What are the differences between these four sorts of constructs in a sentence, please?

You are better ...
you had better ...
You better ...
It's better [that] you ....

closed as too broad by FumbleFingers, Nathan Tuggy, J.R. Jan 11 '18 at 19:22

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 3
    You had done better to include complete sentences. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 11 '18 at 18:35
  • I liked to make it an option for the responder. – Abbasi Jan 11 '18 at 18:39
  • 1
    This is far too broad. Besides which not all native speakers will agree on "acceptable" usages in this area. Personally, I don't find @Tᴚoɯɐuo's comment syntactically acceptable, upvotes notwithstanding. – FumbleFingers Jan 11 '18 at 19:13
  • As @Tᴚoɯɐuo suggests, you are better off providing details, as opposed to options, as is discussed at length in this meta post. – J.R. Jan 11 '18 at 19:26
  • FumbleFingers: It's seen its heyday, true, but it's not without contemporary attestations. (ignore the non-attestations) google.com/… – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 11 '18 at 19:52

You are better: A comparison phrase -- You are better at golf than I am.

You had better: This is a colloquial phrase meaning "you should" or "you must" or "I demand that you" (do something).

You better: Same as above, with a little less colloquial flavor. Used in common phrases like "You better believe it!" and "You better not!" (Don't do that!)

It's better [that] you: A more standard way of suggesting or demanding that you do something. A more perfect wording would be conditional: "It would be better if you (did this thing that I want)."

  • 1
    You better believe it is: you (had) better believe it. It's shortened in colloquial form. – Lambie Jan 11 '18 at 20:20
  • 1
    It's better that you ... isn't really a demand but I agree that it's a suggestion. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 11 '18 at 20:27
  • One of the reasons I called it colloquial in the long form too is because I can't find a grammatical reason for using "had" when it's not a past perfect tense -- it's kind of a verbal pun almost -- you're referring to a future action and using a (form of) past tense. – user8356 Jan 11 '18 at 21:40
  • It is a form of irrealis, broadly construed, an urging or admonition, not a declaration of something you actually did. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 11 '18 at 23:36

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.