For some reason, students are compelled to use the word 方 excessively.
方 has two readings: ほう and かた. The primary reading to be used is ほう. However, some space will be devoted to かた at the end. The general sense of 方 is to show a meaning of “direction”. This usage can easily be ascertained if you see particles like へ after it. Most of its usages are spin-offs of this concept.
To look her direction/way.
To walk towards the gate.
Is your work doing fine?
Nuance Note: This is still ほう and is used to make the statement more indirect. This is very common in business honorifics and in the honorific speech of young people.
方がいい means “best to…” and with verbs, you should use the past tense, and with adjectives or the negative, you should use the non-past tense. However, this can still be used with the non-past of verbs, and いい can be replaced with phrases like 賢明だ (wise).
～方がいい is used in the written and spoken language. It is often used in daily conversation, but it is often used by Japanese learners when giving suggestions/advice, which may lead some Japanese to smirk.
Non-past ＋方がいい is primarily used with one’s in-group as it is used a lot in situations where you are giving direct advice on what is best to do. Past＋方がいい is felt to be more euphemistic and is often used towards one’s out-group. However, some people have personal preferences for one or the other.
It'd be best to go right now.
It's best to sleep.
You'd better think that over.
It's best to put on sunblock before swimming.
8. 卵は食べない方がいい。 (Contrasting and or highlighting)
It's best to not eat eggs.
Since there are only but a few stores that are open, it's best to buy food now.
It is best for him to go there.
It's best to exercise every day.
Nuance Note: Even when there is not one mentioned, this pattern implies a comparison and choice between things. It may sound pushy depending on the context as it can be used to impose your will/thought. When you want to make a simple suggestion, you can use ～たらいい.
Again, other things than just いい may also appear in this fashion.
I think that it is effective to meet with the said person and directly talk together (about it).
Non-Past + 方がいい
It is also worth noting that when you use the pattern "Non-past＋方がいい", there could be several things that are good to do in the said situation, but you pick one as an example of being good.
Occasionally, it is good to call it to mind.
～がよい is more so an order than a suggestion. It also uses older grammar. Here, the 連体形 is used as a noun without aid with something like の. This is called連体形準体法 in Japanese.
You had better do it.
～方: How to...
Following the 連用形 of a verb, ～方 means "how to...". Sometimes this may not show up in translation. For instance, 読み方 may very well be able to be translated as "how to read", but it can also be sufficiently translated as "reading" depending on context.
I can't stand the way my little brother smiles.
Do you know how to write Japanese well?
I don't know which reading I'm supposed to use.
That's a hideous way to talk.
20. しかたがありません。(Set Phrase)
It can't be helped.
Could you teach me an easy way to remember?
After nouns it shows a person in charge. This may also be used to show who is the caretaker or overseer of another person. In this case, 方 is read as がた.
22a.会計方 （Rare; literary)
22b. 会計士 （Common)
Person in charge of finances
23. 調査（方）を依頼する。(With 方: Very rare)
To request investigation.
Mr. Shinji Abe under the care of Mr. Yamada.
It may also show approximate time/degree. This usage really isn't used that much. However, in expressions where a more generic word is used, it is more common. This usage is also read as がた.
25b. 約8割 (More common)
Approximately one eighths
26a. 夜明け方 (Literary)
26b. 夜明け時 (Literary and less common)
26c. 夜明け頃 (More spoken)
In family terms, ～かた is equivalent to "side".
One's maternal grandmother
～に越したことはない（が） means "can never...too much" and is used in giving common sense advice. The verb 越す has meanings all related to the idea of "surpassing". This phrase is used to show that nothing beats doing X. So, when young people use it in certain situations, it can make them sound arrogant.
If turned into ～に越したことはなかった, you end up showing regret. This is because you recognize what was the best thing to do, but you didn't do it. Lastly, this pattern directly follows nouns or 形容動詞 or the 連体形 of verbs and 形容詞.
It's always best to have an umbrella.
Nothing would have beat saving, but I got to enjoy life a little.
You can never be too careful, but isn't wearing an outfit like that too showy?