Grammar – How to Use the Verb ‘Suggest’

by Melanie on April 26, 2012

(Photo by Moyan Brenn)

I suggest that you visit Paris before you die. It’s a beautiful city!

 

I notice that a lot of English learners struggle with the verb suggest, so I want to explain how to use it properly.

The verb suggest (to mention or recommend something to think about or something someone should do) is an unusual English verb. It is not used in a sentence the same way that other verbs are.

For example, these sentences are NOT correct:

The company suggested us to take an extra day off.
I hope you suggest us a good hotel.

This is the most common way that English learners try to use the verb, but it is incorrect. Why are these sentences incorrect?

Suggest is never followed by an object pronoun (me, us, you, etc.), and it is never followed by an infinitive.

 

Here are 3 ways that you CAN use the verb suggest:

1. Suggest that someone do something

Suggest is most commonly followed by a that-clause in which the subjunctive is used:

subject + suggest + (that*) + subject + subjunctive

 

Don’t let the word ‘subjunctive’ scare you! This is not a verb tense that you need to memorize. It is not used very often. All you need to remember is that the subjunctive is the same as the base form of the verb.

[*In this that-clause, 'that' can be left out of the sentence]

Let’s rewrite sentence #1 from above:

The company suggested us to take an extra day off.
The company suggested (that) we take an extra day off.

 

More example sentences:

She suggests (that) we go out for dinner after the movie.

My parents suggested (that) I get a job after school.

Her brother suggests (that) she study harder so she can get into a good university.

 

IMPORTANT! In the subjunctive tense, the verb DOES NOT change depending on the subject. The subjunctive is just the base form of the verb.

 

Negative:

The teacher suggested (that) we not waste time playing video games after school.

 

2. Suggest doing something

suggest + gerund

 

An infinitive is never used after suggest. If you use a verb after suggest, the verb must be in the gerund form. The meaning of the sentence is the same as using the subjunctive.

We can rewrite sentence #1 from the top of the post:

The company suggested us to take an extra day off.
The company suggested taking an extra day off.

 
More example sentences:

Her brother suggests studying harder so she can get into a good university.
Her brother suggests to study harder so she can get into a good university.

My trainer suggests eating less and exercising more.
My trainer suggests to eat less and to exercise more.

Her family suggested waiting a few years before she gets married.
Her family suggested to wait a few years before she gets married.

 

3. Suggest something

This is the form to use when you are talking directly TO someone! However, you do not need to say who you are talking to.

Let’s rewrite sentence #2 from the top of this post. You want someone to tell you about a good hotel:

X: I hope you suggest us a good hotel.
I hope you can suggest a good hotel (to me).

 

More example sentences

Can you suggest some interesting apps?

No politician has suggested a way to improve the economy.

Suggest an idea for a blog post!

He suggested several different things to do after dinner.

 

REMEMBER:

1. Suggest that someone do something

2. Suggest doing something

3. Suggest something

 

Hopefully this blog post has helped you to better understand the verb suggest!

 


{ 128 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jesús April 27, 2012 at 5:44 am

Hi, very useful.
I’m one of those who has problems with the word ‘suggest’. Now it’s more clear; nevertheless I have a question unrelated to it.
In your example:

“Can you suggest some interesting apps?”

Shouldn’t “any” be used instead of “some” for being an interrogative question? Why!!!!

[Thinking to myself]Whenever I think I learnt an English grammar rule, something comes up that proves me wrong[/Thinking to myself]

Thank you!
Jesús.

Reply

Melanie 2 Melanie April 27, 2012 at 9:38 pm

Hi, Jesús! Good question!

Whenever I write example sentences, I just go with what I feel is right. I never check grammar books because I want students to learn natural English. In American English, we use many things that are “grammatically” incorrect, but they are acceptable anyway!

To answer your question, I checked one of my grammar books, and here’s what it said:
“In most questions (but not all) we use ‘any’ (not ‘some’).”
“We normally use ‘some’ (not ‘any’) when we offer things ["Would you live some coffee?"] or when we ask for things. ["Can you lend me some money?"]”

