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Making Suggestions in English – Video

by Gina Mares on November 19, 2020 , Comments Off on Making Suggestions in English – Video

In this lesson, you can learn how to make and accept suggestions in English, using the right phrases and vocabulary. You’ll also see how to reject someone else’s suggestion politely.

Making suggestions in English is useful for your everyday English conversation. In social situations, being able to make, accept and reject suggestions politely is important!

QUIZ: How to Make Suggestions

Now, test your knowledge of what you learned in the lesson by trying this quiz. There are 20 questions, which follow the order of the four parts of the lesson. You will get your score at the end, when you can click on ‘View Questions’ to see all the correct answers.

1. How to Make and Accept Suggestions in English

One man making a suggestion to another

Let’s listen to two friends talking together, using suggestions in English. As you listen, think about two questions.

One: what language do they use when making suggestions in English?

Two: what language do they use when accepting suggestions in English?

Ready? Let’s listen to the dialogue.

Sean: It’s a lovely day. Why don’t we go out somewhere?

Kasia: Sure. Why not?

S: How about going for a walk? Maybe along the river?

K: Sounds great.

S: Shall we stop somewhere for some lunch?

K: That’s a good idea.

S: Let’s try that new restaurant by the park.

K: Great. I’m in!

Could you hear all the different ways to make and accept suggestions in English? Let’s look together.

  • Why don’t we go out somewhere?
  • How about going for a walk?
  • Shall we stop somewhere for some lunch?
  • Let’s try that new restaurant by the park.

One of these phrases has a different structure to the other three. Do you know which one?

‘How about’ is different, because you use it with a verb plus -ing. The other three are all followed by infinitive verbs, without ‘to’.

Learn more about verb forms and more with this Oxford Online English lesson: English Sentence Structure.

Let’s practise! Complete these suggestions with your own ideas. Pay attention to the verb form.

  • It’s a beautiful day. Let’s…
  • I’m hungry. How about…
  • I’m free this morning. Why don’t we…
  • There’s a movie on channel 4. Shall we…

What suggestions did you make? Of course, there are many possible answers! Here are some examples.

  • It’s a beautiful day. Let’s go to the beach.
  • I’m hungry. How about going out for a pizza?
  • I’m free this morning. Why don’t we go to the market?
  • There’s a movie on channel 4. Shall we watch it?

Were your suggestions the same as mine?

Now, let’s see phases you can use to accept a suggestion. In the dialogue, you heard.

  • Sure. Why not?
  • Sounds great.
  • That’s a good idea.
  • Great. I’m in!

There are many other phrases you could use. You could just say something simple like ‘yeah’ or ‘yeah, why not?’

If you want to sound a little less casual, you could say something like ‘I would like that’ or ‘That sounds like a good idea.’

But, what if you don’t want to do what the other person is suggesting? Let’s look.

2. How to Reject Suggestions Politely

Sometimes, even though it’s a bit difficult, you have to say ‘no’ to people.

In this case, it’s important to be polite in English, even if you’re talking to a friend.

Let’s see a dialogue which shows you how *not* to do this. Listen and try to find the problems.

Sean: It’s a beautiful day. Shall we go out somewhere?

Kasia: No, I don’t want to.

S: Oh, come on! Why don’t we go for a walk along the river?

K: What an awful idea.

S: Well, let’s go somewhere for some lunch.

K: No, let’s not.

S: Well, how about watching a movie together?

K: Count me out.

What do you think?

You could use phrases like this to reject someone else’s suggestion…

  • No, I don’t want to.
  • What an awful idea.
  • No, let’s not.
  • Count me out.

Woman saying "no"

…but it doesn’t sound polite. So, how could we improve them? Listen again and see the difference.

Sean: It’s a beautiful day. Shall we go out somewhere?

Kasia: I’d rather not, if you don’t mind.

S: Oh, come on! Why don’t we go for a walk along the river?

K: I don’t really feel like it, I’m afraid.

S: Well, let’s go somewhere for some lunch.

K: Maybe another time.

S: Well, how about watching a movie together?

K: Can I take a rain check?

Did you hear the four polite phrases you can use to say ‘no’ to a suggestion?

Let’s look together.

  • I’d rather not, if you don’t mind.
  • I don’t really feel like it, I’m afraid.
  • Maybe another time.
  • Can I take a rain check?

