True, no verb but isn't an idiom commonly a fragment of a sentence. What we are really saying it " It is better late then never." We just drop the "It is." So in essensse we would use the same grammar as if "It is" was used. Perhaps that is the same in French? Correct me if I'm off base! :-)
These are idiomatic expressions so they have to be used as they are. When you change a word, you have lost the expression. They are not to be "translated" into another language, but you need to find the "equivalent"expression that you would use in the same circumstances.
@JordanMowat: I disagree. I want to learn how to speak a foreign language like a native, not utter a meaningless string of words. Just translating each word individually with no context whatsoever is useless. If you want to do just that, and learn the individual meaning of each word, look them up one by one in a dictionary.
Duo even has hints that we can hover over. And if we cannot make sense of the French phrase, clicking on the button to read the English equivalent is satisfying, because we can then compare and get a sense of the overall meaning of the phrase.
This is short for " It is better to be late than never to come." but the shortened version is all that is needed for this idiom as long as the word order is not changed. "Better late than never" . Now, it also can mean "It is better to do it late than never to do it at all." http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Better%20late%20than%20never?=100074=t http://dictionnaire.reverso.net/francais-anglais/Mieux%20vaut%20tard%20que%20jamais