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WOULD RATHER / IT’S (HIGH) TIME / HAD BETTER


WOULD RATHER

Would rather is used to express a preference in English. Would rather is the same in meaning as
would prefer. These two phrases are used interchangeably to express a preference when making a
choice. Here are some examples of short conversations that use would rather to either state or ask
for a preference.


Example Dialogue
        John: Let's go out tonight.
        Mary: That's a good idea.
        John: How about going to a film? There's a new film out with Tom Hanks.
        Mary: I'd rather go out for dinner. I'm hungry!
        Sue: I'm not sure which topic to choose for my essay.
        Debby: Well, what are your choices?
        Sue: I can write about the economy or about a book.
        Debby: Which would you rather write about?
Would Rather - Structure
The form would rather is a little strange because 'rather' is not a verb but is part of an expression
that means 'would prefer to'. 'Rather' is usually immediately followed by a verb in base form (verb
without 'to'). It's common to use would rather in the shortened 'd rather form in positive
statements. All subjects take 'would rather'. Would rather can be used to refer to the present
moment or a future moment in time.
Positive
Subject + would rather ('d rather) + base form of verb
Peter'd rather spend time on the beach.
I would rather learn a new language than study math.
Question
Would + subject + rather + base form of verb
Would you rather stay at home?
Would they rather do homework tomorrow morning?
Would Rather - Than
Would rather is often used with 'than' with two verbs or objects when making a choice between
two specific actions.
Would you rather work for Tom than for Mary?
She would rather play tennis than go horseback riding.
Would Rather - For Other People
Would rather is also used to express what one person prefers another person to do. The structure
is unusual because it takes the past for the preferred action. Here are some examples:
        Tom would rather Mary bought a SUV.
        Would you rather she stayed here with us?
Positive
Subject + would rather ('d rather) + object + past tense
        I would rather my son worked in finance.
        Susan would rather Peter took a plane.
Question
Would + subject + rather + object + past tense
        Would she rather her sister flew home tomorrow?
        Would you rather he came with us to the meeting?
Positive
Subject + would rather ('d rather) + object + negative past tense
           I'd rather she didn't come with us today.
           Tim would rather Peter didn't join the company.


IT’S (HIGH TIME
        It's (high) time you left. You will miss the bus.
This sentence refers to present time and it implies that perhaps it is already too late. We can
use this structure in the past tense too, however, the unreal tense in the second clause will not
change.
        It was time I left.
Compare with this structure:
        It's time (for me) to go.
This sentence implies that the speaker is still in time.


HAD BETTER
We use “had better” plus the infinitive without “to” to give advice. Although “had” is the past form
of “have”, we use “had better” to give advice about the present or future.

    You'd better tell her everything.
I'd better get back to work.
    We'd better meet early.

The negative form is “had better not”.

    You'd better not say anything.
    I'd better not come.
    We'd better not miss the start of his presentation.

We use “had better” to give advice about specific situations, not general ones. If you want to talk
about general situations, you must use “should”.

   You should brush your teeth before you go to bed.
   I shouldn't listen to negative people.
   He should dress more appropriately for the office.

When we give advice about specific situations, it is also possible to use “should”.

    You shouldn't say anything.
    I should get back to work.
    We should meet early.

However, when we use “had better” there is a suggestion that if the advice is not followed, that
something bad will happen.

    You'd better do what I say or else you will get into trouble.
    I'd better get back to work or my boss will be angry with me.
    We'd better get to the airport by five or else we may miss the flight.

EXERCISES
Look at the following situations and show preference by using the structure ‘I would (I'd)
rather’.
1. Your friend wants to borrow your best sweater. You don't want her to.
   I'd rather you didn't borrow my sweater.
2. You were planning to play tennis, but it's raining.
   _____________________________________________________________________________
3. Both Jill and Tom have invited you to their parties on Saturday night. You want to go to Jill's
party.
   ____________________________________________________________________________
4. You can have take-away Chinese food or go to an Italian restaurant.
   ______________________________________________________________________________
5. You are planning a big party but don't want to have it at your house.
      ______________________________________________________________________________
6. Your fiancé bought you a diamond ring. It was far too expensive.
      ______________________________________________________________________________


