One great thing about learning a language is that, once we have the tools, we can share our experience to help those around us by offering our best advice. It’s important to be able to do this in various ways, depending on the situation.
In this article, we are going to highlight several ways this can be done, with a focus on the differences between formal and informal ways of offering advice. If the person asking you for advice is your boss or someone you don’t know very well, you probably don’t want to use informal language. Conversely, if the person is a close friend, feel free to tell them how you see things and don’t worry about formality. Let’s have a closer look at three ways we can give advice.
1. If I were you, I would tell them how you feel.
This structure is a popular way of giving advice and is known as the second conditional. By imagining yourself as the person you are communicating with, this form allows you to tell the listener what you would do in their situation. It is much softer than saying the imperative “tell them how you feel”, and much more sympathetic than saying “you should tell them how you feel.”
2. You could try telling them how you feel.
This is another polite and soft way of giving advice and is more appropriate for people you don’t know that well, or if you are giving advice on a sensitive topic.
Notice the structure: Subject + the modal verb could + try in the base form + a gerund….
3. Whatever you do, don’t keep silent. Tell them how you feel!
Save this for those times you really want to emphasize the importance of your advice. This form is usually used with people we are closer with and is generally much more informal. Always be mindful of the situation you are in. If things seem low-key and relaxed feel free to use this when giving advice.
For more information on ways of giving advice check out this video link and make sure to tune into ILAC radio’s podcast below: