Grammar Talks 4-05 Should for Suggestions

Getting a Job with Uncle Sam

Sarah gives job tips for working for the U.S. State Department.

Todd: So Sara, we're both English teachers, and we taught together before, and then you went away and you worked for the US State Department, and you came back, and now I want to work for the US State Department.

Sarah: You should do it!

Todd: So I want you to give me some advice what I should do and what I shouldn't do to get the job, and what do I need to do so I can work for the US State Department? So what should I do?

Sarah: So the first thing you should do is to start doing the paperwork. There is so much paperwork, and it can be overwhelming, so you shouldn't try to do everything in one day, and you shouldn't leave it to the last minute. So please start the paperwork soon.

Todd: Okay, so how long does it take to do the paperwork?

Sarah: It takes a couple of weeks, because you need to write some very long answers to many different questions, 'cause you need to ask references to write these long, long answers for you.

Todd: Okay, so, who should I ask to be a reference?

Sarah: You should ask two people who have experience with your teaching. So, for me, I asked the head of the language department, and a co-worker who had observed my class. So you should ask, perhaps, the level coordinator, you should ask your boss, your manager, and then maybe a co-worker who has seen your teaching.

Todd: Okay, so could I ask you?

Sarah: Yeah! I'd be happy to do that.

Todd: Okay, that's awesome. So you said there's some questions. What's a sample question?

Sarah: A lot of the questions are about how do you deal with cultural differences. So it might say, "Tell me a time in your life you have been confused about the culture, and you didn't know how to proceed."

Todd: Oh, okay.

Sarah: So you need to write about what happened, and how you overcame it.

Todd: So how should I answer the question? Should I just talk about my own experience?

Sarah: Mm-hmm.

Todd: Or should I try to phrase it in a way that I think they want to hear? What should I do?

Sarah: The most important thing is to be honest, but what they're looking for are people who are flexible, understanding, and hard-working. So if you can phrase it in that way, talk about how you really responded to the situation. If you responded poorly, what did you learn from it? How you could have done better, or things like that.

Todd: Okay. Wow, those are some good tips. Is there anything I shouldn't do, I shouldn't say, I shouldn't mention?

Sarah: Well, just like any job, you shouldn't mention that you want the job just so you could travel, or you want the job just to make some money. You should talk about the more positive aspects of why you want the job ... to help people, to teach people about the culture of the USA, to help people learn English. One of the big reasons this program exists is to spread goodwill about the USA. So we are definitely representatives for the US Government, for the US people, so we need to show that we can be a responsible, kind, hard-working representative of the USA. So they really want to see that in your application as well.

Todd: Okay. Now, as you know, I have elllo, we're doing this for elllo right now. Should I mention elllo? Should I mention that I do elllo? Or should I keep that a secret and not let them know?

Sarah: I think they would be very happy to hear about elllo, because they desperately want more people how know about technology, online learning, internet and things like that, because the people who apply, a lot of them are like me. We have a masters in TESOL, we are ... I don't mean to brag, but we are good teachers, we're passionate, but they desperately need more people that can help teach things like online learning, technical English, how to set up a website in English ... maybe you could teach that. They want people who have experience and knowledge, and if you can show them your website, I think that they would be really happy to see it.

Todd: Oh wow, that's great. Well thanks for the advice. I'm going to apply!

Sarah: Yeah, you're welcome! You can do it!

Todd: All right, wish me luck.

Sarah: Good luck!

Giving Suggestions

Notice how speakers can use should, would and some phrases to give advice or suggestions.

Point 1: Use should to offer suggestions.
Should / Shouldn’t

(Q) What should I eat?
(A) You should try the fish.
(N) You shouldn’t eat the salad.

(Q) Should I where this coat?
(A) Yes, you should. It looks good on you.
(N) No, you shouldn’t. It is hot today.

Point 2: Use would in the first persong to offer suggestions.
Would / Wouldn’t

(Q) What would you do?
(A) I would go to the park.
(N) I wouldn’t take the bus.

(Q) Would you wear this?
(A) Yes, I would.
(N) No, I wouldn’t.

Point 3: Use if-clauses to offer suggestions.
If you ---- , -----

If you have time, visit the museum.
If you like fish, try the sushi.
If you can afford it, stay at the Ritz.

Point 4: Use verbs in the imperative form to offer suggestions.

Check out the mall downtown.
Be sure to wear warm clothes.
Don’t talk to strangers.
Don’t pay more than 20 dollars for it.

Answer the following questions about the interview.

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