I'd like to form this sentence:

For the sake of learning more, one had better seem to not know much than to know everything

However, I am not fully sure if I can use "than" with "had better" phrases; I want to express that this advice is better than another option, just as we can use for preferences rather... than

I would rather do this than do that

  • I can't make sense of your example sentence. Do you mean "For the sake of learning more, one had better seem to not know what he knows"?, and if so, how does this pertain to your question?
    – Born2Smile
    Feb 7, 2016 at 1:22
  • I think "what " is better instead of "than " in your example
    – V.V.
    Feb 7, 2016 at 6:27
  • okay I will try to make it more clear by differentiating two sentences more "for the sake of learning, one had better seem not to know much than to know everything" is THAN correct here? I think it is not too complicated what I am asking...
    – Ceyhun Özsoylu
    Feb 7, 2016 at 13:11
  • Your example sentence sounds unnecessarily complicated. Do you HAVE to use "had better"? Feb 7, 2016 at 13:29
  • look, I dont see your point for complicacy here, I go by grammar here, there is no information on had better use with than to emphasize the suggestion to be superior than the second one. "you had better seem ignorant than seem to know all" I think what I try to express perfectly makes sense if "than" is appropriate.. or should I say " you had better seem ignorant "rather than seem to know all /instead that you seem to know all"
    – Ceyhun Özsoylu
    Feb 7, 2016 at 13:44

1 Answer 1


I have never heard anybody use "You had better do A than B" but I think that's because "had better" is normally used to threaten somebody with harm if they don't do what you want. Here are some examples. "You had better get out of my way." "You had better pay me by Friday." So I don't think you should use it. I think you should use "It would be better to do A rather than B."

  • I agree. It is more common to express the idea that one option is preferable to another through a wording such as "You'd [that is, You would] be better off doing X than doing Y," or "It makes more sense to do X than to do Y," or "I would do X rather than Y if I were you."
    – Sven Yargs
    Feb 9, 2016 at 3:51

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .