This question accepts both "No, better not." and "No, not better." as an answer.
To me, the first sentence sounds like "No!, you better not do that!" and while as the second sounds more like "No, this ( book, movie, or whatever ) is not better.".
Does this sentence apply to both of those situations?
This is a poor example. In English " better not" is an admonition. Not better is a comparison. It is unclear which one translates.
"No, better not" makes sense for colloquial english if you are warning someone against doing something. The "you" and "had" are implied - the entire phrase would be "no, you had better not!"
It's also a problem because if it's being used as an admonition "better not" is rarely used without describing who shouldn't. As in "No, we'd better not" or "No, you'd better not" "No, better not" just sounds like unidiomatic English to me. Any other native English speakers have a different take?
Native English (north UK) speaker here. I rarely specify the who. I might say "you'd better not" as a stronger warning. But usually "no, better not" is a reply to something so the who is obvious from context
"No, it isn't better" does not mean the same as "No, better not." Better not is roughly the same as saying "We shouldn't".
"No, it isn't better" example:
- Would you say Pepsi is better than Coke?
- No, it isn't better.
"No, better not" example:
- I think we should beat up Harper.
- No, (we) better not. We'd likely get arrested.
Hope that helps!
so how would one phrase these different sentences in German, or would the context take care of it?
Would you say Pepsi is better than Coke? No, it isn't better. (Doch!)
I think we should beat up Harper. No, (we) better not. We'd likely get arrested. (Doch!)
In English, "Better not" leaves some words out. In full, it would be something more like "We had better not" or "You had better not", implying that it would be unwise to do something.
I believe it was once spelled that way, but many uses of the eszett were phased out in favor of the "ss" letters as part of the 1996 spelling reform.
It's only bessere if it comes before a noun, and based on the gender of that noun and whether it has a definite article alongside it.
i.e. "Das ist eine bessere Katze", but "Das ist ein besseres Auto"
"Das sind bessere Autos", but "Ich fahre mit einem besseren Auto"
Also, "Das Auto ist besser" (No ending because it's not an attributive adjective)
Here's a useful resource:
If you used this phrasing, could it be equivalent to the "better not" in English that means "No, you'd better not"? or "better not do it"?