#189: Make Suggestions in English — 12 Effective Sentence Starters

Oct 7, 2020 | Business Professional English, English Confidence and Fluency

Make suggestions to share your ideas and offer alternatives, whether you’re talking about where to go for dinner with friends, brainstorming in a business meeting, or problem-solving with colleagues. 

With 12 effective sentence starters, you’ll have absolute confidence that you’re using the right collocations and grammar structures to express your ideas, recommendations, and plans when making suggestions.

Not only will you learn how to offer suggestions in casual and professional conversations but you’ll also learn how to make a suggestion that you know may be unexpected or surprising to your listeners but you want to make sure they listen to you fully before they say no.

Throughout the lesson, you’ll also learn commonly used English phrasal verbs and collocations as well.

Make Suggestions in English with 12 Effective Sentence Starters

Casual Sentence Starters to Make Suggestions

Number 1: Let’s

  1. Let’s try the new Thai place everyone’s talking about.
  2. Let’s check in with the accounting department to see if they have any updates before we make the decision.
  3. Let’s reschedule the meeting so everyone can join.

Structure: Let’s + simple form of the verb

 

Number 2: How about

  1. How about that new Thai restaurant?
  2. How about a movie on Saturday?
  3. How about driving to the mountains for a few days?

Structure: How about + noun

Formal Sentence Starters to Make Suggestions

Number 3: Shall we

  1. Shall we try the new Thai place everyone’s talking about?
  2. Shall we check in with the accounting department to see if they have any updates before we make the decision?
  3. Shall we reschedule the meeting so everyone can join?

Structure: Shall we + simple form of the verb

 

Number 4: Why don’t we/you

  1. Why don’t we try the new Thai place?
  2. Why don’t you check in with the accounting department?*
  3. Why don’t you reschedule the meeting?*

*When you use ‘you’ in this structure, it’s a polite way to ask someone to do something as a suggestion rather than an order.

Structure: Why don’t + subject + verb

Sentence Starters with Modals Could, Should, and Would to Make Suggestions

Numbers 5 and 6: You/We could or You/We should

      1. You could try doing yoga if you want to get in shape.
      2. You should try doing yoga if you want to get in shape.
      3. We could postpone the product launch until next week.
      4. We should postpone the product launch until next week.

      Could indicates that you are offering one suggestion or option among many.

      Should indicates that you think this is the best suggestion or option among many.

    Number 7: Would you consider

  1. Would you consider getting a second opinion before having the operation?

This is a polite structure to use when you think someone may be making the wrong choice or that they have not yet considered all the options.

Number 8: Have you thought about/considered

Similar to would you consider, this structure works well when you want to make sure someone has evaluated all the options.

  1. Have you thought about getting a second opinion?

Using ‘Suggest’ as a Verb for Making Suggestions

Number 9: I suggest

  1. I suggest giving him a call before the end of the day.
  2. I suggest getting a second opinion before you agree to have surgery.
  3. I suggest going to the new Thai restaurant.

Structure: I + suggest + gerund/noun

Encouraging Your Listeners to Listen Fully as You Make a Suggestion (Even if Your Suggestion is Odd or Surprising)

Number 10: I’d like to throw out an idea/suggestion…

  1. I’d like to throw out an idea. What if we delayed the product launch? I know that may not seem like the best solution but it will give us time to be 100% certain that we’ve addressed all potential issues. As a result, we’ll avoid having too many angry customers if the product doesn’t work as promised.

Number 11: Hear me out for a moment…

  1. Hear me out for a moment. I know this is an unusual idea but I think it might work.

Number 12: I know this is outside the box but what if we…

  1. I know this is outside the box but what if we considered delaying the launch for 1 week?

Now it’s your turn to practice!

Choose 2-3 examples from this lesson and try making suggestions as you follow the sentence structure. You can share your examples with me in the comments below.

I also recommend reviewing examples shared by other students. It’s a wonderful way to see all the possibilities and reinforce what you’ve learned.

And finally, I’d love to know which example from today’s lesson is your favorite. Did you learn a new collocation or sentence starter that will be particularly helpful to you? Tell me about it.

As always, you can share your comments and questions with me in the comments section below.

~ Annemarie

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