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Lesson 12
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Advanced English
Lesson 12 - Health
Grammar

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should/ought to/had better

There are three auxiliary verbs that you can use to give advice. They are should, ought to, and had better.

You should put cool water on a burn.
You ought to put cool water on a burn.
You had better put cool water on a burn.

Although all three have the meaning of should, "had better" is stronger because it implies a negative consequence if you don't follow the advice. Another difference is that usually ought to and had better are not used with questions.

Should I put cool water on a burn?
Ought I to put cool water on a burn?
Had better I put cool water on a burn?

There is a difference in the negative form as well. You can make a contraction only with the verb should, not the other two (see examples below). Also, note the position of the word not in the negative sentence below. The word not goes after should and had better but in the middle of ought to ("ought not to").

Negative Sentence Contraction
You should not put hot water on a burn. You shouldn't put hot water on a burn.
You ought not to put hot water on a burn. (There is no contraction.)
You had better not put hot water on a burn. (There is no contraction.)

 

Practice
Write sentences to give advice. Use the verb and the information in parentheses.

The purpose of this exercise is to practice with the vocabulary in English, not to recommend medical treatments. To learn about first aid treatments visit www.redcross.org.

example
What should I do if someone's heart stops beating? (should/do CPR)

1. What should I do if someone is bleeding a lot? (should/apply a bandage and put pressure on the wound)
   
   

2. What should I do if someone has a sprain? (ought to/put ice and a bandage on the joint)
   
   

3. What should I do if someone is choking and can't breathe? (had better/do abdominal thrusts)
   
   

4. What should I do if someone has a bee sting? (had better/remove the stinger)
   
   

5. What should I do if someone goes into shock? (ought to/lay the victim on his back and elevate his legs)
   
   

 

Practice
Select the correct verb in each sentence.

1. You to take him to the emergency room.
   

2. I put on a bandage?
   

3. They hurt his injury.
   

4. We hurt him.
   

5. You do abdominal thrusts.
   

 

Find the Mistake

Instructions
Find the errors in the sentences.  Write the sentences correctly.

example
She are a student. --> She is a student.

1. He ought take him to the emergency room.
   
   

2. You should to help people.
   
   

3. He has better do CPR.
   
   

4. They ought to not hurt his leg.
   
   

5. I had not better put hot water on the burn.
   
   

 

Writing

Write a letter to a friend giving advice using these verbs (should, ought to, had better). Write on a paper or on our blog.

example
You should exercise everyday. You ought to eat healthy things like fruits and vegetables. You shouldn't eat fatty foods. You had better lose weight, or you might have a heart attack some day. (etc.)

     

 

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