Ought to and Had Better
'Ought to' is a semi-modal verb and 'had better' is a phrase that is used to talk about obligations. In this lesson, we will talk about these two. Make sure you learn them perfectly.
'Ought to' is a semi-modal verb, because in some aspects it behaves like a modal verb and in some aspects like a main verb. For example, unlike modal verbs, it is followed by to, but like modal verbs, it has the same form for all the persons. Its uses are:
- obligation and necessity
- giving advice or recommendation
Obligation and Necessity
'Ought to' is used to talk about what is the right thing to do.
Should or Ought to?
For expressing something that is the best thing or right thing to do, you can use both 'should' and 'ought to'. The difference is that 'should' is more common in spoken English.
Obligation and Necessity in the Past
You can talk about obligations or the right things to do in the past by using 'ought to have' + 'past participle'.
'Ought to' is used to say what you expect to happen in the future or what you would like to happen.
In this sentence, babies are expected to talk by the age of 1.
In this sentence the speaker would like teachers to earn more.
Advice or Recommendation
You can use 'ought to' to give advice or recommendation.
This is great. You
In this case, we are giving recommendation.
'Ought to' can also be used to say what is probably true or what has probably happened.
If she left at 11 o'clock, she
Here we mean; If she left at 11 o'clock, she probably should be here by now.
If you want to form a question, it is more common to use 'should' instead of 'ought to'.
Remember, it is not common to say; ''ought to I buy this shirt?''
'Had better' is an expression of the verb 'had' and is treated as a modal verb or as some would classify a 'semi-modal verb'.
'Had better' is used to say what is the best thing to do in a situation that is happening now.
As you know the term 'ought to' behaves as a semi-modal and the phrase 'had better' is an expression. But both have particular functions which were discussed clearly in the article. Since learning is easier and faster by learning and memorizing the examples; let us have some examples here.
|obligation and necessity||
|expectation||You ought to be tired after all that swimming|
|giving advice or recommendation||
|What is the best thing to do||