Should, ought to, had better

En anglais, pour parler du devoir, de ce que l’on devrait faire, nous employons le plus souvent le mot should. You should clean your room, tu devrais ranger ta chambre.
Should + Verbe peu se traduire par devoir au conditionnel + verbe.
Should est un auxiliaire modal (voir la leçon sur les modaux ici).

Cependant, il existe d’autres manières de suggérer ce que l’on devrait faire, et en particulier ought to et had better. Ces expressions sont à connaître si vous voulez enrichir votre anglais, et non sont pas compliquées à comprendre. Dans cette vidéo, Natalie va nous expliquer comment les utiliser.
Si vous ne comprenez pas toutes les explications, dont la plupart sont en anglais, reportez-vous à la retranscription texte sous la vidéo. Good luck!

Vidéo de cours

Retranscription texte de la vidéo (en anglais)

Should, ought to, and had better all basically mean the same thing, but I want to explain each usage and why we would use one over another.

Should is the most familiar and used term of the three, and therefore I find to be the most important. The direct translation for “should” is “devoir”, so this means that we use should when giving advice or demanding something of someone politely.

When using should in the negative form, one can say either “should not” or “shouldn’t”—this means the same thing. “Shouldn’t” is just a shorter way to say “should not.” Let’s go over an example:
“You should not eat that cake right now” and
“You shouldn’t eat that cake right now” therefore means the same thing. (“Tu ne devrais pas manger ce gateau”).

One can also use should when asking a question. “Should we go to the park today?” or “Devrons-nous aller au parc aujourd’hui?” This is a suggestive question, and often used in English.

So, to repeat, we have:
1. Should (affirmative form)
2. Should not / shouldn’t (negative form)
3. Should …. ? (interrogative form)

Ought to basically means the same thing as should, although should is more often used for advice, while ought to is used for moral obligations. This term is considered to be stronger than should, and almost as an order, and therefore should be used only when truly necessary. While “should” translates to “tu devrais”, “ought to” translates to “tu dois.”

You ought to apologize to your friend for your behavior. “Tu dois t’excuser devant ton ami pour tes comportements.”

One can use ought to in both the negative and interrogative form, but it is so rarely used, that I suggest using should instead. You really don’t need to use oughtn’t and ought in the interrogative form.

Let’s recap:
1. Ought to is stronger than should and more formal.
2. Negative and interrogative forms very rarely used.

Had better is another way to express a suggestion or a polite command, although it is used less often than should. One could translate “had better” as “tu ferais mieux.” As you can see here, you had better is often contracted to you’d better. And this also works with all other subjects ⇒ he’d better, I’d better, they’d better, etc.

Let’s see another example :
“He’d better do his homework or he will get in trouble” (Il ferait mieux de faire ses devoirs ou il sera grondé)

Had better can also be used in the negative form. One example of this is:
“You’d better not annoy me!” (Tu ferais mieux de ne pas m’embeter!)

One can use had better in the interrogative form, but it is very rare, and I again suggest using should.

so, we have :
1. He’d better (affirmative form)
2. She’d better not (negative form)

Anyway, I hope this helps! Best of luck and see you next week! Take care, everyone!

Exercice

[WpProQuiz 47]