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Life skills tip of the week: ways of suggesting something

Macmillan Life Skills: language is a life skillLearning about pragmatics and how to express yourself successfully is a useful life skillsaid Michael Rundell in January when he introduced the new pragmatics series on Macmillan Dictionary. The series is part of the Macmillan Life Skills campaign, offering free resources for English language students and teachers each month.

As part of the series, we’ll bring more useful content and tips from the Macmillan Dictionary on expressing yourself.

This week’s language tip helps with ways of suggesting something:

How about…?/What about…? an informal way of suggesting something
How about/What about going out to dinner tonight?

What if I…? an informal way of suggesting something that you can do to help someone
What if I babysat for you tonight? Then you could both go to the party.

Let’s… an informal way of suggesting to the people you are with something that you could all do together
I know, let’s go swimming!

Why don’t I/you/we/they…? a way of suggesting something when you are introducing a new idea that other people have not thought of
Why don’t you try phoning their office number instead?

What would you say to…?/What do you say I/we…? a way of asking whether someone would accept a suggestion
What would you say to a weekend by the seaside? ♦ What do you say we have dinner at that restaurant by the beach?

Perhaps we/you/they could… a way of suggesting something, especially when you are not completely sure if it is a good idea
Perhaps we could ask Jerry’s father if he has a tent he could lend us?

We/You could always… a way of suggesting something when most other possibilities have already been considered
I suppose we could always go to the cinema instead.

May/Can I suggest…? a polite and formal way of suggesting something
May I suggest that we postpone discussing this until the next meeting?

May/Can/Could I make a suggestion? a way of suggesting something, often used when interrupting people who are already discussing what to do
Could I make a suggestion? Why don’t we put all the guests on the first floor and then everyone will be happy?

I suggest… a way of suggesting something in a slightly annoyed way, especially when you think someone has been silly or has done something wrong
In future, I suggest you ask your father’s permission before you borrow his car.

Would you like to learn more about pragmatics? Keep a close eye on our pragmatics page; we’ll publish the second life skills lesson plan next week. For more information about Life Skills, visit the Macmillan Life Skills page.

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