7. Dialogs Involving Suggestions, Invitations, Offers, and Requests

A number of dialogs in Part A involve a speaker making and/or responding to suggestions, invitations, offers, and requests. There are many ways to express these language functions. Some are listed in the charts in this lesson, but there are many others that are not listed here.

A) Suggestions

These are pieces of advice that one speaker gives another. In most dialogs, the first speaker poses a problem and the second speaker suggests a possible solution to that problem. In some dialogs, the first speaker makes a suggestion, and the second speaker responds to that suggestion positively or negatively.

Making Suggestions
Why don’t you/we . . .
Why not . . .
Have you ever thought of . . .
You/We might want to . . .
You/We could always . . .
Maybe you/we could . . .
Try . . .
If I were you . . .
If I were in your shoes . . .
You/We should . . .
Shouldn’t you/we . . .
What about . . .
What if you/we . . .
How about . . .
Positive Responses Negative Responses
Why not!
Good idea!
That’s an idea.
Sounds good to me.
By all means!
Why didn’t I think of that?
That’s worth a try.
Thanks, I’ll give it a try.
I don’t think so.
I don’t believe so.
I already thought of that.
I don’t think that will work.
Don’t look at me!
Can I take a rain check?*

*This means, “Could we do this some other time?”

Sample Items

You will hear:

M1: I’m doing so poorly in math class, I think I’m going to have to drop it.
F1: You know, Frank, you should talk to Professor de Marco before
you do anything. He’s given special help to lots of students who were having trouble.
M2: What does the woman suggest Frank do?

You will read:

(A) Study with a group of students.
(B) Drop his mathematics course.
(C) Discuss the problem with the professor.
(D) Take no action at this time.

The answer is (C). The woman suggests that the man talk to Professor de Marco because the professor has helped many students in the past.

B) Invitations

These are requests for someone to come somewhere or to take part in some activity. The first speaker may invite the second speaker to do something and the second speaker responds, or the second speaker may invite the first speaker to do something.

Making Invitations
Shall we . . .
Would you like to . . .
Would you care to . . .
Would you be able to . . .
Want to . . .
Let’s . . .
Do you want to. . .
Could you . . .
Can you . . .
Positive Responses Negative Responses
Yes, let’s.
Sure, thanks.
Sounds good.
All right, I’d love to.
I’d like that.
What a great idea!
Sure. Thanks for inviting me.
If you want me to.
Don’t mind if I do.
I’m sorry, but . . .
I’d like to, but . . .
I’d love to, but . . .
Thanks a lot, but . . .
That sounds nice, but . . .
I’ll pass.
Thanks for the invitation, but . . .
I don’t think I’ll be able to make it this time.

Sample Items

You will hear:

M1: Would you like to join us on Sunday? We’re going to go on a picnic at the lake.
F1: I’d love to, but I have a test Monday, and I have to get ready for it.
M2: What will the woman probably do on Sunday?

You will read:

(A) Study for a test.
(B) Go on a picnic.
(C) Take an exam.
(D) Join a club.

The answer is (A). The man invites the woman to come to a picnic. The woman says that she’d love to go, but that she must study for a test she is taking Monday. (If the woman had accepted the man’s invitation, Choice (B) would have been correct.)

C) Offers

These are proposals to help someone or allow someone to do something. Either speaker in the dialog may make an offer.

Making Offers
Let me . . .
Shall I . . .
Would you like me to . . .
Do you want me to . . .
Can I . . .
May I . . .
Should I . . .
I could  . . .
Positive Responses Negative Responses
That would be nice.
Yes, please.
Please do.
Sure, thanks.
I don’t think so.
I’m afraid not.
That won’t be necessary.
Thanks anyway.
Please don’t.

Sample Items

You will hear:

F1: Should I make reservations for dinner Friday night?
M1: Thanks anyway, but I’ve already made them.
M2: What does the man mean?

You will read:

(A) He can’t go to dinner Friday night.
(B) Reservations won’t be required.
(C) He made reservations earlier.
(D) He’d like the woman to make reservations.

The answer is (C). The woman offers to make reservations, but the man replies that he’s already made them.

D) Requests

To make a request is to ask someone to do something, or to ask for help or information.

Making Requests
Would you . . .
Could you/I . . .
Do you mind if . . .
Would you mind if . . .
Will you . . .
May I . . .
Can you/I . . .
Positive Responses Negative Responses
I’d be glad to.
I’d be delighted.
Sure thing.
Why not?
If you want to.
If you’d like.
You bet.
*Not at all.
*Of course not.
Sorry, but . . .
I’m afraid not.
I’d like to, but . . .
I wish I could, but . . .
*Actually, I do/would.
*I’m afraid I do/would.
*As a matter of fact, I do/would.

*Responses for, “Do you mind if. . .” or “Would you mind if . . .”

Sample Items

You will hear:

M1: I have to make one more phone call before I go.
F2: Take your time. Would you just lock the office door when you finish?
M2: What does the woman want the man to do?

You will read:

(A) Lock the office.
(B) Finish his phone call quickly.
(C) Tell her what time it is.
(D) Look up a phone number.

The answer is (A). The woman requests that the man lock up the office.


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