Grammar Info
N5 Lesson 9: 10/13

It'd be better to, Should do

Verb[た]+ + + いい
Verb[た]+ + + いい + です
Part of Speech Expression
Word Type Adjective
Register Standard
品詞 表現
単語の種類 形容詞
使用域 一般
In Japanese, there are several ways to express that something ‘should’ be done. たほうがいい is one of the most common, especially when giving advice. This expression uses the past tense of a verb grouped with 方(ほう), the particle , and the い-Adjective, いい.
  • 食(た)べ前(まえ)に手(て)洗(あら)った方(ほう)がいい
    It would be better if you washed your hands before you eat. (You should wash your hands)
  • 警察(けいさつ)言(い)った方(ほう)がいい
    It would be better if you told the police. (You should tell the police)
As 方(ほう) can be translated closely to ‘way’, or ‘direction’, this expression is suggesting that one specific choice is simply the better ‘way’.
This expression is quite direct, and can imply that there may be some sort of negative consequence if (A) is not done. In that respect, this phrase could also be translated as ‘It would be better if you did (A)’.
たほうがいい may also be used with the base (dictionary) form of a verb, but will sound more like a general opinion in those cases, rather than giving advice.
  • 高(たか)いけど、美味(おい)しお肉(にく)食(た)べ方(ほう)がいい
    Even though it is expensive, it is better to eat delicious meat. (This is a general opinion)
  • 食器(しょっき)すぐ片付(かたづ)ける方(ほう)がいい
    It is better to put away the dishes as soon as possible. (This is a general opinion)
Because this phrase is quite direct, it would be better to use a more polite expression like ばいい, if giving general advice.
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It would be better to ask a doctor.
It'd be better to go home.
It would be better to eat breakfast.
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Tae Kim's Japanese Grammar Guide
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