Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is full of "Best do smth." phrases:

  • They're goblins. Clever as they come, but not the most friendly of beasts. Best stay close.
  • Best not to mention this to anyone, Harry.
  • Best do it a bit of a run if you're nervous.

What are these phrases from a grammatical standpoint? Could it be a shortened variant of "You'd best" or the Imperative Mood?
Is "Best do smth." used in modern everyday speech?


This is called ellipsis, and it's commonly used in speech to miss out words. If it were written, the writer may put 'It would be best if you stayed close', but that is long-winded, and it is easier (especially in tense situations, where this would apply) to say 'best stay close.'

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  • Thank you for a clear answer. This option hasn't occurred to me at all... In this case could the sentence ''It would be best if you stayed close'' be the subjunctive mood? – Hedgehog Mar 6 '17 at 10:31
  • @Hedgehog yes, I think so (not 100% sure) – marcellothearcane Mar 6 '17 at 10:45

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