What is the difference between "better" and "better off"?
Very good question. Being "better off" means that someone or something other than yourself are better for you. That is, you're able to be happier, or in a better situation/condition. In the case of this clip, being "better off closing the books" means that your life would be better or your situation would be better if you closed the book. Note the distinction however, your life is better, not you yourself. "Being better", means being superior in some way. That is, being smarter, stronger, kinder, etc. So if you were "better" with the books closed, it would imply that you have improved yourself somehow by closing the book. For example, having the book open made you a less patient person or made you ill and now that the book is gone you are better compared to others or capable of doing more than you could before. The key difference here is that "better" by itself has a meaning of superiority in some aspects. It is a change within a person or object which is "better". When adding "off" the meaning changes to having a benefit for the person. The person is unchanged only their circumstances or situation is improved. Ex: I would have been better off staying home today. This was a waste of time. Ex: I would have been better staying home today. I feel really sick now. Ex: I am better off than my sister. I live in a really nice home and have a great job. Ex: I am better than my sister. She's a terrible tennis player.
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