In English, there are various ways of giving advice. The most widely used methods include using modal verbs. Common modal verbs used for advice are “should” and “ought to”. “Had better” is intended for more urgent suggestions. Let’s look at different ways to give advice in English.
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The most common way to give advice is to use “should”. “Should” is a true modal helping verb so it is always followed by the base form of the verb and stays the same for all persons.
- Max: I don’t feel well since this morning.
- Tom: You should go see your doctor.
- Max: I’m going to play soccer with Tom after school.
- Mom: You should take your water bottle. Make sure you stay hydrated.
- Mom: I think I hurt my back when I lifted grocery bags.
- Tom: You should see your doctor if the pain continues.
We can also use “ought” to give advice. Please read “ought or ought to or ought not” for more information on “ought.“
We can also use “had better” to give advice. Both “had better” and “had better not” are followed by the base form of the verb and stay the same for all persons. We usually use these forms when speaking. We also prefer the contracted form.
- Tom: Can I borrow $300? I will pay it back as soon as I get my paycheck.
- Dad: Is it for your car payments? You’d better pay your bills on time to avoid late fees. Here, take $300. By the way, the tires look flat. You’d better check your tire pressure before leaving for work.
If I were you…
We also use the second conditional when giving advice. We often use this in spoken English.
If I were …, I would….
If I were …., I would not…
I would (and the contraction I’d) is followed by the base form of the verb. I would not (and the contraction I wouldn’t) is also followed by the base form of the verb.
- Mom: I can’t read the words on my phone. The letters are too small.
- Tom: If I were you, I’d enlarge the font.
- Tom: Where is my phone? I can’t find it!
- Mom: If I were you, I’d look in the bathroom. You always leave it there.
- Mom: I’m not sure if I should buy an SUV this time.
- Dad: If I were you, I’d not do that. That SUV looks to big to drive safely.
More way of giving advice in English with examples
Using “why don’t you…”:
- Why don’t you join the gym?
- Why don’t you try this recipe for your turkey?
Using “how about…”:
- How about a short nap?
- How about visiting the museum?
Using imperatives for direct suggestions:
- Take a day off.
- Read this book; it’s excellent.
Using “you might want to…” (less direct than “should”):
- You might want to reconsider your decision.
- You might want to check the instructions again.
- Consider seeing a specialist.
- Consider taking up a hobby.
Using “I advise you to…” (more formal):
- I advise you to consult with an expert.
- I advise you to revise your notes.
We live in a society where we don’t appreciate advice. Not just unsolicited advice, but also genuine advice. The best rule is “Don’t advise anyone unless the person asks for it.” But, you really need to, remember the way you give advice should depend on your relationship with the listener and the cultural context. In some situations, direct advice may be appreciated, while in others, it’s better to be indirect or suggestive. Always consider the listener’s feelings and the appropriateness of the advice in the given situation.
Is it giving advice or advise?
Giving advice is correct. “Advice” is a noun (e.g., “I gave her some advice.”). “Advise” is a verb (e.g., “I advise you to study more.”).
How do you give advice without sounding like a know-it-all?
Before advising anyone, ask yourself if the person really wants advice or just needs someone who can listen. Always listen first and ask open-ended questions to understand the situation better. When speaking, use phrases that suggest, such as “Perhaps you might consider…” or “What are your thoughts on…” and so on. Your goal is to give suggestions, not answers. Respect the individual’s ability to make their own decision. Hope this helps.
Which sentence can be used for giving advice?
Please read all examples used in this article. As an example, a sentence like “You might want to think about getting more sleep” can be used for giving advice.
What is the most common way to give advice?
The most common way to give advice in English is using the modal verb “should.”