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Better


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better1

Better buses, better service, better catch one

I am sorry that there was no podcast last week. I was unwell. But now I am better. That means, I am not unwell any more. I have recovered. I am better.

And today’s podcast is about the word “better”. “Better” is of course the comparative form of the adjective “good”. Good – better- best. We can say: “This is a good restaurant. But the restaurant over the road is better. And the restaurant round the corner is the best restaurant in the town.”

We can use “better” in other ways, too. There is an English expression “I had better” do something. It means “I must” do something, or “it would be a good idea” to do something. Here are some examples:

Kevin and Joanne are having breakfast. Joanne looks in the fridge. There is no milk. “I had better buy some milk this morning,” she says. Kevin looks at his watch. It is nearly 7.30am. “I had better go now,” he says. “I have to go to a meeting at 8.30.” “Yes,” says Joanne. “You had better hurry, otherwise you will miss the train. And it is raining. You had better take an umbrella”.

In Birmingham, where I live, there is a bus company. Actually, there are lots of bus companies, because our government believes that competition in public transport is a good thing. Our government is wrong. Britain has some of the worst public transport in Europe. But that is different podcast. One of our competing bus companies has a slogan on the side of its buses. It says: “better buses, better service, better catch one”. This is what it means.

better2

Better buses…

“Better buses” – the company has better buses. But better than what? Better than the buses of the other bus companies? Better than the old buses which it used to have? I suppose that “better buses” is OK as an advertising slogan, but if you want people to understand exactly what you mean, remember to use the word “than” – “better buses than our old buses”, for example.

“Better service” – This means more frequent buses, more reliable buses. Perhaps the company means that they now run buses late in the evening and on Sundays.

And “better catch one” is short for “you had better catch one”. In other words, it would be a good idea to catch one of our wonderful better buses. Remember that in English, we can take a bus or a train or a plane; or we can catch a bus or a train or a plane.

Now you know all about “I had better”. There is a quiz with the podcast today. You can find it on the website. Now it is late. I had better stop now. I had better go to the supermarket. I had better cook supper for the children. I had better say goodbye.

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