These are polite ways to reject a suggestion.

This phrase – ‘can I take a rain check?’ – means that you want to do something, but not right now. You’ll do it another time.

Now it’s your turn. You’ll hear some suggestions. We’ll leave a short pause after each one. Try to reject our suggestions using polite language. Ready?

It’s a beautiful day. Let’s go to the beach.

I’m hungry. How about going out for a pizza?

I’m free this morning. Why don’t we go to the market?

There’s a movie on channel 4. Shall we watch it?

How did you do? If this was difficult, you can go back and try again. You can also pause the video if you need more time after each suggestion.

Now, let’s look at another point you should consider when rejecting a suggestion.

3. How to Add Reasons to your Rejection

"Be reasonable" sign in a store

Sean: It’s a lovely day. Why don’t we go shopping?

Kasia: Maybe another time. I’ve got a lot to do today.

S: How about going for a walk? Maybe along the river?

K: I don’t really feel like it, I’m afraid. I’m a bit tired.

S: Well, let’s go somewhere for lunch.

K: I’d rather not, if you don’t mind. I’m not very hungry right now.

S: Then how about going to the park?

K: Can I take a rain check? I’m a bit busy at the moment.

When you say ‘no’ to someone’s suggestion, you can sound more polite by adding a reason. Can you remember the reasons you heard in the dialogue?

You heard these.

  • I’ve got a lot to do today.
  • I’m a bit tired.
  • I’m not very hungry right now.
  • I’m a bit busy at the moment.

Now it’s over to you. Like we did before, I’m going to make some suggestions. After you hear each suggestion, pause the video, reject the suggestion politely, and add a reason. Ready to start?

It’s a lovely day. Let’s go for a picnic.

I’m thirsty. How about a cup of tea?

I’m free this afternoon. Why don’t we go to the cinema?

There’s a new restaurant in Queen Street. Shall we go there this evening?

How did you do? Here are some possible reasons you could use.

  • It’s a lovely day. Let’s go for a picnic.
  • I’d rather not, if you don’t mind. I don’t really like picnics that much.
  • I’m thirsty. How about a cup of tea?
  • I don’t really feel like it, I’m afraid. I’m still quite full from dinner.
  • I’m free this afternoon. Why don’t we go to the cinema?
  • Maybe another time. I’m a little busy today.
  • There’s a new restaurant in Queen Street. Shall we go there?
  • Can I take a rain check? I really need to finish my project.

Were any of your reasons the same as mine? If not, don’t worry! There are many possible answers here.

Now, you should know different ways to make, accept and reject suggestions politely in English.

Are we done? Not yet! There’s one more important point.

4. Intonation in Suggestions

When you’re accepting or rejecting a suggestion, intonation is critical. Even if you use correct, polite language, you can still sound unfriendly if your intonation is not right.

Compare two answers.

  • Shall we go shopping?

[deadpan] That’s a good idea.

[enthusiastic] That’s a good idea!

Can you hear it? The same words can have a completely different meaning if you change the intonation.

When you’re rejecting a suggestion, try to sound a little apologetic.

Now, I’m going to reject a suggestion twice, using different intonation. Listen; which answer has the correct, apologetic intonation?

[apologetic] I can’t, I’m afraid. I’ve got some work to do.

[deadpan] I can’t, I’m afraid. I’ve got some work to do.

Could you hear? Which one sounded more polite?

The first answer had polite intonation. The second answer didn’t, and could sound unfriendly.

Learn a little more about polite intonation with this article: Want to be Polite? Learn English Intonation.

Now it’s your turn to practise. You’ll hear four suggestions. After each one, either accept it, or reject it. Focus on using polite intonation. This is also a great chance to check if you remember all the language from this lesson! Ready?

It’s a lovely day. Let’s go for a picnic.

I’m thirsty. How about a cup of tea?

I’m free this afternoon. Why don’t we go to the cinema?

There’s a new restaurant in Queen Street. Shall we go there?

How did you get on? Did you manage to sound enthusiastic or apologetic? It’s not always easy to judge your own intonation, so you might want to ask someone else if you sound natural.

Although polite intonation is important, you don’t want to overdo it. It will sound weird.

That’s everything for the topic of making suggestions in English. Thanks for watching!

Gina MaresMaking Suggestions in English – Video

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