Giving Advice

This composition is to give you practice in giving advice in situations similar to the real world. Use the following expressions to give advice, but remember that we do not usually give advice unless someone asks for it. Be careful when using these expressions, however, as they are quite strong and can cause social friction. Usually teachers or parents use them, but not others unless someone asks us for advice. They are listed from stronger to less strong.

  • You must . . .
  • You should . . .
  • I'd advise you to . . .
  • I think you should . . .
  • You could . . .
  • Have you thought of . . .


The world of advice columnists in the United States is dominated by twin sisters: Ann Landers and Abby van Buren. Read a real Ann Landers column here. An easier example is below.

Advice Column -- Example Question

Dear Ann:

I'm having trouble with my mother. I graduated 2 years ago and live in my own apartment. However, whenever I go home my mother treats me as if I'm a child again. She wakes me up early for breakfast, asks where I'm going in the evening, and wants me home by 11 p.m. How can I make her understand I'm an adult now?


I think you should talk this problem over with your mother. She doesn't remember you are an adult now. I'm sure she really loves you and shows her love by treating you this way. I'd advise you to sit down with her and explain that she makes you feel like a child when she treats you that way. To stop her from worrying, before you go out, tell her where you're going and when you'll be back.


  1. Choose three of the cases below and write responses to the problems.
  2. Try to choose questions about different types of problems.
  3. Do not write the question, only the case number.
  4. Be sure to use compound sentences. Underline the sentences you have used so I can check them.

Requests for Advice

Case 1

I have seen an attractive man who works in the office building next to mine. I would like to get to know him better, but I am shy and can't think of any quiet way of meeting him. Can you give me some advice.

Case 2

My daughter is attending college, but spends little time studying. She stays out late every night saying she is working on university projects with her friends, but I think she has a boyfriend. Should I believe her when she says she is studying?

Case 3

I share a room with my younger sister. She is always snooping in my things when I'm not at home. Last week I caught her reading my diary and she said if I say anything to my parents, she'll tell my boyfriend about this other guy I've been dating. What should I do?

Case 4

My boyfriend is a third-year university student. We have been going out for 2 years and love each other very much. Our problem is we're afraid I'm pregnant. What should we do?

Case 5

My husband stays out late every night, but claims it is because he has to work. I have heard from other people that they've seen him drinking in a bar and talking very often with the same bar hostess. What should I do?

Case 6

Our son came home last night and told us he has fallen in love with a Korean-Japanese woman and wants to marry her. He is 28 and has a good job with Nissan. Up to this point he has been a perfect son. What can we do to stop him from making this mistake?

Case 7

I've fallen in love with a man from a different race. My parents disapprove of our relationship because he is not of the same race. I love my parents, but I also love my boyfriend. What can I do?

Case 8

I live near a hotel that has two German Shepherd guard dogs. They live on a stair landing that overlooks the street and every time they see something, especially another dog or a cat, they bark loudly. Sometimes they bark all night. Sometimes they keep me awake at night even if I sleep with the window closed. What can I do?

Case 9

My wife has recently made friends with another man. He visits frequently, although usually when I am at home. He is friendly with me and the children, but I am worried that he will come between me and my wife. Do you agree that I should be worried?

Case 10

Both my husband and I work days and get home about the same time in the evening. My problem is that when he comes home he reads the paper or watches TV and drinks beer while I make supper. After supper I'm left with the dishes to do. On weekends he never helps with the house work or washing. What can I do?

Case 11

I work part-time at Lawson's at night. My problem is that the person I work with steals things from the store; sometimes money and sometimes food. If I tell my boss, the other person will know that I told. However, I'm also afraid that the boss will think I'm the one stealing. What should I do?

Case 12

I've been married for 22 years. Recently my husband was complaining of stomach problems so he went to the doctor. Yesterday the doctor called me and told me my husband has cancer of the stomach and will probably die within a year. My question is this: should I tell my husband? How can I tell him?

Case 13

I recently got married. Everything about married life is great except my mother-in-law. She is always telling me what to do and is very critical of anything I do my own way. I don't want to hurt her feelings, but I do want to live my own life. What can I do?

Case 14

In the evening when my father comes home from work he comes into the living room and changes the TV from the show I'm watching to the baseball game he wants to watch. He never even asks if it's all right. I like baseball, but want to watch my pop music or game shows sometimes. What should I do?


We're very worried because our son recently joined a strange religious cult. He used to be lively and happy, but now he just meditates in his room and almost never talks to us. The only thing he will say to us is we should join the cult too. What can we do?

Case 16

My family shares a house with my grandparents. The problem is my grandfather. He loves to play enka music all day. His hearing is poor so he plays the stereo very loud. The noise makes it hard for me to study. What can I do?

Case 17

I'm a 13 year-old junior high student. I'm small for my age and quite shy. Recently a group of three bigger students in my class have started bullying me. The tease me about being small, ask for money and are threatening to push me into a river if I don't give them money. What should I do?