“Why Don’t You…?” (Not Really a Question)
(Closet Classics #4)
This “Closet Classic” is was originally (and mistakenly) posted on The Lexis Portal of GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!, back when I really had no idea about how to organize all of the areas of GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!… So, it got buried. But I’m glad that I found it. This post was originally taken from a spam message that I received on LinkedIn, only one day after someone else had asked me about the use of the phrase, “Why don’t you…?”, when offering advice… (usually unsolicited… just like the message I received… Read On.)
(From The Original Post, circ. 2012)I just received this message on LinkedIn this morning, and instead of just deleting it as a spam message, I thought it would provide a great opportunity for a quick lesson on English Usage. Specifically about using this phrase as a way of offering advice.
Copied below is the message:
(Original Un-Solicited Message)
And My Response:
(Slightly edited from the original for your “Closet Classics” reading pleasure) 😉
When and Why We Use “Why Don’t You…?”
(Just to clarify…)
You might consider using a completely different phrase. The reason for this is – even when the advice is asked for – using the phrase, “Why don’t you…?” can sound pompous and arrogant; as if the person is either dumb for not having thought of that already, or that the person is somehow already NOT choosing that option… literally by asking “why don’t you?”…
“I don’t know. I don’t have an answer to that question. What do you mean?”
Try, instead, to use a phrase like, “You might consider…” or “You could…” (as I did above). First of all, these are not questions, and they leave the final decision in the hands of the person who the advice is being given to. If that person does not want to take the advice that is offered (not demanded), then he or she is not made to feel guilty for not choosing to follow the advice, or made to feel stupid for not having thought of the option before.
Anonymous Fictional Student:
Q: “Hi Mr. Teacher! I want to learn English, but I think that traditional language courses and text-books are boring and stupid. How do you think I should go about learning English in a way that is actually fun, and will make me into a freakin’ genius?”
A: “Hello there Anonymous Fictional Student. Thanks for asking! Why don’t you check out www.GiveMeSomeEnglish.com? It is, by far, the coolest freakin’ English website in the Universe! And that is a scientifically quantifiable fact.” 😎
Response: “Thanks for the great advice! I’m going to go there now, and maybe I’ll just stay there forever! You’re the greatest!!!” 😀
Concerned Supporter of English Education:
Q: “Hello Mr. Teacher. I noticed that you have a great bunch of websites here that make up the “The GiveMeSomeEnglish “Multi-Verse of Awesomeness!!!” . It must take a lot of work to put something like this together. How can I help to support your providing free English lessons that don’t suck?”
“Hello Concerned Supporter of English Education,
Thank you for your compliment and for your concern.
To answer your question, you could help out by making a one-time donation to GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!. To do this, simply hit that beautiful PayPal button below.
Or, you might consider becoming a regular supporter by donating whatever you think is appropriate on a monthly basis through my Patreon account, here.
Whatever you give is incredibly appreciated and will help to keep the Awesomeness flowing like a fresh mountain stream that nurtures the entire valley below, and brings life to all who drink from its… well, you get the picture.” 😎
(Why Don’t You…)
Have An Excellent Day?