 EXERCISE 2
 Look at the situations given and write sentences using ‘had better’.
 1.    Mary has been out in the sun. She looks terrible. You think she needs a drink of water.
       You tell her: “You had better have.a.drink.of water,"
 2.    You want to speak English better. It requires a lot of practice.
       Your teacher tells you: _________________________________________________
 3.    Your friend has no insurance to drive your car. He wants to take your car anyway.
       You tell him: _________________________________________________________
 4.    John has a nasty cut on his hand. It looks like it is infected.
       You advise him: _______________________________________________________
 5.    You are at a party. The last bus goes at 12.30 a.m. It's now 12.15 a.m.
       You say to your friend: _________________________________________________


 EXERCISE 3
 Look at the situations given and write sentences using the expressions ‘it's time or it's high time’.
 1.    You've been watching TV since you got home from school and you still have to tidy your
       room.
       It's time you tidied your room.
 2.    You haven't phoned Grandma for over a month.
       ____________________________________________________________________________
 3.    The play finished 15 minutes ago. The actors are still standing on the stage.
       ____________________________________________________________________________
 4.    You've been working late for ten days. You are very tired. Your friend says,
       ____________________________________________________________________________
 5. Sheila has had a headache for over a week. She must go to the doctor.
       ____________________________________________________________________________
EXERCISE 4
Rewrite the following sentences without changing the meaning of the original sentences.
1. I advise you to check the pressure of your tires. (better)
      You'd better check the pressure of your tires.
2.    It's a pity he didn't tell us three weeks ago instead of today. (rather)
      ____________________________________________________________________________
3.    I prefer you not to walk around barefoot. (rather)
      ____________________________________________________________________________
4.    You must wash the dishes, (time)
      _____________________________________________________________________________
5.    You shouldn't neglect your teeth.
      _____________________________________________________________________________
6.    John and Mary don't really want to go to the concert. (rather)
      _____________________________________________________________________________
7.    What do you want to do - eat at home or in a restaurant? (prefer)
      _____________________________________________________________________________
8.    She is really in need of a good meal.
      ____________________________________________________________________________
9.    It isn't a good idea to send that letter.
      ____________________________________________________________________________
10.    It wouldn't be wise to go out in this storm. (better)
       ____________________________________________________________________________
11.    My hair is too long. It needs cutting. (high)
       ____________________________________________________________________________
12.    In this case, I'd rather buy them a present than give them money. (prefer)
       ____________________________________________________________________________
13.    Would you rather go by car or bus? (going)
       ____________________________________________________________________________
14.    Joe prefers taking long walks to working out in the gym. (rather)
       ____________________________________________________________________________
15.    Dave prefers basketball to football. (play)
       ____________________________________________________________________________
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Would rather / it's high time / had better

