Study English – Series 3, Episode 26: Giving Advice

{“en”:”Hello, and welcome to Study English, IELTS Preparation. I’m Margot Politis. What should you do to stay healthy? This is a possible question in IELTS. How might you reply to such a question – what language choices do you have? The language function required is “giving advice”. Today we’ll look at language choices in English for giving advice. First, let’s listen to someone giving advice about health: Having good health is something we all want. There are several things we should do to keep fit and healthy – eat well, exercise and get plenty of rest. If we have a good diet, lead an active life and get enough sleep, then we should stay healthy. If we get sick, then we need to manage our recovery. There is prevention, and there is cure – but prevention is better than cure.

“Prevention is better than cure”. This is a common saying that means it’s better to avoid getting sick than trying to cure the sickness later. So what does our advisor recommend we do to prevent getting ill? There are several things we should do to keep fit and healthy – eat well, exercise and get plenty of rest. If we have a good diet, lead an active life and get enough sleep, then we should stay healthy. What sort of language does she use for giving advice? First she uses the modal verb ‘should’. Listen again: There are several things we should do to keep fit and healthy – eat well, exercise and get plenty of rest. The word ‘should’ is used in a number of ways. Here it indicates advisability – there are several things we should do to keep fit. Listen to another use of should with this meaning: You should try to walk a couple of kilometres every day.

The negative form “shouldn’t” is often used to give advice about what not to do. There are three things that you shouldn’t do. You shouldn’t smoke, you shouldn’t eat too much junk food and you shouldn’t drink too much alcohol. There is another modal verb that is used in the same way as should, but is a more formal choice, ought. It’s used by this man in an interview about immigration to Australia and its impact on the environment: It’s an open question whether people are applying more strain on the environment if they’re living in a flood plain in Bangladesh than if they’re living in Australia. Secondly, I think that if you’re worried about the environmental sustainability of the pattern of economic growth in Australia – and there are good reasons why you might be – then you ought to be looking at policies to reduce, say, carbon dioxide emissions, water usage, regardless of how many foreigners you let in or don’t let in.

“You ought to be looking at policies”. You could also say you should be looking at policies. Advice is suggesting choices, so you don’t use the word must. There is no choice when you say must – it’s an obligation or something you have to do. Sometimes you need to suggest choices in a way that doesn’t upset the person you are advising. Instead of saying ‘You shouldn’t smoke’, you can express it as a question: Shouldn’t you give up smoking? A more formal way of saying this uses the word oughtn’t: Oughtn’t you give up smoking? In the next clip, listen to another way of using should: If we have a good diet, lead an active life and get enough sleep then we should stay healthy. Here, should expresses the idea that this is likely to happen if the condition – having a good diet – is met. This is called a conditional.

The negative form, shouldn’t, is used in a similar way here: In any case, lead a healthy lifestyle and you shouldn’t get sick. It is a common language feature to use conditionals when giving advice, like this: If we get sick, then we need to manage our recovery. If we get sick, then we need to manage our recovery. But you don’t always have to use ‘then’ after the ‘if’ clause: If you feel unusually sick, you need to consult a doctor. And the ‘if’ clause doesn’t need to be at the beginning of the sentence: You need to consult a doctor if you feel unusually sick. There is another structure in English using ‘should’: Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask. Here, should means ‘if’ – if you have any questions. It’s a polite invitation which you will often hear on planes. The cabin crew might say to passengers “Should you require any help” Now listen carefully to all the advice and concentrate on what tense is being used for the verbs: Having good health is something we all want. There are several things we should do to keep fit and healthy – eat well, exercise and get plenty of rest.

If we have a good diet, lead an active life and get enough sleep then we should stay healthy. If we get sick, then we need to manage our recovery. There is prevention, and there is cure – but prevention is better than cure. Make sure you have a balanced diet – don’t overeat and don’t eat the wrong foods. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables for fibre, and get a good mix of proteins from fish and some meat, and reduce your intake of fatty food, sugar and salt. Exercise every day. You should try to walk a couple of kilometres daily. Playing sport, or going to the gym is an easy way to exercise your body. Exercise helps to relieve stress. You also need to rest. Health experts say we need about 8 hours sleep a night, but some people need less than this. If you feel unusually sick you need to consult a doctor. Avoid close contact with others when you are feeling unwell. Stay at home for as long as the doctor advises you. In any case, lead a healthy lifestyle and you shouldn’t get sick. Did you notice that many of the verbs were the base form, such as avoid or stay.

Listen again: Avoid close contact with others when you are feeling unwell. Stay at home for as long as the doctor advises you. In any case, lead a healthy lifestyle and you shouldn’t get sick. This is called the imperative form and it’s used for giving advice, and also to give orders. For example a teacher may say to a noisy class: Stop talking! Or Be quiet! You also use the imperative when you need to warn someone of danger: Watch out! There’s one more use for the imperative and that’s in instructions.

In the essay section of the IELTS Test you will read: ‘Write at least 250 words.’ In recipes you often see the imperative, like this: Fry the prawns. Chop the leeks. Add the noodles. The negative form of the imperative has don’t in front of it, like this: Make sure you have a balanced diet – don’t overeat and don’t eat the wrong foods. You’ll hear this structure a lot in English. You might hear people, such as parents to their children, say: Don’t forget to telephone. Or Don’t get lost. Finally, you should know the difference between the words advice and advise. Listen to the way they are used by this woman talking about generation Y or gen Y: The baby boomers still like to have face-to-face meetings. They like to chat about certain things. A gen Y would be just as happy for you to send them a text message and advise them of a change of roster at work or they’re quite happy to get advice about a new event that’s occurring by text or SMS or even an email.

Advise – spelled with an ‘s’ – is the verb form. Send them a text and advise them of a change of roster. Advice – spelled with a ‘c’ and pronounced with a shorter ‘i’ sound – advice – is the noun. They’re happy to get advice. Listen again: and advise them of a change of roster at work or they’re quite happy to get advice about a new event that’s occurring by text or SMS or even an email.

That’s all for now. For advice on the IELTS Test, visit our Study English website. We strongly advise it. Good luck with your studies. Bye.. “}

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