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Pre-intermediate Intermediate Upper Intermediate Advanced

-(I think/I really think) -Have you tried ...? -... might work. -(If I was/were) in that -... is worth a try.
you need to/must/should.. -I (would) (strongly) -... would probably work. --(that kind of) situation, -A (self-help) book I read
-How about ...? suggest/advise that ... -... (always) works for me. I'd ... recommends ...
-It is usually a good idea -If I was/were you, -If I was/were in your -place, -Have you thought about -A piece of advice from ...
to ... I'd ... I'd ... ...? that I'd like to pass on is
-My suggestion/advice is -In my experience, ... -If that happened to me/In that -If it was/were me, I'd ... to ...
(to) ... works really well. case/If I had that problem, I'd ... -Make sure you -A wise man once said ...
-Why don't you ...? -My (main/personal) (don't) ...
-It's generally best/a -As the proverb says, ...
-You could (try) ... recommendation is/would be ... -The sooner you ... the
good idea to... -I can't recommend ...
-You -You'd better ... better.
probably/definitely/really -One idea is to ... -In this (kind of) situation, I -Whatever you do, ... strongly enough.
should ... -One thing you (would) always -Your only option is -You should ..., no doubt
could/should/have to recommend/advise ... to ... about it.
do is ... -You have no choice but -It might be an old wives'
-The best/most to ... tale, but ...
important thing (to
do) is to ...

Asking for and Giving advice


Asking for advice: Giving advice Declining to give advice
I've got a bad toothache. What do If I were you, I would go to the dentist. I don't know what to advise, I'm
you suggest? Why don't you go to the dentist? afraid.
What do you advise me to do? You'd better brush your teeth regularly. I wish I could suggest
What should I do? You ought to/should avoid eating sweets. something, but I can't.
What ought I to do? If you take my advice, you'll go to the dentist. I wish I could help.
What's your advice? It might be a good idea to brush your teeth on a regular basis. I'm afraid I can't really help you.
If you were me what would you do? I advise you to brush your teeth on a regular basis.
What do you think I should do? Have you thought about seeing a dentist?
Do you think that I should? If I were in your shoes/position I would
You had better/ youd better..
You should

Your only option is to.
Have you tried?
Giving Advice
There are several different structures that you can use when giving advice


This is probably the most common of the structures for giving advice. After should, and its negative - shouldn't - we use the base form of the
infinitive of the verb: You should wise up. We shouldnt cheat
It is common to use 'I think' and 'I dont think' with should: I think you should put the answers back. She doesn't think they should use them

Had better :

This structure is common in spoken English and it is usually used in the contracted form. After had better, and its negative - had better not, we
use the base form of the infinitive of the verb : You'd better return the answers to the lecturer. You'd better not tell anyone that you found them

If I were you This version of the second conditional is often used when giving advice, especially in spoken English. Note the use of were with I in
the first clause.
After would and wouldnt, we use the base form of the infinitive of the verb: If I were you, Id give them back to the lecturer
If I were you, I wouldnt use the answers

Ought This is the most formal of the structures used for giving advice, and so it isn't so common.
After ought, and its negative - ought not (oughtn't), we use the full infinitive of the verb: You ought to contact the police. You ought not to
cheat in exams

Layla: Thanks for meeting with me during your lunch hour. I appreciate it.
Monica: No problem. Im happy to help.. Whats going on?
Layla: Oh you know, the usual. Should I take this new job? Or do I stick with my current one?
Monica: Well, I think its time for a change, dont you? They pay you late and you are unhappy.
Layla: Do you really think so?
Monica: I know so. And Ive been listening to you complain for over a year now. Trust me. Take the job. What do you have to lose?

Let's Should
Why don't we...? Why don't you
Shall we...? How about
Fancy...? Must/Have to
what/how about...? If I were you
We could (always) You'd better
It would be nice to... You'd be crazy to
..., What do you think? It's high time you

You should go to the doctor, hell tell
LETS + bare infinitive you what to do
Im bored. Lets play a video game or something You shouldnt go to bed so late, you
Hey, lets go for a walk need more sleep


WHY DONT WE...? I know its difficult to find, but why
Why dont we have another beer? Im so thirsty dont you look on the Internet?
Why dont we look for a better beach? This one is packed with people Why dont you wait here for a
moment, Im sure she will be back very
SHALL WE? soon
Shall we go for a walk? I need to talk to you
Shall we stay at home? Im so tired HOW ABOUT + ING (or YOU + bare
WHAT/HOW ABOUT? + ing or noun You look bored. How about going for a
What about taking a taxi? I cant give another step walk? We could go to the river.
Do you want to watch a movie? How about Forrest Gump? How about you stay here and I go and
look for help?

MILD MUST/HAVE TO [strong advice]
You must go to the doctor immediately, that
FANCY + ing (colloquial) looks serious.
Fancy seeing a film tonight? You have to take her to that movie, shes
Do you fancy playing tennis tomorrow? going to love it.

