LINGUIST List 6.985

Tue Jul 18 1995

Sum: Had better

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  1. hiro-t, Sum: had better

Message 1: Sum: had better

Date: Tue, 18 Jul 1995 16:40:36 Sum: had better
From: hiro-t <hiro-tias.tokushima-u.ac.jp>
Subject: Sum: had better

Dear Linguists,
 On behalf of my friend, I asked you to check the sentences about
_had better not_, _had better not_, etc. Here are his summary below.
*******************************************************************
 At the end of May, I raised a query about the acceptability of the
following sentences.
 (1) You hadn't better stay here tonight.
 (2) You had not better stay here tonight.
 (3) A: I promise I'll pay you back. B: You better had.
To my surprise, soon after my posting, I got as many as 64 reposes.
Thank you very much for answering my query. I hadn't expected so may
people were interested on this matter. I think I should mention all
the names and e-mail addresses, but there are far too many to mention.
If you feel this is inadequet, please email to Prof. Tanaka to write
your names on the list. I will immediately prepare for writing your
names. The result of the inquiry is as follows:
 (1) (2) (3)
 OK 10 0 12
 ? 15 5 3
 * 39 59 49
About two thirds of the respondents refused these usages and I can also
add that these usages varies geometrically, especially British English,
it seemed to me.
 I also asked for a few sentences using _It (or This) had better...
Examples (4), (5) and (6) below are typical instances of _had better_
with inanimate subjects:
 (4) It had better not rain tomorrow or we can't got to the beach.
 (5) I spent all day working on the TV. It had better work now.
 (6) Joe: I can explain why I am late. Jane: This had better be good
Some people say that _This had better be good_ is a cliche and in (6) it
implies the speaker kas expectations that the excuse will be fanciful
or just plain untrue.
 I would like to thank again to all the people who reponded. If you
had any comments on this matter, please email through Prof. Tanaka to me.
******************************************************************************
Best Wishes,
Hiroaki Tanaka, Associate Professor, Tokushima University, Japan
hiro-tias.tokushima-u.ac.jp
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