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Why don't you
How about
Must/Have to
If I were you
You'd better
You'd be crazy to
It's high time you

tip: careful advice

Advice on how to give people good advice

Level: Level: Medium

Good Advice: advice and suggestions

Giving advice and making suggestions are two different language functions, but in real life they often go together. If you are only interested in suggestions, CLICK HERE. Let’s see here some very common constructions you can use to give advice to a friend.

     You should go to the doctor, he’ll tell you what to do
     You shouldn’t go to bed so late, you need more sleep

     I know it’s difficult to find, but why don’t you look on the Internet?
     Why don’t you wait here for a moment, I’m sure she will be back very soon

HOW ABOUT + ING (or YOU + bare infinitive)
     You look bored. How about going for a walk? We could go to the river.
     How about you stay here and I go and look for help?

MUST/HAVE TO [strong advice]
     You must go to the doctor immediately, that looks serious.
     You have to take her to that movie, she’s going to love it.

IF I WERE YOU (+ would)
     If I were you, I’d send her an e-mail saying sorry
     If I were you, I wouldn’t buy that book

(not) + bare infinitive (colloquial often: YOU BETTER...)
     You’d better not call her now, she must be too angry with you
     You better come to my house and ask my father

     That girl is wonderful. You’d be crazy not to love her
     The house you showed me is so expensive. You’d be crazy to buy it.

(+ simple past)
     You can’t be with that job all your life. It’s high time you started looking for a new job.
     I think it’s high time we went home, it’s too late.

SUGGEST (+ that you (should) )
     I suggest that you eat more vegetables
     I suggest that you should take a holiday, you look so tired

IMPERATIVES (start, stop, try, consider...) + ing
     Stop drinking so much coffee, it’s not healthy
     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 noun, Advise is the verb
     He always gives very good advice.
     I advise you to buy the cheaper one
"Advice" is an uncountable noun, so you can’t say “an advice”, you must say “some advice” or “a piece of advice”
    I’ll give you some advice, if you want to listen
    That was only a piece of advice, not an order


TIP: many people don’t like getting advice if they haven't asked for it! To avoid giving the wrong impression, you can try some of these expressions:

I think you should tell your parents

     You could always… tell your parents
     Have you considered… telling your parents?
     Have you thought about… telling your parents?      
     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
     Maybe you can... tell your parents

I think you shouldn’t tell your parents

     Do you think it's a good idea to… tell your parents?
     Are you sure it’s a good idea to... tell your parents?
     I don’t know if it’s a good idea to... tell your parents
     I don’t know about you, but I would never... tell your parents
     Maybe you should think twice if you’re going to... tell your parents
     I’m not so sure about... telling your parents
And, of course, we can also use the positive phrases in the negative:
     You could always not... tell your parents
     Have you considered not... telling your parents?
     It may be a good idea not to... tell your parents


But remember: when giving good advice, strategy is even more important than language. Here is some advice about when and how to give advice.

First of all, make sure that the person who is talking to you is actually soliciting advice.
1    Listen carefully to the person asking for advice. Every situation is unique.
2    Put yourself in their shoes (imagine it is you living their problem in their situation).
3    Think about the consequences of taking your advice.
4    Empathize. The other person reaction will not be just rational, but also emotional.
5    Brainstorm to get good ideas.
6    Be honest about the good and bad things of your advice.
7    Set a good example. If you don’t follow your own advice, nobody will listen to you.
8    Understand that that person may or may not take your advice, it’s their choice.
Asking for advice

To read about these 8 rules in more detail, GO TO THIS PAGE.


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