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Which of these two is the correct option?

1. He'd better try harder, wouldn't he?

I think this is the correct way, but I am not sure. In this case, is this the long form of the sentence?

  • He would better try harder, wouldn't he?

2. He'd better try harder, hadn't he?

I think this option is not correct, because the long form would have to be:

  • He had better tried harder, hadn't he?

Which is the correct option?

Thank you very much in advance for your help!

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  • 1
    No, the long form would be 'He had better try harder', which goes with 'hadn't he'. Jan 12 at 16:41
  • had better has to be followed by a bare infinitive. And would better does not exist.
    – Lambie
    Feb 11 at 19:15
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The following may be checked in for instance [this Wikipedia article].

In the UK, the usual question tag after a statement using an auxiliary mirrors the auxiliary in the statement but reverses polarity:

  • He's tall, isn't he?

  • She's not daft, is she?

  • He can swim, can't he?

  • He can't swim, can he?

  • It's beautiful, isn't it!/?

  • It's not good news, is it?

  • She should apply for promotion, shouldn't she?

  • She shouldn't hide her light under a bushel, should she?

  • He would pass easily if he worked harder, wouldn't he?

  • He wouldn't pass even if he worked harder though, would he./?

'Had better/rather' do have a more cohesive nature than say 'is really' ('would better' is not in any way unary, though 'would better be [used etc]' are used: 'she'd better' etc in these constructions is always a contraction of 'she had better' etc). See these Google 5grams:

enter image description here

But, though had better/rather' do have a cohesive nature, the form of the tag still reflects that required by the simplex verb:

  • He'd better / He had better try harder, hadn't he!/?

References are not easy to find; this is a repeat of the answer given on UsingEnglish.com many years ago. Note that the expanded (but archaic-sounding) expanded version is 'He had better try harder, had he not!/?' (though doubtless in the days when this sounded natural the use of the exclamation mark for the exclamatory version would have been considered improper).

Note also that the non-reversed tag question, where it is the judgement of the speaker / reliability of received wisdom rather than the clinical accuracy of the statement that is being queried (of course some tag 'questions' are really just polite attention / focusing / coercing devices: 'You'd be stupid not to consider this / agree'), is sometimes used:

  • He's only doing 6 hours homework a night. He'll never pass his A-Levels at this rate. He'd better try harder! ...

  • He'd better try harder, had he?

.........

  • He can swim, can he? So why is he shouting for help? In the shallow end!
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  • Oh please spare us the UK banter. It's the same in any English: You had better [do x], hadn't you? Tags are the same across all varieties of standard English.
    – Lambie
    Feb 11 at 19:14
  • This is certainly true in the other varieties of English I've encountered. Feb 11 at 19:38
  • @Lambie << The tag right? is common in a number of dialects across the UK and US, as well as in Indian English. It is an example of an invariable tag which is preferred in American English over traditional tags >> [Wikipedia] // I've another reference saying that traditional tag questions are 9 x as common in the UK as in the US. Care to retract? Feb 11 at 19:43
  • Correction: In English, the usual question tag after a statement using an auxiliary mirrors the auxiliary in the statement but reverses polarity: Can you please stop with the British English thing when it is simply not relevant? Thank you. I fail to see how people's speech can be listened in on in order to determine where tags are more common. What silliness.
    – Lambie
    Feb 11 at 20:03
  • Wikipedia, better known than Lambie, disagrees. I'll stick with Wikipedia. '[Right] is an example of an invariable tag which is preferred in American English over traditional tags.' But feel free to cite an authority disagreeing with this. Feb 12 at 12:21

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