In this case, I am asking someone to recommend some interesting apps to me, so I think that qualifies as “asking for things.”

I hope that makes sense!
= )

Reply

3 Jesús April 28, 2012 at 11:04 am

Ah! Ok.
Of course it makes sense. I should have reviewed the grammar… It seems to me that I was aware of the general rule, but I overlooked the details…

[Thinking to myself]Before thinking to yourself that you have learnt an english grammar rule, make sure that you have really learnt it, stupid![/Thinking to myself]

Thank you again, Melanie!
Jesús.

Reply

Melanie 4 Melanie April 28, 2012 at 6:46 pm

It was not stupid of you, Jesús, and you should not use that word! If it was stupid, then I was stupid, too, because I had to read a grammar book to explain why my sentence was correct! There is an exception to every English “rule,” and it gets very confusing trying to memorize them all!

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5 Jesús April 29, 2012 at 11:48 am

Thank you for your kind words, Melanie! but don’t worry, it’s just that my conscience tends to be a little bit hard on me from time to time, but we usually get along very well. :-)

6 Unai December 10, 2012 at 6:07 am

Hi Melanie,
We are a class of San Sebastian, Basque Country (Spain).
Your explanations were really useful. Some of us had the same mistake using suggest.
Best regards,
Unai

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7 Rhanniery April 28, 2012 at 12:17 am

Hi Melanie! that’s what i’m talking about! We have to study natural english. As I told you on facebook, i’m really appreciating the site! Thanks.

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Melanie 8 Melanie April 28, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Hi, Rhanniery!

It’s nice to see you here! I’m glad this post was useful to you. = )

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9 mari November 28, 2012 at 6:20 pm

i want learn me about natural English for i student at university dept of English language ……thank you

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10 Ilia June 1, 2012 at 11:12 am

Hi. I like to read and study through your blogs. It’s really well-explained, because there is a lot of websites about learning English, but they are so entangled write that it’s hard to understand something, furthermore you can get a head pain. I would like that you explain me something that I don’t understand very well. Can you, please, explain when I need to put ‘to’ I know that I need to put it with an infinitive verb, but I’d like to know other uses and also when I need to put an infinitive verb.

Reply

Melanie 11 Melanie June 4, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Hi, Ilia! Thank you for your kind words!

That’s a HUGE topic & one that can’t be covered in a single blog post!

I think it will be easier for you if you break it down into smaller topics, and master one topic at a time:

- Start with this website:
http://www.learnersdictionary.com/search/to
- study each use of ‘to’
- To learn more about when to use an infinitive, go to this website:
http://www.englishpage.com/gerunds/index.htm

Best of luck to you! I know that English is a frustrating language, but keep up the good work!
= )

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12 Ilia June 6, 2012 at 7:24 am

Thank you very much :) I began to learn through the first web page that you gave to me. Thank you for these suggestions! I will follow them.

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13 MUHAMMAD IMRAN KHAN November 12, 2012 at 8:32 am

Hi: you have written that you didnot understand the way of understanding. but I could say that this way of preparing something from this website is goodone because the thing which you want to study is written in such amazing way that you can understand it clearly.

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14 rovk July 1, 2012 at 10:25 pm

HI,
it’s a lovely website Melanie! i really amazed to see it. there’s so much i want to say but words aren’t enough to describe what’s on my head. Good job!

Reply

Melanie 15 Melanie July 2, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Thank you for your kind words, Rovk! I am thrilled that you enjoy this website. I hope my articles here continue to be useful to you!

All the best with your English studies,
Melanie
= )

Reply

16 EngLearner September 6, 2012 at 4:49 am

Hello Melanie,

Thank you for your site. I just discovered it and I think it’s great!
But I have a problem. I still can’t understand how these two sentences can be different:

He suggested (that) I (should) buy a new phone.
He suggested I bought a new phone.

Thanks a lot.

Reply

Melanie 17 Melanie September 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Hi, EngLearner!

‘Should’ is not needed in your 1st sentence & your 2nd sentence is not correct.

The correct sentence is:
“He suggested (that) I buy a new phone.”
[NOT 'bought.' Use the subjunctive/base form, not the simple past.]

