English Grammar – Making suggestions in English Conversation (Video too!)

In English when we make a suggestion, we mention a possible action or share an idea we have for an activity (with another person or other people.)

Here are some example phrases that we use to make suggestions.

How about
What about

We can use these phrases with a verb in its gerund form, this means the verb + -ing. In the gerund form the verb acts as a noun, it describes an action.

to study (infinitive)
studying (gerund)

A: My math class is really hard this year.
B: What About asking your sister for help, she’s good at math.


How about starting a study group with your classmates? 

We can also use the phrase How about with the simple present tense of a verb.

The kitchen is a mess! How about we order pizza for dinner tonight?

How about I call the new pizza place on South street?

We also use these phrases with a noun, especially when you answer a question.

A: What would like for dinner tonight?
B: How about pizza? What about hamburgers?
(I am suggesting we have pizza or hamburgers for dinner tonight.)

​Here are 3 common examples of phrases we use to make suggestions:

  • Shall we…
  • Why don’t we… 
  • Let’s…

These suggestions use the infinitive form of the verb without to.
*Remember ​to study is the infinitive.

“Shall we study some natural English conversation today?”(We don’t use to with these phrases.)

Shall we is used to suggest that you and the person or people you are talking with do something together, as a group.

Shall we go to the cafe for some coffee after we’re done shopping?
Shall we eat something while we’re waiting?​

Why don’t we practice using some natural English?

Why don’t we is like asking “Do you think my idea sounds good?”
Why don’t we invite Derrick to our beach party tonight, I heard he’s in town.”
This is like saying I think that inviting Derrick is a good idea. Don’t you agree?

The subject “we” can change depending on who you are taking to
A: “I never have enough money.”
B: “Why don’t you get a part time job?”

Why don’t I get some hamburgers for us on my way home from work tonight?”

Why don’t you try to quit smoking?
Why doesn’t Jeff try to quit smoking?

The phrase why not is another useful way to suggesting something, this has the same feeling as Why don’t you..

Why not ask Andrea on a date? I think she likes you! 

“It’s a nice day, why don’t you kids play outside?”

Let’s is my favorite suggestion phrase and it’s the phrase I hear the most.

I’m bored, let’s go out!

This also has the feeling of doing something together with the person or people you are talking to. 

Let’s go to the fireworks display this weekend!

Watch this grammar presentation as a video!

Helpful websites I used when making this video:
Was this post helpful for you?
Please share it with your friends!

Check out these other great posts too! 
The Grand Canyon
・Easy English with audio
・Great for listening practice!
・Learn new vocabulary!
・Updated for 2018
Correctly use the verbs LEND and BORROW in English! 
・Don’t confuse these words anymore!
・Sound like a native speaker!
・VIDEO and more at my blog!

Leave a Reply