes, so helping verbs are necessary to express these special forms.

It's a bit difficult to explain this, but I hope I could do it properly Emotion: smile
Btw, Miriam,

I don't think I've seen "had better" being called a modal in one of my Grammar books either - but the reason might be that it's used informally and usually replaced by should/ought to.

If that is the reason though, it is a mistake in my opinion that it isn't at least mentioned in grammars. I will check my grammar books later on to see how "had better" is treated there.
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