You could also say:
“He told me I should buy a new phone.”

Those two sentences are saying the same thing.
= )

Reply

18 Pilar September 20, 2012 at 6:20 am

thanks for the lesson You are a great english teacher.
Pilar (Spain)

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19 MUHAMMAD IMRAN KHAN MARWAT November 12, 2012 at 8:35 am

hi: Piller its a good site and I have also learnt from it

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20 Tatiana September 29, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Dear Melanie,
I am having trouble with something that my L.A. teacher gave me. Its a packet and the rest I got done except for this question/answer.
Directions: For each topic sentence below, write at least 3 sentences that contain the supporting details.
Topic Sentence: Having a brother can be a pain sometimes, but it has its advantages.

What 3 sentences can I write for that sentence?

Reply

Melanie 21 Melanie October 1, 2012 at 8:50 pm

So, Tatiana, you need to write 3 positive sentences about having a brother. What are the advantages of having a brother? Do you have a brother? Do you know anyone who has a brother? You can ask them 3 positive things about having a brother.

For example (I copied these ideas from the internet),
- a brother can be there for you when you need a shoulder to cry on
- a brother can be your best friends
- a brother can protect you
- a brother can play sports with you

… things like that!

= )

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22 navi October 4, 2012 at 8:30 am

my eng.is vry week please help me .

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23 Irene October 28, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Thank you for your explanation, but I have a question, could you explain the difference between suggest and recommend?

Thank you in advande

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Melanie 24 Melanie November 1, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Hi, Irene!

Most of the time, suggest & recommend can be used as synonyms.

However, both words ALSO have a couple separate uses. Compare the definitions:
http://www.learnersdictionary.com/search/recommend
http://www.learnersdictionary.com/search/suggest

= )

Reply

25 Alejandro November 26, 2012 at 2:11 pm

My question is with the verb “to be”
I have to write a sentence like this:

We suggested (that) Ana be tested.

Is the use of “be” correct?

I understood by your explanation that “We suggested that Ana to be tested” is NOT correct. I assume the subjunctive is “be” and not “is”. “We suggested that Ana is tested” sounds wrong to me, but not sure about the whole use of this verb in the subjuntive.

Reply

Melanie 26 Melanie November 26, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Hi, Alejandro!

It’s easier than you think it is! Your sentence is correct:
“We suggested (that) Ana be tested.”

Don’t worry too much about the subjunctive. It’s just the ‘base form’ of the verb. The base form is how the verb appears in the dictionary. For example, the base form of ‘be’ is just … ‘be’! That’s it!
http://www.englishteachermelanie.com/grammar-understanding-verb-forms/

That’s how easy it is!

= )

Reply

27 y2k November 28, 2012 at 1:12 am

Dear Melanie,
Thanks again, your explanations about grammar are clearest one I have ever heard. Could you please tell me other famous verbs followed by subjunctive verbs?

Reply

Melanie 28 Melanie December 8, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Hello Y2K,

It’s important to remember that ‘suggest’ is not ALWAYS followed by verbs in the subjunctive. As you can see above, ‘suggest’ is sometimes followed by a regular noun & a gerund. When ‘suggest’ is followed by a that-clause, the verb in the that-clause is in the subjunctive.

Other verbs that can be used in the same sentence structure as #1 above include:
insist
demand
recommend
propose

= )

Reply

29 Virginia January 11, 2013 at 9:46 am

Melanie,

In the section 1. Suggest+that-clause+the subjunctive, your third example sentence (“Her brother suggests that she study harder…”), why is it that the pronoun she takes the plural form of study? Why shouldn’t it read “Her brother suggests that she [a singular pronoun] studies harder…”?

I am always confused by this usage after the verbs suggest and recommend. I hope you can set me straight.

Thank you.
Virginia

Reply

Melanie 30 Melanie January 11, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Hi, Virginia,

“Her brother suggests that she study harder…”

Remember that the verb tense used in the the ‘that’ clause is the subjunctive. The subjunctive is just the base form of the verb ‘study.’ It doesn’t change. There is no plural or singular form of the subjunctive.

