The most common ways of giving advice in English use ‘should,’ ‘could,’ ‘would,’ ‘ought to,’ or ‘must’:
It’s also possible to give indirect advice using questions like “Have you considered…?” or “What about…?”
There are many more examples of how to use these and other helping verbs at Using Helping Verbs to Give Advice.
This page suggests some other ways of giving advice and emphasizing what’s important. Then there’s a chance to practice using the expressions on both pages. Complete a practice conversation between a discharge nurse and a patient. (It gives you more examples of common expressions we use to encourage someone to make changes.)
Here are some ways to make suggestions in English. We often use
Imperatives don’t need a subject. (“You” is implied.) Imperatives give instructions (or orders) to someone under your authority. They're stronger than advice. Friends and family members may also use imperatives to each other as they are clear and fast:
(* ‘You’d better’ is a contraction for ‘you had better.’ ‘I’d’ can be a contraction for either ‘I had’ or more often ‘I would,’ depending on the context. He'd, she'd, you'd, we'd, and they'd can also be contractions for 'had' or more often 'would.' )
‘Must’ is an emphatic helping verb. (Don't use it for suggestions that aren't important!) Other ways to underline the importance of your advice include starting:
“Mr. Rodriguez, this medicine could damage your stomach. It’s essential to take it with food. If you start to feel stomach pain, be sure to call our office right away.”
or “Mr. Rodriguez, this medicine can cause stomach ulcers. You must always eat before you take it.It’s important to let us know right away if you begin to have stomach problems.”
Choose the correct helping verbs to complete this conversation. (Several have more than one possible answer, and you will need to use some more than once.)
can, could, do, have, must, ought to, should, will, would
For more practice using helping verbs to give advice (and to ask questions and give information) see Modals Practice. See Question Formation for examples of different kinds of questions used in health care settings.