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Business English: Making decisions
Business English: Making decisions

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2.2 Making suggestions

You heard Diana and Billy making a number of suggestions during their discussion. Here are some of the expressions they used with additional examples.

Why don't …?

Why don't we go through it now?

Why don't you call Reloc to check?

Let's ...

Let's give it a more interesting title.

Shall ...?

Shall we say three hours?

What/How about + -ing?

What about offering a buffet?

How about calling it ‘Ideas for Our Future’?

What/How about + noun?

What about a buffet?

What about ‘Ideas for Our Future’?

Modal verbs for making suggestions

‘Should’ (= advisable)

We should finalise the agenda and get it circulated today.

‘Had better’ (= advisable)

We'd better provide transport for them.

You'd better start now.

‘Could’ (= possible)

We could book for longer.

Activity 9

The company has a notice-board where staff can write comments and questions. Examples are given below, some of which contain errors. Make a note of the sentences which do not have errors. Note down the correct version for the sentences with errors.


1, 3, 6, 7, 8, are all correct.

The following sentences have been corrected:

  • 2 How about going on a visit to the proposed locations?

  • 4 Why don't management listen to ideas from the staff?

  • 5 The company should provide lunch before the meeting.

Activity 10

Practise making suggestions. Prepare what you are going to say by using the words in brackets, then respond to the prompt on the audio clip.

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Extract 15
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[Text prompt] Suggest going to the cinema. (Why)

[Audio clip prompt] Suggest going to the cinema.

[Answer] Why don't we go to the cinema?

  1. Suggest an Italian meal. (What)

  2. Suggest going to bed early. (Shall )

  3. Suggest preparing for the meeting. (Could )

  4. You think it's important to ring the office. (Should )

  5. Suggest a visit to a museum. (Let's)

  6. You think it is advisable to eat in the hotel. (had better)

  7. Suggest going for a swim. (Why)

  8. Suggest going sightseeing. (How)


Model answers to this activity are given in the audio clip and transcript.

The record of what is said and decided at a meeting is called the ‘minutes’. In the last part of this section you study what minutes should include and then work on some.