Grammar: How to Use HAD BETTER

We generally use HAD BETTER (NOT) + infinitive (without ‘to’)  to tell someone what they should or shouldn’t do, to give strong advice. It has more urgency than ‘should’.

The expression HAD BETTER refers to the present or the future. It does NOT refer to the past despite the ‘had’ and it isn’t a comparative either.

It simply means ‘it would be good to …’

I had better start cooking the dinner or we’re going to eat very late.

Had better
is often shortened: I’d better, you’d better, he’d better, she’d better, it’d better, we’d better, they’d better.

He‘d better arrive soon or he’ll miss the start of the film.

It‘d better not rain. I didn’t bring an umbrella.

You had better run or you’re going to miss your bus.

Your exam is in just a few days so you‘d better start studying.

It’s getting late. I‘d better go.

We often warn of the consequences if the advice is not taken.

You’d better phone your dad, or he’ll be worried.

It’s really late. The children had better go to bed or they’ll be really tired for school.

You‘d better not tell Sarah you had dinner with her ex-husband. It would upset her.

HAD BETTER is also used to express a strong hope or even a threat.

The train had better get here soon or I’m going to be late for work. (strong hope)

There had better be some orange juice in the fridge. I’m so thirsty! (strong hope)

They‘d better not show any more adverts or I’m going to turn off the TV! (threat)

“I’ll pay you back tomorrow.” – “You’d better!*” (threat)

NB. This is important!

For general situations that don’t refer to a particular time, we use ‘should‘ rather than ‘had better‘.

For healthy teeth and gums we should brush our teeth twice a day.

Students shouldn’t use their phones during the class.

You really shouldn’t smoke Bryan, it’s so bad for you.

We should do more to look after nature.

* = You’d better pay me back!

Future Tenses, Grammar Exercises

The Future Continuous: Explanation and Exercise

First of all, I just want to say that I feel that this is one of those grammar points that is often neglected in the classroom.

However, if you want to speak good English, you need to know the future continuous tense (or future progressive). This tense appears regularly in English. Therefore, it’s worth investing a wee bit of your time to learning how and when to use it.

Thankfully it’s pretty simple to construct – you don’t have to worry about conjugating it for each person. You are using ‘will be’ or ‘won’t be’ whether it’s first person singular, third person plural or whatever.

Subject + WILL + BE + verb-ING

Positive: I will be having lunch outside. / I‘ll be having lunch outside.

Negative: You will not be having lunch outside. / You won’t be having

Question: Will you be having lunch outside?

Scroll down to the bottom for a top study tip!

Grammar Explanation

1. We use the future continuous to express an action in progress at a certain time in the future. It is very often used with phrases like ‘this time tomorrow’ or ‘this time next week’

However, the actual time isn’t always expressed but it is implied.

This time tomorrow we’ll be flying to Japan.

I hope your operation goes well. I’ll be thinking of you.

2. Another use of the future continuous is to talk about things we believe could be happening now.

Don’t phone her right now. She’ll be having lunch.

“Where’s Josh?” – “I think I saw him in the conference room. He’ll be getting his presentation ready.”

3. It is also used as a more polite or indirect way to ask about plans.

Will you be joining us for dinner tomorrow?

(At a hotel) How will you be paying, sir?

Let’s practice, shall we?


Add the correct form of the future continuous and scroll down for the answers.

1. Have a great birthday. I’m sorry we can’t be there but we __________ of you. (think)

2. This time tomorrow George __________  his driving test. (take)

3. You can have the computer this afternoon if you like. I __________ it. (not / use)

4. The team’s plane _________  in Barcelona right about now. (land)

5. “What __________ this time next year, Lizzy?” (you / do)

– “I hope I __________ and __________ in Canada.” (live; work)

6. I wouldn’t ring Sean right now.  He __________  poker and you know how he hates to be interrupted. (play)

7. Karen has just called me. She __________ us for lunch tomorrow as she has to go to Milan. (not / join)

8. __________ your parents when you’re in Istanbul? (you / visit)

  2. 1.  ‘ll be thinking
  3. 2.  will be taking
  4. 3.  won’t be using
  5. 4.  will be landing
  6. 5.  will you be doing / ‘ll be living and working (there’s no need to repeat “I’ll be”)
  7. 6.  ‘ll be playing
  8. 7. won’t be joining
  9. 8. will you be visiting

    Study Tip

    I don’t recommend trying to memorise ‘formulas’ for tense structures, for instance – Subject + WILL + BE + verb-ING.

    Instead I prefer to memorise a useful short simple sentence which uses a structure, like the examples above. Then all you have to do is make little changes, such as the final verb in the case of the future continuous.

    In my experience as a language learner, the brain finds it much easier to remember an example sentence than the formula. This works especially well with tricky structures like the conditionals.
  10. There are heaps more free resources here on my website for learning or teaching English, so please have a look around! My content is mostly aimed at a B1 / B2 level of English.
  11. And if you would be so kind, tell a friend or colleague who is also learning English to check it out. It would be a huge help in growing this website. I would really appreciate it. My content is mostly aimed at a B1 / B2 level of English.
  12. More Grammar Exercises


Verb Patterns (3): Gerund or Infinitive?

Add the gerund or infinitive form (with or without “to”) of the verb in brackets. Scroll down for the answers

  1.  “I don’t feel like _______ (cook) for so many people. How about _______ (order) some pizzas?”
  2. Glen really enjoys _______ (read) books by Stephen King.
  3. We arranged _______ (meet) my cousins at the entrance to the amusement park.
  4. At work Sonia agreed _______ (take) a pay cut. However, she refused _______ (work) longer hours.
  5. I’m not sure it’s worth _______ (go) to the party now. It’s probably almost over.
  6. Julian spends all his time _______ (study) these days.
  7. When he graduates Damian would like _______ (work) for a national newspaper.
  8. Pamela can’t stand people _______ (wear) fur coats.
  9. Before _______ (become) a rock star, Sting used _______ (be) a teacher.
  10. The book was so funny it made me _______ (laugh) out loud.
  11. They were so busy _______ (look at) the cute dog that they didn’t notice the bus had arrived.
  12. _______ (Study) languages online is become more and more popular.

Verb Patterns (1): Gerund or Infinitive? 

Verb Patterns (2): Gerund or Infinitive? (Special cases: Forget / Remember / Stop / Need)

Verb Patterns (4): Gerund or Infinitive?

Verb Patterns (5): Verb + Object + Infinitive

  1. cooking, ordering
  2. reading
  3. to meet
  4. to take, to work
  5. going
  6. studying
  7. to work
  8. wearing
  9. becoming, to be
  10. laugh (no ‘to’)
  11. looking at
  12. Studying