Learn how to use ‘better off’ and ‘well off’ correctly in this English lesson with Dan from BBC Learning English

For a quiz, visit our website: https://www.bbc.co.uk/learningenglish/english/course/english-you-need/unit-22/session-5

Hi guys! Dan from BBC Learning English here with this week’s Learner Question. Find out what it is after this.

OK! This week’s Learner Question comes from Mariano from Spain, who writes: How do I understand the sentence we are better off than you. Does it always refer to questions related to money? For example, we have got more money than you. I’m not sure. Please help. Ok Mariano. Here’s your explanation.

So, well off is an adjective and it relates mainly to money matters. If you are well off, you may not be exactly rich but you certainly have enough money to live well and comfortably. For example, they’re quite well off. They have their own flat and they have their own car.

The comparative form of well off is better off, and this is used to talk about the varying degrees of wealth that different people have. For example, we’re not as well off as the Jones’s. They are definitely better off than we are.

To be better off also has another meaning, and it means to be in a better situation. It’s mostly used in conditional patterns. For example, if you’ve got heavy bags, you’re better off taking a taxi. Or, it says on the sign over there that the motorway is closed so we’re better off going by a different route.

Finally, we can talk about the better off. When we add the to an adjective, we create a group noun. So the better off is a group of people who are better off than us. For example, the better off should pay a higher rate of tax, whereas the worse off should pay no tax at all.

I hope that answers your question Mariano. Thank you very much for writing to us. If anybody else out there has a question for Learners’ Questions, you can email us on: learning.english@bbc.co.uk. Please remember to include Learners’ Questions in the subject box and your name and where you’re writing from. We get a lot of emails, guys, and we can’t possibly answer all of them, but we do read every single one. And for more information, go to our website: bbclearningenglish.com. That’s it for this week’s Learners’ Questions. Thank you very much for joining us. I’ll see you next time. Bye!

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