The subjunctive does not change with the pronoun:
“My brother suggests that I study harder…”
“Our brother suggests that we study harder…”
“His brother suggests that he study harder…”
“Their brother suggests that they study harder…”

=)

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31 Amer DAWOOD January 16, 2013 at 12:47 am

Dear sir,madam,
i am glad to write to you to find out the difference between suggestion and proposal.
cheers

Reply

Melanie 32 Melanie January 16, 2013 at 4:55 pm

Hello,

Here is a better way to write your comment:

“Can you please tell me the difference between ‘suggestion’ and ‘proposal’?
Thanks.”

‘Proposal’ and ‘suggestion’ have similar meanings, but ‘proposal’ is a formal suggestion. For example,
“I have a business proposal for you.”
“Obama introduced his proposals for gun control today.”
“They accepted his proposal.”

Here is some more information on ‘proposal’:
http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/american/proposal
http://www.learnersdictionary.com/search/proposal

= )

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33 Nityam January 24, 2013 at 12:10 pm

Is ‘suggest’ as plural verb and ‘suggests’ a singular verb?

Reply

Melanie 34 Melanie January 29, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Hi, Nityam,

The base form of the verb is ‘suggest.’

The present tense of the verb is:
I/You/We/They suggest
It/He/She suggests

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35 Zoltán January 29, 2013 at 2:08 pm

Dear Melanie,

Thanks for your website and your help.
My name is Zoltán from Hungary who used to live in Canada for one year.
I would like to say thank you for you and the Canadians for the English language that I can use in my life every day.
The fact is that my English has to be improved and I am looking for the possibilities to learn more and more.
Your website helps me to understand the roles easier.
I will use your website in the future because it is very efficient to use.
Thanks,
Zoltán

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36 Nicole Bao February 11, 2013 at 4:12 pm

This is the best English grammer explanation ever! I was always comfused on how to use this word” suggest” , like – what to follow this word, infinitive or pronoun. I know now how to use it once for all. Great thanks to you – the greatest English teacher Melanie.

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37 Brigitte February 28, 2013 at 2:39 am

Thanks Melanie for this very clear and interesting way of explaining “suggest”.
However, what would you say of the use of suggest in the past :
My parents suggested I went to the university ?
and also wouldn’t you want to include the use of should :
The steward suggested that I should place my luggage in the rack ?
Cbeers
Brigitte

Reply

Melanie 38 Melanie March 27, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Hi, Brigitte!

Good questions! Regardless of when the event occurred, the ‘that’ clause will always be in the subjunctive:
“My parents suggested I go to university.”
[You don't need 'the' before university.]

You don’t need to use ‘should’ with ‘suggest.’ You should rewrite the sentence:
“The steward suggested I put my luggage in the rack.” [= It's just a suggestion. You can if you want to, but you don't have to.]
“The steward said I should put my luggage in the rack.” [= More definite than a suggestion.]
“The steward told me to put my luggage in the rack.” [= You have to put your luggage in the rack.]

= )

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39 Victor March 3, 2013 at 8:48 am

I am terrificly pshched from what i received from the content of this page! Its so educational & interesting! The analysis was so great & fascinating! Please keep it up! Thanks!

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40 Genie March 7, 2013 at 9:46 am

Hello, Melanie! Thanks for your explanation, it really helps me a lot! I feel lucky to find your website and it is one of the happiest things today! Thank you again!

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41 Giannis March 10, 2013 at 8:35 am

Great job Miss Melanie! You helped me so much! Your blog is so useful! Real treasure!
Regards from Greece!

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42 Blues March 12, 2013 at 10:13 pm

“Suggest is never followed by a direct personal object (like ‘you’ or ‘us’)”

What? That’s not true. Why are you saying this?
1. I suggest you go now. – OK
2. I suggest you correct the mistake on your website. – OK

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Melanie 43 Melanie March 21, 2013 at 10:50 pm

I’m saying it because it’s true.

For example,
“I suggest (that) you study English grammar.”

‘You’ is not the direct personal object. It is the subject of the ‘that’ clause.

Did you even read the article?

