Making, accepting, and rejecting suggestions in English
Have you ever wanted to make a suggestion in English but you weren’t sure how to do it correctly? In this lesson, we’ll learn some effective phrases to help you do that.
Let’s get started.
How about… /what about…?
How about and what about are very useful informal phrases. They normally go with a subject or a gerund.
Look at these examples:
How about/what about we go to the swimming pool? It’s so hot today.
How about/what about going to the swimming pool? It’s so hot today.
It’s Thelma’s birthday tomorrow. What are we going to get her?
How about/what about we get her a watch?
How about/what about getting her a watch?
You can also make suggestions with the negative question phrase why don’t…? It usually goes with the Present Simple Tense.
Why don’t they come to Greece with us?
Why doesn’t she go to the dentist?
Why don’t you take a painkiller and go to bed?
Making, accepting, and rejecting suggestions
The phrase shall I/we…? is more formal than the previously explained ones. Its structure is:
Shall I/we + bare infinitive
Remember that the phrase shall I/we…? can be used only with the first person singular and plural.
It’s raining outside. Shall I take an umbrella?
There is a great film at the Odeon. Shall we go and see it?
You can also use the modal verb could to suggest a solution to a problem.
If your job is too tiring, you could look for a new one.
We could go for a drink after work.
Would you (like)…?
Would you pick me up on your way home?
Would you like to come to the party with me?
Do you want…?
Do you want me to book a holiday for us?
Do you want to help me in the kitchen?
Let’s take time off work and go to the seaside. I need a change of scene.
Let’s invite the Johnsons for dinner on Saturday.
We can use the following phrases to accept suggestions:
That sounds good/great…
It’s not a bad idea,
I’d love to!
“Shall we go for a walk?”, “Yes, it’s an excellent idea.”
“How about watching a film?”, “Sounds good to me!”
Sorry, I can’t.
It’s a good idea, but…
I’m not sure about that.
Remember that, when you reject someone’s suggestion, you should explain your reasons and suggest something else instead.
“Shall we go clubbing tonight?”, “Sorry, I can’t. I promised my parents to stay at home for their anniversary.”
“How about a game of golf?” “It’s a good idea, but I have to go to a business meeting.”
Here is a great podcast by VOA Learning English to help you understand this topic even better:
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