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Making suggestions

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Why not…?

One way of making suggestions is to use the phrase Why not…?

  • ‘Susie is really angry with me.’ ‘Why not send her some flowers?’
  • ‘Sally is in the hospital.’ ‘Why not go and see her?’

Why don’t…? can be used in the same way.

  • Why don’t you send her some flowers?
  • Why don’t we go and see Sally?

Why + verb can be used to suggest that an action is pointless.

  • Why ask him? He’s not going to help you.
  • Why argue with him? He’s not going to change his mind.
  • Why wait for her? She’s not going to come.


Use let’s to make a polite suggestion.

  • Let’s buy something to eat.
  • Let’s go for a walk.
  • Let’s do it later.
  • Let’s wait a bit longer.

You can make these suggestions sound more polite by adding the question tag Shall we…?

  • Let’s invite Andrew, shall we?
  • Let’s take a break, shall we?

Shall we / Shall I…?

Use shall we to see if other people agree with you.

  • Shall we go and see Julie?
  • Shall I get you something to drink?
  • Shall we ask his opinion?

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