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44 Cosmoss April 13, 2013 at 7:38 am

You should have a loook at BBC learning english grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. Their explanations are a little bit diferent about the uses of suggest. Anyway congratulations for your excellent web site.

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Melanie 45 Melanie April 14, 2013 at 6:30 pm

*Sigh.* No, their explanations are not a little bit different about the uses of suggest, but thanks anyway.

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46 Pham Hong Danh April 20, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Thank you so much for your post. There isn’t any information in dictionaries noticing the base form of verbs after ‘suggest that …’. Many of us thought the verb has to be put in suitable tenses as usual, just like this ‘I suggest he goes …’

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47 Francesca April 22, 2013 at 6:33 am

Hi Melanie, thanks for your explanation,it was very useful. However I am a bit confused because I have read in my grammar book this phrase
“I suggested ( your) selling it”
Why the possessive adjective is put before the gerund?

Reply

Melanie 48 Melanie April 22, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Hi, Francesca,

That sentence is not correct. What book was it in? Is that the entire sentence, or is there more?

Also, be careful with your question form!
“Why IS the possessive adjective put before the gerund?”

= )

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49 Kai April 23, 2013 at 7:39 am

Hi Melanie,
V helpful, just one question re “The teacher suggested (that) we not waste time playing video games after school” – can we also say “The teacher suggested (that) we DO NOT waste time…”? I am speaking about natural English here, not grammar books.
Thanks,
Kai

Reply

Melanie 50 Melanie April 24, 2013 at 9:35 pm

That’s a good question, Kai! I didn’t think about it when I wrote that sentence. I just wrote what came naturally.

I checked the book ‘Practical English Usage’ by Michael Swan [http://astore.amazon.com/english0f-20/detail/019442099X]. Since the verb in the ‘that clause’ is in the subjunctive, ‘do’ is not is not used. ‘Do’ is not used with any verb in the subjective. Just use ‘not.’ ‘Not’ comes before the verb.

= )

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51 Edward May 4, 2013 at 8:47 am

Thank you for this useful site. I would like to know how to arrange the following sentence with “suggest”.
Can I say, “I suggest you to go to the doctor’s”

Thank you for your help.

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Melanie 52 Melanie May 5, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Hi, Edward!

Let’s take a look at your sentence:
“I suggest you to go to the doctor’s.”
There are two parts to your sentence: “I suggest” and a ‘that-clause’ “you to go to the doctor’s.”

You should use the structure in section #1 for your sentence:
subject + suggest + (that*) + subject + subjunctive

“I suggest (that) you go to the doctor.”

= )

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53 Alejandro Saravia May 12, 2013 at 2:02 pm

I have a question. At the beginning of this “lesson”, you said you shouldn’t use direct personal object. You suggested that we should use this pattern:

subject + suggest + (that*) + subject + subjunctive

My question is related to the pronoun “you”. Since the subject pronoun and the direct object pronoun are the same, I think “I suggest you study” should be correct, but you mentioned that “you” (as well as “us”; which I completely agree/understand).
Do you have any comments on this issue?

Thank you,

Alejandro

Reply

Melanie 54 Melanie May 13, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Hi, Alejandro,

In your example sentence, “I suggest you study,” ‘you’ is not the direct object pronoun. It’s the subject pronoun of the ‘that-clause.’ Even if you don’t use ‘that’ in your sentence, ‘you’ is still the subject pronoun. It goes with the verb ‘study.’

You can’t say:
“I suggest you a movie.”
“He suggests you to call him later.”

Those sentences are incorrect.

= )

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55 Mario May 16, 2013 at 2:05 pm

What does Nigel suggest they do?

He suggests they have a toast.

Please reply, it is correct or do I need to put the that clause before they?

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Melanie 56 Melanie May 20, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Hi, Mario,

“What does Nigel suggest they do?”
~ “He suggests they have a toast.’”

Correct!

‘They do’ and ‘they have a toast’ are ‘that-clauses.’ With the verb suggest, you don’t need to include the word ‘that’ as part of the clause.

