As my title, can I use "better" as a verb? I have read and known that the word "better" can be used as a verb. For example, to better your business productivity, you should use ABC technology.

I've also searched in Google and found out some examples regarding the word "better" can be used as a verb.

Can someone explain this to me?

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    The first dictionary I found via Google gives adjective, adverb, noun and verb definitions along with examples. All good dictionaries will tell it can be used as a verb.
    – Hugo
    Dec 13, 2011 at 13:01
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    Notwithstanding the encouraging answers, I don't think you should normally speak of "bettering your productivity". Most modern usages of better as a verb have the sense of outdo, rather than improve. A common construction being to better something [else], by surpassing it with your own "something". I think to better yourself is an exception to the general tendency. Dec 13, 2011 at 13:03
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    Don't know why my question is voted down. People may think it's a studpid question because simply they have never seen the case in which "better" is used as a verb.
    – Thuan
    Mar 5, 2013 at 3:24

2 Answers 2


Yes, you can.

A common phrase is "trying to better yourself".


Shakespeare, Milton, Keats, Ruskin and Wordsworth did, so I don’t see why you can’t.

  • 1
    +1: but there is a point where concision becomes unhelpful. Specifically, though many writers used better, I don't recall a Shakespearean better your productivity. Dec 13, 2011 at 14:12
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    What if they're wrong?
    – Mitch
    Dec 13, 2011 at 14:40

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