Watch this video:
What do you think the main message of this parody is?
- If you have a credit card, you can buy everything you want.
- You shouldn’t buy things if you don’t have the money to do it.
- If you know how to get the money, buy whatever you want.
[Key: b) You shouldn’t buy things if you don’t have the money to do it.]
What way of giving advice is most heard in the video?
- If I were you….
- You should….
- You’d better…
[Key: b) You should...]
Giving advice in English may seem a difficult task at the beginning; there are different ways to do it and you need to know how each sentence structure works. The following chart gives you an overview of all of them.
|You can give advice by using a modal verb as should and ought to. Both mean approximately the same thing but work in slightly different ways.
As you can see, we always use the infinitive without to with should; whereas with ought, we always use to.
You should study more.
You shouldn’t go out every night.
You ought to study more.
You ought not to go out every night.
|To be less direct, you can use questions to make people feel more comfortable about the advice you are giving them.||
Why don’t you study more?
How about studying more?
|Sometimes it’s useful to imagine yourself in that person’s position. To do it, we are going to use the second conditional structure.||If I were you, I would study more.|
|A suggestion is another good (and indirect) way of giving advice. We use the words suggest or recommend followed by the verb in gerund.||
I would suggest studying more.
I would recommend studying more.
|Sometimes we need to make our advice stronger to make the listener react. We use the expression you had better… to do it.
We use an infinitive after better to explain our advice and add not after better to make the sentence negative.
You had better study more before you fail everything.
You’d better not go out every night or you’ll fail everything.