Learn How to Make a Suggestion in English

Teen in New York City
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Learning how to make a suggestion is a good way to improve your English conversational skills. People make suggestions when they're deciding what to do, offering advice, or helping a visitor. By role-playing with a friend or classmate, you can practice making suggestions and challenge your knowledge of the language. You'll need to know how to tell time, ask for direction, and hold a basic conversation for this exercise.

What Shall We Do?

In this exercise, two friends are trying to decide what to do for the weekend. By making suggestions, Jean and Chris make a decision that they're both happy with.

Jean: Hi Chris, would you like to do something with me this weekend?

Chris: Sure. What shall we do?

Jean: I don't know. Do you have any ideas?

Chris: Why don't we see a film?

Jean: That's sounds good to me. Which film shall we see?

Chris: Let's see "Action Man 4".

Jean: I'd rather not. I don't like violent films. How about going to "Mad Doctor Brown"? I hear it's quite a funny film.

Chris: OK. Let's go see that. When is it on?

Jean: It's on at 8 p.m. at the Rex. Shall we have a bite to eat before the film?

Chris: Sure, that sounds great. What about going to that new Italian restaurant Michetti's?

Jean: Great idea! Let's meet there at 6.

Chris: OK. I'll see you at Michetti's at 6. Bye.

Jean: Bye.

Chris: See you later!

More Practice

Once you've mastered the dialogue above, challenge yourself with some additional role-playing exercises. What suggestions would you make if a friend said to you:

  • Why don't you/we go to the movies tonight?
  • You / we could visit New York while you're / we're there.
  • Let's go to the travel agent's this afternoon to book our ticket.
  • What about asking your brother for help?
  • How about going to Hawaii for your vacation?
  • I suggest you/we take all the factors into consideration before we decide.

Before answering, think about your response. What will you suggest? What related information should you tell your friend? Think about necessary details, such as time or location.

Key Vocabulary

If you're being asked to make a decision, that request usually comes in the form of a request. If someone else has made a decision and they want your option, it may be made as a statement instead. For example: 

  • Would you like to ...?
  • (What) shall we go...?
  • Let's go...
  • Why don't we go...
  • How about going...
  • What about going...

In the above examples, the first uses the base verb in the form of a question. The next three (shall, let's, why) are also followed by the base form of the verb. The last two examples (how, what) are followed by the "ing" form of the verb.