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Hi, all.

I have been avoiding to use the expression of 'you had better' since I was told that it might sound rude. I want to know about it more.

For example, can I use it in the first-person? How defferent are the following three:

I need go right now.

I should go right now.

I had better go right now.

And, how about the third-person? For example, if I talk like the following, might it sound rude for hearer?

She had better stop doing such a thing.

Thank you in advance.
Comments  
Hi Japan,

I don't think there is any need to avoid had better, any more than you should avoid can for requests. Both can be considered abrupt if they are not uttered to familiars or in appropriate situations. For first person, of course, it is fine. I need to go suggests an external necessity, where should and had better suggest a stricture of some sort; nevertheless, they are often essentially synonymous in use.

I had better finish my post now.
Thank you for your reply.

As you can imagine, we non-native-speaker might be rude to others without realizing it. And the advises like you gave me is very important for us to keep ourselves polite.
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Difficult is the life of a non-native-speaker! I never suspected that "you'd better" could be rude when addressed to a stranger. And what should I say instead? For example, I said in a post to Antonia : "I am not too sure of my answer, I think you'd better wait until wiser people have spoken." I certainly didn't mean it to be impolite! What should I have said?
Hi, May L.

Thank you for your comment.

In Japan, we are recommended to use 'should' intead of 'had better.'

In your case, I would say like this:

"I think you should wait until wiser people have spoken."

By the way, do you mind if I quoto your reply to web site for English study in Japan?

regards,
Don't fret, May. Your use of had better was fine. The phrase is usually fine-- as is can. It is just that in limited situations-- particularly when making recommendations to higher-status individuals, like your boss or George W. Bush-- it is a bit too forthright to say, for instance, 'George, you had better sign the Kyoto Protocol'. Be more polite: 'Mr. Bush, perhaps if you were to reconsider your decision, you might...'.

Oh, heck! That wouldn't work either, would it?

Interestingly, the negative is a bit more abrupt than the affirmative, and is often used as a warning from high status to low status interlocutors:

You'd better not forget to wash the car.
You'd better not sit around and watch television all day.
You'd better not let me catch you riding that bicycle in the street.
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Thank you ever so much, MrM!

That wouldn't work either, would it? I’m afraid it wouldn’t. But at least I would have impressed Mr Bush with my excellent manners!

Hi, Mr Japan!

do you mind if I quoto your reply to web site for English study in ?

I don’t mind at all. You are welcome!

May.
Thank you ever so much, MrM!

That wouldn't work either, would it? I’m afraid it wouldn’t. But at least I would have impressed Mr Bush with my excellent manners!

Hi, Mr Japan!

do you mind if I quoto your reply to web site for English study in Japan?

I don’t mind at all. You are welcome!

May.