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Hello guys

I often come across online a phrase "This better be good". Sounds like people use it in various meanings. What sense does it have in what context? And, is it an ellipsis of any grammatical sentence?

paco
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Hello Paco

I take it for an ellipsis of "this had better be good", i.e. "I expect great things from this".

I think the "had" has slowly worn away into a wafer-thin "d" and then slipped down the gullet of the speaker.

MrP
MrPedanticI take it for an ellipsis of "this had better be good", i.e. "I expect great things from this".
I think the "had" has slowly worn away into a wafer-thin "d" and then slipped down the gullet of the speaker.
Hello MrP

Thank you for the quick answer.

Now I see the original form of the phrase. It seems to be ellided like:
"He had better go home" --> "He'd better go home" --> "He better go home".

But what does the phrase "This had better be good" mean exactly?
I feel people often use it to show their unpleasant feeling. Am I right?

paco
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Usually the context would be something like this: you have forgotten something important, arrived very late for an appointment,or have failed in some job you were supposed to do. As you prepare to offer your explanation/excuse/apology, your wife/boss/co-worker says, "This (had) better be good!" meaning "You had better have a really, really good excuse this time, because I'm out of patience and you're in big trouble!"

Another possible context - you have persuaded your wife to go to a sporting event, a movie or something else that she really isn't interested in. As it begins, she says "this had better be good" - meaning "if I don't like it, you're going to get all the blame for a ruined evening!"
Thank you, Khoff. So the phrase seems to be used in contexts the speaker wants to show their angry towards their collocutor. Right? If it is so, the real meanings seem very far from the literal interpretation "I expect great things from this". I am wondering if it is an expression connoting some malicious irony.

paco
Yes, I think it's almost a veiled threat -- "This better be good, or else!" ("Or else you're in trouble!")

Another possible context - I buy a lot of very expensive ingredients and spend all day in the kitchen cooking a new dish. As I serve it, I say "This better be good!" with the implication being "It was a lot of work and expense - I hope it wasn't all wasted!"
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Thank you again, Khoff. This new context seems a bit different from the previous ones. But I feel it is also a situation leading the speaker to vexation. Anyway I find it a bit tough to find Japanese phrases suitable as the translation of "This better be good".

paco
Paco,
Yes, it is a bit different, but not all that different. It's almost as if the frustration and threat is directed at the special dish itself, rather than at a person. "This better be good, you expensive and time-consuming little recipe, or else I'm never going to make you again!".
CJ
Yes, exactly!
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