Como digo em inglês: Melhor prevenir que remediar

By Ana Luiza | Podcast Inglês Online

Mar 07
Como digo em inglês Melhor prevenir que remediar

How have you been?

Nesse episódio do podcast Inglês Online a gente fala sobre algumas expressões comuns com a palavra better.


Hello, everyone. How’s it going? Today we have a new episode of the inglesonline podcast. To download or just listen to other episodes and download transcripts, go to and click Podcast Inglesonline.

Today’s word is “better”. As in, Coke tastes better than Pepsi, or Pepsi tastes better than Coke, whatever your opinion is. Better, as in I like coffee better than tea. As in, I’ve had a cold since Saturday but I’m getting better now. I think you get the gist.

So I’m gonna talk about three really common expressions, or set phrases, with better. So for the first one, picture this: you’re about to get out of the house for the whole day. It’s early in the morning and you won’t be back home till after the sun has set. It’s been raining a lot where you live, but you take one look outside and you can’t see a cloud in the sky. All you can see is the clear, blue sky… no clouds in sight. You think to yourself that maybe today is going to be different – it’s not going to rain. But then you think again, and you remember that, sometimes, the weather can be unpredictable. Sunny in the morning, rainy in the afternoon. Who knows? So, again, you think to yourself: You know what? Better safe than sorry. It’s sunny right now, but what if it rains later? I’m gonna take my umbrella with me, just in case. Better safe than sorry.

So that’s what this expression means: it’s better to take extra precautions than to take risks and maybe suffer some undesirable consequences. So maybe you’re in your car early in the morning and the tank is only half full, but you know you’re not gonna need to drive too far today. Then you remember your boss might ask you to do a last minute delivery… It’s not likely, but… who knows? You decide to stop by the gas station anyway and fill up the tank. Better safe than sorry.

The other two phrases aren’t very pleasant things to say, but hey, we’re not always pleasant, right? So let’s move right along to the next set phrase. Let me give you an example: imagine that you and your friend are visiting some touristic town for the first time and, actually, you guys have just returned from a day-long tour. You’re both tired and starving, and the first two restaurants you stumble upon are closed already. So you finally spot this little place that looks like a bar, and you guys get a table and, after a quick look at the menu, order some sandwiches. As you’re taking a sip of your Diet Coke, you ask your friend “How do you like your sandwich?”. Your friend says “Better than nothing”.

That means your friend doesn’t really like it. It’s the same in Portuguese, right? Better than nothing. It’s not good, to be honest, but I’m starving and it’s food, so it will do. Better than nothing. Can you remember the last time you had this thought? “Eh, better than nothing”. Maybe you had been wandering in the streets somewhere, looking for a restroom and just when you’re about to give up and call a cab, you finally find a public restroom. It’s dirty and it stinks, but you think to yourself “Better than nothing”. That’s based on a true story, by the way and… that’s all I’m gonna say.

And here’s the last one. You’ll say this one when you’re kinda annoyed at something or someone. Again, it’s very similar to what we say in Portuguese: Tenho mais o que fazer. You can say “I’ve got better things to do”, or simply “Better things to do”. Imagine someone asks you how your conversation with your neighbor went. So here’s the question: How did things go with your neighbor?” And you answer “Oh, I gave up. We simply can’t see eye to eye on this. I’ve got better things to do”. So what does that mean? That means you wanted your neighbor to agree with you on something, but that’s not gonna happen. You guys do not see eye to eye on this, trying to convince your neighbor is a waste of time, so you gave up. You’ve got better things to do with your time.

So give us your examples: when was the last time you thought “better safe than sorry”? And what about “better than nothing”, and “I’ve got better things to do”?  Talk to you next time!


Key expressions

  • better safe than sorry
  • better than nothing
  • I’ve got better things to do



as in = assim como em

you get the gist = você pegou a ideia

till after the sun has set = antes (até) do sol ter se posto

no clouds in sight = nenhuma nuvem à vista

a day-long tour = um tour que durou o dia inteiro

taking a sip = dando um gole

It will do. = Serve.

We don’t see eye to eye = a gente não concorda, não vê as coisas do mesmo jeito


About the Author

Ana Luiza criou um blog de dicas de inglês em 2006, e depois de muito pesquisar o que faz alguém ganhar fluência numa segunda língua, criou seu primeiro curso de inglês em 2009.

