I recently learnt some ways to advise someone to do something. I have a question.

If you want to get better grades...

  • you should study at least thirty minutes a day at home.
  • you might as well study at least thirty minutes a day at home.
  • you could do worse than study at least thirty minutes a day at home.

I think they basically mean the same. Is there any difference in things like formality and strength?

  • Please edit the question and tell us what you already know about "might as well" and "could do worse", and what basic searching you've done to learn what they mean and what that turned up.
    – gotube
    Nov 27, 2022 at 4:35
  • All I know about "should," "might as well," and "could do worse than" is that you use them when you advise someone to do something. I couldn't find the difference. That is why I am asking the question here. I have no idea why you keep telling me to tell you what I already know. I don't know more, and that's why I am asking. If I knew more, I would have said it.
    – kuwabara
    Nov 27, 2022 at 5:12
  • On this site, we expect people asking questions to make some minimal effort to find the answer online before asking it. In this case, I asked because searching for "What does 'might as well' mean" gives a bunch of high-quality authoritative links which tell you that the function isn't "giving advice". If I have made comments like this on other questions of yours, it's probably because they also didn't show that you had made the minimum effort to find the answer online.
    – gotube
    Nov 27, 2022 at 19:17

1 Answer 1


should implies that the suggestion is the correct or best option. It can also be used to offer (what the speaker believes is good) advice.

you might as well implies that it wouldn't make much difference whether you do or not, but there are no better alternatives. This idiom is often used to suggest that something that is obviously ineffective, to indicate that what you are currently doing is equally ineffective.

you could do worse than implies that the suggestion might be beneficial, though it's not guaranteed.

  • So, it is wrong to say "you might as well study harder" if it is really necessary, is it? You use might as well when someone is doing something pointless, like "You might as well go to bed than play video games." Do I understand correctly?
    – kuwabara
    Nov 27, 2022 at 5:17
  • 1
    You could say. "You have no chance of passing the test. You might as well play video games every night as study for 30 minutes every night. You will fail if you play video games, but you will also fail if you study." Playing video games is pointless, and studying for 30 minutes is as pointless as playing games.
    – James K
    Nov 27, 2022 at 7:22
  • @kuwabara perhaps pointless is the wrong word: I have edited my answer to use ineffective (in achieving an objective) instead. Let's say John is bound to fail an exam: a week before the exam, John realises this and he tells a classmate that he is going to study for 30 minutes every day. The classmate says "you might as well play video games instead". Playing video games is definitely not going to help John to pass, and the classmate is saying that studying will be equally ineffective as playing video games, because John will fail anyway.
    – JavaLatte
    Nov 27, 2022 at 7:42

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