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.

Making, accepting, and rejecting suggestions
Making, accepting, and rejecting suggestions

Making suggestions

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?

Why don’t…?

You can also make suggestions with the negative question phrase why don’t…? It usually goes with the Present Simple Tense.

For example:

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

Shall I/we…?

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.

For example:

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.

For example:

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.

Making, accepting, and rejecting suggestions
Making, accepting, and rejecting suggestions

Accepting suggestions

We can use the following phrases to accept suggestions:

Good/great/excellent… idea!
That sounds good/great…
It’s not a bad idea,
I’d love to!

For example:

“Shall we go for a walk?”, “Yes, it’s an excellent idea.”
“How about watching a film?”, “Sounds good to me!”

 Making, accepting, and rejecting suggestions
Making, accepting, and rejecting suggestions

Rejecting suggestions

Sorry, I can’t.
I’d prefer/rather…
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.

For example:

“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.”

Similar posts:

Making, Accepting and Refusing Invitations

Asking for and Giving Permission

Asking for, Giving and Responding to Advice

Asking for Clarification in English

Ways to Complain in English

How to express your opinion in English

Polite Requests in English

Here is a great podcast by VOA Learning English to help you understand this topic even better:

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Making, Accepting and Refusing Invitations - My Lingua Academy · 1 Jan 2022 at 10:43 am

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