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Should / Had Better

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Should is a modal verb that has more than one meaning. The obvious meaning is that we use to give advice (eg. You should quit smoking), but it could also mean that you expect something to happen in the future

eg. John called and told me he's on his way. He should be here soon.

The past tense of should is should have + past participle.

Had better is similar, but it's used for more urgent advice with bad consequences if you don't follow it (eg. You had better quit smoking or you'll die).

Lesson by Sebastian, teacher at EC Cape Town English School

Now decide which form is needed in these 8 sentences:

  • 1. You ___ not be late again or you’ll lose your job.




  • 2. You ___ start waking up earlier.




  • 3. Why are you so late?! You ___ arrived sooner.




  • 4. John is late again, he ___ gotten here 30 minutes ago.




  • 5. The movie’s going to start soon, we ___ leave soon or we’ll miss it.




  • 6. I saw a really great action movie last night, you ___ see it.




  • 7. I studied hard for the test this week, I ___ be able to pass it.




  • 8. Dad said he'd punish you he caught you drunk again. You ___ not do it again.