How To Give Advice In English – 5 Simple Expressions

Giving advice is great, but how do you do that in English. How do native speakers give advice in English? Today I will show you the most common expressions used in English to give advice to people. 

Use a modal verb

When giving advice in English, we usually use modal verbs. Especially “should” and “ought to”. They mean the same thing but there are some slight differences in terms of Grammar.

When we use should, it is usually used with a basic verb. For example:

  • You should eat more healthily
  • You should stop smoking
  • You should try yoga

When it comes to ought to, we use ought + to + verb. Like this:

  • You ought to clean your room
  • You ought to tell her how you feel
  • You ought to return that library book you borrowed in 1997.

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Ask a question

Sometimes, rather than giving advice directly, we ask a question. It is not really a question, it is advice that is pretending to be a question. 

When we do this, we use expressions like “why don’t you + verb” or “how about + verb-ing” For example:

  • Why don’t you try studying before the test next time?
  • How about asking your boss for a pay-rise?

This is a little softer and less direct that giving advice to people directly. If you are enjoying this, how about following me on Instagram for daily English content?

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Put yourself in their position

When we give advice in English, sometimes we like to imagine what we would do if we were in that situation. 

If this is the case, you can use expressions like “If I were you, I would…” or “If I were in your shoes, I would…”

  • If I were you, I would try to buy tickets in advance
  • If I were in your shoes, I wouldn’t be late for the job interview

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Make a suggestion

This is a pretty soft way of giving advice. We are not telling someone what to do, we are just offering possible ideas that they can consider.

We usually use words like “suggest” or “recommend”. Like this:

  • I suggest studying for at least 10 minutes per day.
  • I recommend listening to podcasts to practice your listening skills.

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Be Direct

Sometimes, we want to be more direct when giving advice, especially if it is about something important. 

You can use the expression “You have better + verb”

  • You’d better clean this mess up before your dad gets home.
  • You had better study harder if you want to pass the TOEIC test.

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