  • 1. WOULD RATHER / IT’S (HIGH) TIME / HAD BETTER WOULD RATHER Would rather is used to express a preference in English. Would rather is the same in meaning as would prefer. These two phrases are used interchangeably to express a preference when making a choice. Here are some examples of short conversations that use would rather to either state or ask for a preference. Example Dialogue John: Let's go out tonight. Mary: That's a good idea. John: How about going to a film? There's a new film out with Tom Hanks. Mary: I'd rather go out for dinner. I'm hungry! Sue: I'm not sure which topic to choose for my essay. Debby: Well, what are your choices? Sue: I can write about the economy or about a book. Debby: Which would you rather write about? Would Rather - Structure The form would rather is a little strange because 'rather' is not a verb but is part of an expression that means 'would prefer to'. 'Rather' is usually immediately followed by a verb in base form (verb without 'to'). It's common to use would rather in the shortened 'd rather form in positive statements. All subjects take 'would rather'. Would rather can be used to refer to the present moment or a future moment in time. Positive Subject + would rather ('d rather) + base form of verb Peter'd rather spend time on the beach. I would rather learn a new language than study math. Question Would + subject + rather + base form of verb Would you rather stay at home? Would they rather do homework tomorrow morning? Would Rather - Than Would rather is often used with 'than' with two verbs or objects when making a choice between two specific actions.
  • 2. Would you rather work for Tom than for Mary? She would rather play tennis than go horseback riding. Would Rather - For Other People Would rather is also used to express what one person prefers another person to do. The structure is unusual because it takes the past for the preferred action. Here are some examples: Tom would rather Mary bought a SUV. Would you rather she stayed here with us? Positive Subject + would rather ('d rather) + object + past tense I would rather my son worked in finance. Susan would rather Peter took a plane. Question Would + subject + rather + object + past tense Would she rather her sister flew home tomorrow? Would you rather he came with us to the meeting? Positive Subject + would rather ('d rather) + object + negative past tense I'd rather she didn't come with us today. Tim would rather Peter didn't join the company. IT’S (HIGH TIME It's (high) time you left. You will miss the bus. This sentence refers to present time and it implies that perhaps it is already too late. We can use this structure in the past tense too, however, the unreal tense in the second clause will not change. It was time I left. Compare with this structure: It's time (for me) to go. This sentence implies that the speaker is still in time. HAD BETTER We use “had better” plus the infinitive without “to” to give advice. Although “had” is the past form of “have”, we use “had better” to give advice about the present or future. You'd better tell her everything.
  • 3. I'd better get back to work. We'd better meet early. The negative form is “had better not”. You'd better not say anything. I'd better not come. We'd better not miss the start of his presentation. We use “had better” to give advice about specific situations, not general ones. If you want to talk about general situations, you must use “should”. You should brush your teeth before you go to bed. I shouldn't listen to negative people. He should dress more appropriately for the office. When we give advice about specific situations, it is also possible to use “should”. You shouldn't say anything. I should get back to work. We should meet early. However, when we use “had better” there is a suggestion that if the advice is not followed, that something bad will happen. You'd better do what I say or else you will get into trouble. I'd better get back to work or my boss will be angry with me. We'd better get to the airport by five or else we may miss the flight. EXERCISES Look at the following situations and show preference by using the structure ‘I would (I'd) rather’. 1. Your friend wants to borrow your best sweater. You don't want her to. I'd rather you didn't borrow my sweater. 2. You were planning to play tennis, but it's raining. _____________________________________________________________________________ 3. Both Jill and Tom have invited you to their parties on Saturday night. You want to go to Jill's party. ____________________________________________________________________________ 4. You can have take-away Chinese food or go to an Italian restaurant. ______________________________________________________________________________
  • 4. 5. You are planning a big party but don't want to have it at your house. ______________________________________________________________________________ 6. Your fiancé bought you a diamond ring. It was far too expensive. ______________________________________________________________________________ EXERCISE 2 Look at the situations given and write sentences using ‘had better’. 1. Mary has been out in the sun. She looks terrible. You think she needs a drink of water. You tell her: “You had better have.a.drink.of water," 2. You want to speak English better. It requires a lot of practice. Your teacher tells you: _________________________________________________ 3. Your friend has no insurance to drive your car. He wants to take your car anyway. You tell him: _________________________________________________________ 4. John has a nasty cut on his hand. It looks like it is infected. You advise him: _______________________________________________________ 5. You are at a party. The last bus goes at 12.30 a.m. It's now 12.15 a.m. You say to your friend: _________________________________________________ EXERCISE 3 Look at the situations given and write sentences using the expressions ‘it's time or it's high time’. 1. You've been watching TV since you got home from school and you still have to tidy your room. It's time you tidied your room. 2. You haven't phoned Grandma for over a month. ____________________________________________________________________________ 3. The play finished 15 minutes ago. The actors are still standing on the stage. ____________________________________________________________________________ 4. You've been working late for ten days. You are very tired. Your friend says, ____________________________________________________________________________ 5. Sheila has had a headache for over a week. She must go to the doctor. ____________________________________________________________________________
  • 5. EXERCISE 4 Rewrite the following sentences without changing the meaning of the original sentences. 1. I advise you to check the pressure of your tires. (better) You'd better check the pressure of your tires. 2. It's a pity he didn't tell us three weeks ago instead of today. (rather) ____________________________________________________________________________ 3. I prefer you not to walk around barefoot. (rather) ____________________________________________________________________________ 4. You must wash the dishes, (time) _____________________________________________________________________________ 5. You shouldn't neglect your teeth. _____________________________________________________________________________ 6. John and Mary don't really want to go to the concert. (rather) _____________________________________________________________________________ 7. What do you want to do - eat at home or in a restaurant? (prefer) _____________________________________________________________________________ 8. She is really in need of a good meal. ____________________________________________________________________________ 9. It isn't a good idea to send that letter. ____________________________________________________________________________ 10. It wouldn't be wise to go out in this storm. (better) ____________________________________________________________________________ 11. My hair is too long. It needs cutting. (high) ____________________________________________________________________________ 12. In this case, I'd rather buy them a present than give them money. (prefer) ____________________________________________________________________________ 13. Would you rather go by car or bus? (going) ____________________________________________________________________________ 14. Joe prefers taking long walks to working out in the gym. (rather) ____________________________________________________________________________ 15. Dave prefers basketball to football. (play) ____________________________________________________________________________