'I was about to suggest that you should…' :)


You should…
I suggested you should…
I was about to suggest that you should….

Is the last phrase is just a more (the most? :)) polite form of request/advice?
Or does it sound rather too ‘mannered’?

‘was about to suggest’ – could you express it in another way (and not so formal)?

Hi Tamara

Was about to means was planning to / was just on the verge of (doing).

So, in your sentence the speaker had been planning to make a suggestion but changed his/her mind for some reason.

Theoretically, saying “I was about to suggest…” could also be used as an indirect (sarcastic) way to make a suggestion.


Hi Tamara,

I was about to suggest that you should … is I agree somewhat longwinded but it could also indicate that you are going to agree the self same thing yourself as follows:

A: I think I should go and see Aunt Edith _ I haven’t seen her for ages.
B: Yes, I was about to suggest you should do that myself.


Hi Tamara

Another comment and a question:

I was about to does not sound formal to me.

Just out of curiosity, why did you use the past tense (suggested) in your second example? Or did you want to write “I would suggest that you should …”?


Hi Tamara,

If you don’t like I was about to, which seems all right to me, what about -I was just going to suggest/I was just this minute going to suggest ?



Amy, Alan, thank you for your responses.

Hmm. Interesting…

Amy, in regards to your question:

I don’t actually now, why. Just wrote that - absolutely thoughtlessly :slight_smile:
The only reason (as I think now :slight_smile: ) could be that I was keeping in mind Past tense in the last sentence, with the form I was interested to learn :slight_smile:

(But I intended to write just I suggest that you should…
so, your form

would be the third in the row. Just before ‘I was about…’ :slight_smile: )

Thanks. I know that the pattern itself is not formal.
‘We were about to leave.’ – I was taught it.
But when it is used in some complicated cases - like the above - it looks (for me) so. Formal or/and mannered (and it’s hard to make a choice between :slight_smile: ).

To be honest – yes, I generally don’t like the form ‘to be about to…’…

That sounds better for me. More naturally.

Hopefully I’ll manage to accept the expression in my vocabulary… :slight_smile:

Thanks a lot.