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Had better

Please if anyone can tell me if this sentence is correct or not ?
"You had better go to doctor. "
Wether we can use gone instead of go ?


    1. gone is impossible

    2. to doctor is impossible — it must be either to a doctor or to the doctor

    3. We usually say see a doctor. With the we can say see the doctor or go to the doctor.

    4. You had better go is normal. The grammar is unlike the rest of English, but we do use had better quite often. It's one of the ways we give advice.

    It's very like You should go to a doctor. There's a slight difference

    • You had better has only one meaning: 'It's the best thing to do'.
    • You should can have at least two meanings: 'It's the best thing' and 'It's your duty.'
  • The sentence is correct as it is. I'm sure @DavidCrosbie can provide a fuller explanation but it seems to me that had better is a separate phrase inserted between the subject and the verb which turns the sentence into a suggestion as opposed to an absolute statement.

    I can see how the presence of have, often used as an auxiliary verb, might confuse matters but it is not forming a verb phrase in this case.

  • Amos, I'm sure had better does form a verb phrase. Historically, it's the PAST SUBJUNCTIVE of have, followed (in Present Day English) by a BARE INFINITIVE.

    The relevant section of the OED entry for have is

    VIII. In expressions of preference or comparison, as had rather, had better, etc., and related constructions.
    47. With following clause, esp. bare infinitive (in Middle English and early modern English also to-infinitive) clause.

    a. In the past subjunctive, with adjective or (later) adverb in the comparative or superlative or with as, as had better, had liefer, had rather, had sooner; had best, had liefest; †had as good, had as soon, had as well, etc. Used to express a preference for something, or the (comparative) desirability of something. Cf. similar constructions with would (will v.1 36).

    Although in Present Day English we normally find only better and a BARE INFINITIVE, Shakespeare had other choices, notably

    Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue. But if you mouth it, as many of your players do, I had as lief the town crier spoke my lines.

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