  • Thiago says:

    “did make me realise” tryng to say “me fez perceber”, Is that correct?

  • Thiago says:

    Hi Ana! I have to tell you I’ve been outta here for a while… then I saw you request and that did make me realise how your posts help me to learn more. I’m not gonna say that’s “better than nothing”, cause it’s better than many other things kkkkk.
    By the way let me ask you something, It’s not about these expressions but it’s about some phrases that I saw among the coments, and brought some doubts, let’s go…
    “go by riding mine motorcycle” – I tought it was “go by motorcycle” or “go riding my motorcicle”
    ” near 7:30 am ” – I tought it was ” 7:30 am” because I’ve learned that this “near” we can use for places, locations etc.
    And finally… “among” can be used for only two things, I mean, between two things.
    And I really want you to correct the writing mistakes here in my coment too, please.

    Thank you! See you soon!

    • Ana Luiza says:

      Hi Thiago – sim, algumas coisas que vc notou estão corretas. Eu não corrijo tudo que postam aqui… às vezes, quando dá, faço isso, mas com certeza não corrijo tudo que postam nos comentários, OK?

  • Zanelli says:

    Hello Ana !!!
    Every year I make a check up in my body. I guess it is better safe than sorry and I always recommend to my friends to work out . A simple walking in the park is better than nothing

  • Renata Martins says:

    Eu adoro todas suas dicas, e-mails, etc. Sua pronúncia é ótima! consigo entender tudo. Sempre que tenho a oportunidade , indico aos meus amigos.

  • Diogo Higino says:

    Hello guys, better later than never, let-me write something about it. I go out home every day to work near 7:30 am and work to 8:00 from 18:00 pm with a luchtime after noon. I aways go by riding mine motorcycle but I don’t like plastc clothes that protect againt rain. I know that better safe than sorry, but I look around the sky and when I see the clouds and the sun I think today won’t rain, lol. So I take an umbrella with me, even though the distance among the local job and mine home is near, so in case began raining, I can go by bus and can using the umbrella, better than nothing. Last but not least, I have a lot of friends that like to conversations and they often spend your luchtime with things usually don’t matter, they ask me why I don’t participate of the group and reply them I’ve got better things to do.

    Thanks Ana.

  • Wadson Eustáquio says:

    Adoro as dicas Ana, parabéns..

    See you!

  • Itamar says:

    My English is getting better day by day because of you

  • marcio says:

    Hi Ana!

    I love your podcasts! Thanks for your help!


    That’s how We learn English! A word here, another word there ! Thank you very much for the classes !

  • Carlos Alberto Ranzani says:

    Parabéns por mais este belo post. Super util. Vou procurar usa los, como tb comentar mais, agora melhor orientado sobre a importancia dos comentarios. Abs.

  • Marcelo says:

    Hi, Ana! I read this post yesterday and I used it in the same day!
    You know, the weather it’s crazy here in São Paulo these days, and I always bring my umbrella with me. We never know when will rain. So, better safe than sorry, right?

    I confess that I’m just writting this comment now because you asked for a few minutes ago, but I promisse that I will comment more often from now on.

    I love your site and I think that is a great work you’ve been doing here.

    Thank you very much.

    • Ana Luiza says:

      Hi Marcelo

      Like you, I live in Sampa so I know exactly what you’re talking about.

      I’ve been surprise by sudden rain more than once, so nowadays I (usually) remember to have my umbrella on me at all times when I’m out.. during the rain season, of course – Jan/Feb/Mar

  • Débora says:

    Hi, Ana!

    I’m reading a book in English called “Final Justice” written by Fern Michaels and I saw this expression “It will do” in it.
    It makes me remember your post.

    Thanks for the useful tips.

  • Ana says:

    adorei o post!!
    Escrevo para o blog Ensino Bilingue e, por lá, tem uma matéria super interesante sobre as expressões em inglês.
    Dê uma olhada!!


  • Edson says:

    Muito Bom!!! Parabens Ana Luiza! :)

  • Al says:

    “Better alone than in bad company.” Is not among the examples given in the text, but it would often be used by me if I was speaker of English.

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