“You’d better” in Italian
In today’s lesson, you’re going to learn different ways to say “you’d better”, as in:
- You’d better help your brother.
As you know, we use this construction in English to talk about actions we think people should do or which are desirable in a specific situation.
In other words, we say “you’d better” to tell someone they should do something.
However, most of the time, we use it if we think there will be negative results if someone does not do what is desired or suggested, as in the example below:
- She’d better get here soon or she’ll miss the opening ceremony.
Let’s find out how to say “you’d better” in Italian.
How to say “you’d better” in Italian
There’re different ways to say this in Italian.
Let’s have a look at them:
- Fare meglio a
- È meglio che
- Sarà meglio che
Here’s the same sentence with the four options:
You’d better come back home.
Let’s focus on each expression individually.
You’d better: fare meglio a
This one is pretty easy.
Here’s the construction:
- Conjugated form of the verb fare + meglio a + verb in the infinitive
What you have to conjugate here is the verb fare.
What the person’d better do goes in the infinitive (a verb ending in -are, -ere, -ire):
Faccio meglio ad andare a dormire.
I’d better go to sleep.
Fate meglio a rimanere qua.
You’d better stay here.
Facciamo meglio a studiare.
We’d better study.
You’d better: è/ sarà meglio che
These ones are slightly more complicated.
Let’s analyze them separately.
Here’s the construction with è:
- è meglio che + verb in the present subjunctive
This one is softer than the one with sarà, since it’s more like a piece of advice.
Let’s have a look at some examples.
È meglio che tu spariscia prima che arrivi.
You’d better get out of here before he gets here.
È meglio che impariate a nuotare.
You’d better learn to swim.
Here’s the construction with sarà:
- sarà meglio che + verb in the present subjunctive
This construction is stronger, almost like a warning:
Sarà meglio che abbiate una risposta!
You’d better have an answer!
Sarà meglio che tu mi dica la verità!
You’d better tell me the truth!
As you can see, in both cases, è and sarà stay the same (=they’re not conjugated).
What we have to conjugate is the verb after che. And that verb has to go in the present subjunctive.
You’d better: conviene
This construction is different from the ones we saw above:
- (indirect object pronoun) + conviene + verb in the infinitive
These are the indirect object pronouns: mi/ ti/ gli/ le/ ci/ vi/ gli.
They mean: for me/ for you/ for him/ for her/ for us/ for you/ for them.
We don’t always need them unless we want to specify to whom something is “convenient”/ “worthwhile” to.
Let’s have a look at some examples:
Non conviene prendere la scorciatoia.
We’d better not take the shortcut.
Literally: Taking the shortcut isn’t at all convenient.
Ti conviene fare in fretta.
You’d better hurry up.
Literally: It’s convenient for you to hurry up.
Vi conviene fare attenzione.
You’d better be careful.
Literally: It’s convenient for you to be careful.
Ci conviene cominciare adesso.
We’d better start now.
Literally: It’s convenient for us to start now.
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