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Classroom Resources: Practicing the Language of Giving Advice (Intermediate Level)

Help! This is what you should do!

Aim: To practise the language of giving advice: should, ought to Level: Pre-Intermediate, Intermediate Lesson Time: 30 minutes Skill: Speaking

  1. Tell the class about a problem you or a friend has For example: My friend Roger is getting quite fat. My sister Angela has been dumped by her boyfriend and is heartbroken

  2. You could write up these problems on the board

  3. Elicit or present the language used to respond to such statements: should or ought to Roger should eat less. Angela should forget him and find a nicer boy to go out with.


Positive: I/you/he/she/it/we/you/they should/ought to do more exercise. Negative: I/you/he/she/it/we/you/they shouldn’t/oughtn’t to/ought not to eat fatty food.

Question: Should I apply for this job?

Use should/ought to to say that something is a good idea or the right thing to do. Use shouldn’t to say something is not a good idea or the wrong thing to do. He should apply for the job. They shouldn’t take the bus.

Should/ought to is not as strong as have to. You have to go to the doctor. (= it is necessary to go) You should go to the doctor. (= it is a good idea)

The phrases below can also be used to give advice: Why don’t you try the fish? Try reading more books.

  1. Divide students into groups of three. Ask each student to write down two problems they have in their lives (they can be imagined). Then each group gathers together their problems and swaps them with another group’s problems 

  2. The students then discuss what advice to give each problem as stated by the other group

  3. Bring the two groups together and ask them to feedback to each other their advice

  4. To practise questions, collect all the problems and deal out two to each student

  5. In groups of three, students then ask each other questions according to the problem on their slip of paper E.g. My tooth hurts a lot. Should I go to the dentist? 

  6. Students can then affirm the questions (Yes, you should) or suggest alternative advice

Lesson submitted by Robin Cheverton, 


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