IF I WERE YOU (+ would)

... HOW ABOUT YOU? If I were you, Id send her an e-mail saying
Id love some pizza. How about you? sorry
I prefer to stay at home tonight. How about you? If I were you, I wouldnt buy that book

WE COULD (ALWAYS)... YOUD BETTER (not) + bare infinitive

Oh, its raining. We could always stay at home and watch television (colloquial often: YOU BETTER...)
Flying to Hawaii is too expensive, but we could always think of some island near here. Youd better not call her now, she must be too
We could go to Italy this summer, they say its very nice there angry with you
You better come to my house and ask my
-ING + IS ONE IDEA father
Having the party in the garden is one idea
Telling Sam is one idea. Or we can also tell Mike
That girl is wonderful. Youd be crazy not to
love her
IT WOULD BE NICE TO... The house you showed me is so expensive.
It would be nice to go to the swimming pool this afternoon Youd be crazy to buy it.
I think it would be nice to have another drink, dont you think?
ITS HIGH TIME YOU (+ simple past)
... WHAT DO YOU THINK? You cant be with that job all your life. Its
Peter wants us to go to his party. What do you think? high time you started looking for a new job.
We can call your brother and go out. What do you think? I think its high time we went home, its too

SUGGEST (+ that you (should) )

RESPONDING TO A SUGGESTION I suggest that you eat more vegetables
I suggest that you should take a holiday, you

look so tired
Ok / Fine / Sure / Alright
Thats a good idea IMPERATIVES (start, stop, try, consider...) +
That sounds good ing
Sounds like a great idea Stop drinking so much coffee, its not healthy
Sounds good to me Start going to the gym
Try talking to him, you may convince him
Consider buying a new bicycle and give the
old one to your little brother
Notes: In British English Advice is the
Nah noun, Advise is the verb
Sorry, I cant / I dont like it / I dont think its a good idea He always gives very good advice.
What? You must be kidding!
I advise you to buy the cheaper one
No way
"Advice" is an uncountable noun, so you cant
Uhm... Cant we think of something different?
Thats a good idea but... say an advice, you must say some advice or
Id love to, but... a piece of advice
That would be great, but... Ill give you some advice, if you want to listen
That was only a piece of advice, not an order

When refusing it is very usual to give a reason or an excuse, for example:

- Shall we go to the theatre tonight? Its a very good play.

- No, sorry. Im not much of a theatre man. I cant stay still for so long.
- Sounds good, but tonight I have plans already. Maybe some other time. TIP: many people dont like getting advice
if they haven't asked for it! To avoid giving the
wrong impression, you can try some of these
It is also common to give an alternative. For this, we often use INSTEAD /nsted/:
I think you should tell your parents
- Why don't we go to the movies tomorrow night?
- Tomorrow night? No, let's go for a drink instead You could always tell your parents

Have you considered telling your
- Shall we go for a walk? I need to talk with you. Have you thought about telling your
- Well, why don't we stay at home instead? We can talk over a cup of coffee. parents?
Here is an example of a conversation: Perhaps we could tell your parents
In your position, I would tell your parents
You should perhaps tell your parents
It may be a good idea to... tell your parents
- Tomorrows Saturday. Why dont we do something interesting? Maybe you can... tell your parents
- Thats a good idea. How about going to the beach?
- Uhm... sorry, I dont like beaches too much, I prefer something quieter.
- Ok then, we could go to the forest and have a picnic there. I think you shouldnt tell your parents
- Sounds good. Shall we tell Mike and Kelly?
- Oh, I dont think its a good idea. I think it would be nice to go just the two of us for a Do you think it's a good idea to tell your
change. parents?
- Ok, no problem. We can go next to the river, what do you think? Are you sure its a good idea to... tell your
- Oh, why dont we go to the mountain side? Theres a nice restaurant there. parents?
- Sorry, but I prefer a picnic, I want to be outdoors, not inside a room again. I dont know if its a good idea to... tell your
- Alright, its fine with me. parents
I dont know about you, but I would
Of course, if you are talking to a close friend or family, you can use more informal and less never... tell your parents
polite alternatives: Maybe you should think twice if youre going
to... tell your parents
- Hey Tom, lets go and have a drink with Mike and Calvin Im not so sure about... telling your parents
- What? Are you nuts? No way man, last time I went out with them I got a nervous And, of course, we can also use the positive
breakdown. You go with them if you want to, Ill phone Jessy. phrases in the negative:
- Ok, ok, we can go with Jessy then, I dont mind. Shall we go to the theatre?
You could always not... tell your parents
- Man, youre so out of fashion sometimes. What about a nice cool disco club?
Have you considered not... telling your
- Fine, sounds good. Fancy a pizza before partying?
- Sure man, sounds great to me. It would be nice to tell Megan too. parents?
- That would be great, but you know she doesnt like pizza, so well probably end up going It may be a good idea not to... tell your
to a burger instead. parents
- Yea, youre right. Lets only tell Jessy and then we can meet Megan later. etc
- Good idea. Lets do that.
- Cool. See you later then.