Grammar Info

N5 Lesson 9: 10/13

~た(ほう)がいい

It'd be better to, Should do

Structure

Verb[た]+ (ほう) + + いい

Details

  • 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

About たほうがいい

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 (ほう), the particle , and the い-Adjective, いい.

As (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.

Caution

Because this phrase is quite direct, it would be better to use a more polite expression like ばいい, if giving general advice.


Examples

--:--

    医者(いしゃ)さん()いたほうがいい

    It would be better to ask a doctor.

    (かえ)ったほうがいい

    It'd be better to go home.

    (あさ)ごはん()べたほうがいい

    It would be better to eat breakfast.

    自分(じぶん)(さら)(あら)ったほうがいい

    It would be better to wash your own dishes.

    それ(かえ)したほうがいいだろう

    It would be better to return that, wouldn't it.

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たほうがいい – Grammar Discussion

Most Recent Replies (7 in total)

  • Talos

    Talos

    Almost a year later, but I had the same question.

    Here’s a discussion attempting to explain it.

    The summary I take from it is that this is a separate use of た (yep, apparently there are multiple), which isn’t the past tense grammatically but the perfect tense - something I think most of us aren’t terribly familiar with, unfortunately.

    Example translations from that link include:

    傘を持っていったほうがいい。
    Lit. “Having brought an umbrella would be better.”

    That then is contrasted with the meaning you get when you don’t use the perfect tense:

    It is also possible to have the plain form of verbs before 〜ほうがいい, but they don’t have a future interpretation but rather a “general” or “habitual” one.

    傘を持って...

  • Ambo100

    Ambo100

    Regarding the grammar structure given:

    Perhaps it would be better to say:

    Past Tense Verb (Short Form) + 方・が・いい

    Although as @Talos has mentioned it is technically perfect tense, I think it might be a bit confusing for those who haven’t learnt about that yet.

    I just had a review where the answer was:

    ここに すんだほうがいい 。[住すむ]

    So the existing grammar structure would not take into account た > だ and various other exceptions.

    Another note from what I read in Genki is that

    when the advice is negative, however, the verb is in the present tense short form.

  • eclipse77x

    eclipse77x

    Can 〜方がいい (and 〜べき) be used in conjunction with と思う to discuss what is “better/best for yourself” or “what you yourself must do”? Is there another grammar structure that is more suited to this purpose?

    Example: I think it would be better (for me) to exercise more.
    もっと運動したほうがいいと思います。

    Is the only difference between 〜方がいい and 〜べき the nuance between “should” and “must”? Would the sentence「もっと運動するべきだと思います。」have a similar feel, something close to “I think I’ve got to exercise more.”?

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