Learn English Grammar – How To Use Suggest & Recommend

MichaelADGrammar 15 Comments

GRAM-Suggest-recommend

How To Use Suggest & Recommend – English Grammar Lesson

Jack went to the doctor last week. The doctor suggested that Jack should stop drinking so much coffee. So, Jack went home and told his wife. She recommended drinking tea instead of coffee in the morning. If I were Jack’s doctor, I would also recommend he drink tea instead of coffee. Jack tends to drink more than five cups of coffee a day. Hey Jack! I suggest you cut down!

Today, let’s have a look at the grammar behind suggest and recommend. Unlike many verbs, suggest and recommend are not followed by an object + infinitive. We generally use either a gerund (VerbING) or a clause with that. The pattern would be that + subject + base verb:

  • Jack’s wife recommended drinking tea.
  • The personal trainer suggested using the treadmill for cardio training.
  • The doctor suggested that Jack stop drinking coffee. Not,  …suggested him to stop
  • The teacher recommended that we study this list of vocabulary for the exam.

When we use pronouns in the that clause, we always use the subject pronoun before the base verb. Usually, in American English, the base verb is used regardless of the subject of the that clause (even with he, she, or it):

  • She suggested that I go to that store.
  • I suggested that she go to that store. Not, I suggested that she goes
  • Jack recommended that he go to that store. Not, I suggested that he goes
  • The sofa? The decorator recommended that it go in front of the window. Not, …recommended that it goes…

In spoken English, that is often omitted after suggest and recommend:

  • The doctor suggested Jack stop drinking coffee.
  • The teacher recommended we study this list of vocabulary for the exam.
  • Jack recommended he go to that store.

We also use should + base verb when we talk about what was suggested

  • The doctor suggested that Jack should stop drinking coffee.
  • The teacher recommended that we should study this list of vocabulary for the exam.
  • Jack recommended that he should go to that store.

When we say a suggestion directly, we don’t use should:

  • I suggest you stop drinking so much coffee. Not, I suggest you should stop
  • I recommend you go to that store. Not, I recommend you should go

Keep in mind the best way to remember this or any vocabulary in English is to take the word or phrase write it in a sentence that’s true for you or true in your world and then memorize your sentences.

You can even take your sentences and write them in the comments below. I would love to see your examples. And if you really want help with vocabulary, sign up for my free vocabulary workshop (see below).

If you know anyone who might be interested in this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them. Thanks for studying today!


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Comments 15

  1. Pingback: RECOMMEND & SUGGEST – MY TEACHER ONLINE

  2. If I want to write a negation, where in the sentence should I put “not”?
    “It is recommended that the drug not be / be not used during pregnancy unless clearly necessary”

  3. The word ‘suggest’ is used to say that you think it’s a good idea to do something but the person doesn’t have to do it. “I suggest you stop drinking so much.” The word ‘recommend’ is saying that you think that something is good. Waiter: I recommend the fish. It’s fresh. as opposed to: “If you don’t eat meat I suggest you order a salad.”

  4. I recommend you rent that apartment.
    I suggest he study English 30 minutes everyday.

    He suggests they go to the gym.
    They recommend we try Thai food at the new restaurant.

    My boss suggests they work harder.
    His friend recommends we go to Africa.

  5. I recommended this blog to my friends.
    Most doctors suggest not to drink coffee too much.
    I suggested my friends to read happy blog for English language.
    The teacher recommended that we should study English everyday.
    I recommend you go to New York once.
    I suggest you stop goofing off in the office.
    I recommend you not to use cheap mobile phone. It will rip-off you.

    1. Thanks for asking. We usually use just the noun:
      She suggested pizza, so we went to Lombardies.
      I always recommend Apple computers.

  6. Good lesson on how to use the two words grammatically. However, it should be emphasized that the word ‘suggest’ simply means that you think it would be a good idea in the situation, whereas ‘recommend’ is saying that something is good. “If you’re a vegetarian I suggest you order a salad.” “I recommend the fish – it’s fresh and very tasty.”

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