Learn English – A tempered alternative to “I suggest …”?


An american colleague told me "I suggest that…" or "I suggest you…" is a heavy tone that I should avoid in most circumstances. I agree with him, but what should we say for instead?

Best Answer

There are many possible ways of tempering a direct command’s apparent harshness. Here are a few, very vaguely semi-ordered from most to least direct:

  • Go to the store.
  • You WILL/SHALL go to store.
  • You must go to the store.
  • You have to go the store.
  • You should go to the store.
  • I suggest you go to the store.
  • You really ought to (outta) go to the store, you know.
  • I would (I’d) suggest that you go to the store.
  • I might suggest you go to the store, eh.
  • Ya know, I’ve gotta little suggestion for ya here, bud; I'm thinking that maybe you could bounce down to the store to fetch us home some grub before we die of starvation here.

There’s room for plenty more there, too.