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Giving Advice

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Giving advice refers to when we tell other people what we think could help them. The most common way to give advice is by using the modal verb 'should'. There are also other forms including, 'ought to' and 'had better' which are more formal. You can also use the second conditional to give advice.

There are a number of formulas used when giving advice in English. Here are some of the most common:

  • You should see a doctor.
  • I don't think you should work so hard.
  • You ought to work less.
  • You ought not to work so hard.
  • If I were you, I'd work less.
  • If I were in your position, I'd work less.
  • If I were in your shoes, I'd work less.
  • You had better work less.
  • You shouldn't work so hard.
  • Whatever you do, don't work so hard.

After you study these constructions, take the giving advice quiz to check your understanding.

More English Functions

Disagreeing
Contrasting Ideas
Making Complaints
Asking for Information
Giving Advice
Guessing
Being Imprecise or Vague
Saying 'No' Nicely
Showing Preferences
Making Suggestions
Offering Help
Giving Warning
Demanding Explanations

Construction

Formula Verb Form

I don't think you should work so hard.

Use 'I don't think you should' the base form of the verb in a statement.

You ought to work less.

Use 'You ought to' the base form of the verb in a statement.

You ought not to work so hard.

Use 'You ought not to' the base form of the verb in a statement.

If I were you,
If I were in your position,
If I were in your shoes,
I wouldn't work so hard.

Use 'If I were' 'you' OR 'in your position' OR 'your shoes' 'I wouldn't' OR 'I would' base form of the verb in a statement (A form of the conditional 2).

You had better work less.

Use 'You had better' (you'd better) the base form of the verb in a statement.

You shouldn't OR You should work less.

Use 'You should' OR 'You shouldn't' the base form of the verb in a statement.

Whatever you do, don't work so hard.

Use 'Whatever you do' the imperative.

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  7. ESL Students: How to Give Advice With the "Should" Verb

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