Many people say "you best should go to sleep" "you best should borrow a book from the library"

Is it strictly correct English? what is the technical description for such a figure of speech?

Is it the same as "you best ought to borrow a book"?

  • 1
    What do you mean with "many people", where? I have never heard that being said by any native or proficient speaker, to be honest. A similar expression, that is idiomatic, would be you'd better (go to bed, do something, etc).
    – oerkelens
    Feb 12, 2015 at 17:34
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    Speakers of Appalachian English might disagree (I think they also say things like You might should do that), but I have to say that for me You best ought to borrow a book doesn't sound at all good. Where do you get your "many people say X" ideas from? Feb 12, 2015 at 17:36
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    @ufomorace: I seriously doubt any of Austin's characters (and certainly not her "narrative voice") would use this construction. There's only a single instance of you best should go in Google Books, and it's from a modern American author. But the more natural you'd best go gets an estimated 74,000 hits. I think your usage is US "rustic" dialect, not at all "posh". Feb 12, 2015 at 17:50
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    Yes, @ufomorace, it's definitely USA rural-speak, and I mean deep rural-speak. I'm traumatized to hear it's spoken at Oxford.
    – user98990
    Feb 12, 2015 at 19:09
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    @FumbleFingers I understand you to be saying that You had best tell somebody is ok. Why not? It is after all only a variant of you had better tell somebody. But that is a long way from you best should tell somebody which is neither grammatical, nor idiomatic in any UK dialect of which I am aware.
    – WS2
    Feb 12, 2015 at 20:25

1 Answer 1


I am a native UK English speaker, I cannot recall have previously seen your formulation

you best should

I do use

you had best be

and variations

Ah well, it's late, I had best be going

and abbreviate to

I'd best be going

I would say

Kid's it's late, you should be getting ready for bed

But "best should" I can only think of being used in a completely different sense:

Those who know you best should advise you ...

  • Affable Geek's answer sais that "you'd best be" and "you'd better be" are gramatically incorrect, for the reasons he explains in his answer. Feb 13, 2015 at 7:44
  • @ufomorace I don't see an answer from Affable Geek. Unequivocally we use this phrase in common speech. As to whether it's truly correct I can't see the critique, but I do see examples such as this: speakspeak.com/resources/english-grammar-rules/… and this question: english.stackexchange.com/users/12586/…
    – djna
    Feb 13, 2015 at 14:40
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    Affable geek posted a reply that was upvoted, implying that it was gramatically incorrect, same as "could might do something" and "you'd better be running along now" which he told me was not gramatically correct. i wasn't convinced by his explanation and actually his answer has vanished. Feb 13, 2015 at 17:08

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