= )

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57 Oscar May 20, 2013 at 10:57 am

Clear!, now I am very clear with this. Could you give me an easy explanation about common patterns+verbs+he, she, me…? When can I use the structure: I want you…He wants she…..They ask me…., for aexample.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Oscar

Reply

Melanie 58 Melanie May 20, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Hi, Oscar,

Subject + verb + object is the most common sentence structure in English. Most verbs are used this way. There are only a few verbs like ‘suggest.’

“He wants she” is not correct.

Here are some patterns that follow this sentence structure:
http://esl.about.com/od/writingintermediate/a/sentence_patterns.htm

= )

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59 Natalia May 26, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Dear Melanie,
Thank you very much for helping us improve our English. It’s really kind of you.
I’d like you to answer two questions about suggest.
1.- Is it possible to use suggest with modals?
Eg. She suggested that she could take a taxi.
She suggested that that book might be found in the library.
2.- I thought that the diference between suggest that…. and suggest +ing… was that the latter was for a suggestion including the speaker.
Eg. Why don’t we go to the cinema?” John said.
John suggested going to the cinema.
And the former, a suggestion especially when it is for someone else
Eg. John told Mary,”why don’t you visit Paris?
John suggested that Mary visited/visit /should visit Paris. (I have already read above that the one with should is slightely different, isn’t it?
Eg. John tells Mary, “why don’t you visit Paris?
John suggests that Mary visits/ visit/ should visit Paris.
In this case of reporting in present, are the 3 options correct?
Thank you in advance.

Reply

Melanie 60 Melanie May 27, 2013 at 7:37 pm

Hi, Natalia!

Question 1: Is it possible to use suggest with modals?
Eg. She suggested that she could take a taxi.
She suggested that that book might be found in the library.

Answer: In American English, no, ‘suggest’ isn’t usually used with modals. I can’t think of a single natural sentence when you could use ‘suggest’ and a modal verb. I’ve noticed in some British grammar books that ‘should’ can be used with ‘suggest,’ but this is unnatural in American English.

‘Suggest’ means to say that something is possible, so a modal verb is not needed. Instead, re-word your sentences:
She suggested taking a taxi.
She suggested looking for that book in the library. [She didn't say the book would definitely be there, just that it's possible the book is there.]

Question 2: I thought that the difference between suggest that…. and suggest +ing… was that the latter was for a suggestion including the speaker.
Answer: I have never heard this. You can write all your example sentences both ways, and the meaning is still the same.

Eg. Why don’t we go to the cinema?” John said.
John suggested going to the cinema.
Also possible: John suggested that we go to the movies. ['Cinema' isn't used in American English. It's a British word.]

And the former, a suggestion especially when it is for someone else
Eg. John told Mary,”why don’t you visit Paris?
John suggested that Mary visit Paris.
John suggested visiting Paris. [if you don't need to include who John was talking to.]
*In the ‘that’ clause, use the subjunctive verb tense. The subjunctive is just the base form of the verb, so it doesn’t change.

If you want to use ‘should’: John told Mary she should visit Paris.

Eg. John tells Mary, “why don’t you visit Paris?
~ This isn’t correct. Why did you use the present tense in “John tells Mary”?

= )

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61 islam June 2, 2013 at 10:33 pm

Dear Melanie,
you said never used infinitive after suggest but you gave a example like “He suggested several different things to do after dinner” it doesn’t make sense to me .please explain this .

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Melanie 62 Melanie June 6, 2013 at 9:57 pm

Hi, Islam,

Well, now. This is an excellent question! I had to think about this for a while. I cannot find a grammar book or website that talks about suggest being used with an infinitive.

“No politician has suggested a way to improve the economy.”

“He suggested several different things to do after dinner.”

In these sentences, ‘suggest’ is not followed directly by an infinitive. It’s suggest + noun + infinitive. However, I think it’s more complicated than that. I think the infinitive is part of the object, so it’s actually suggest + noun phrase:

“No politician has suggested …”
WHAT has no politician suggested? ~ a way to improve the economy.

“He suggested …”
WHAT did he suggest? ~ several different things to do
WHEN did suggest you do them? ~ after dinner.

You CANNOT say:

“No politician has suggested to improve the economy.” [INCORRECT]

“He suggested to do several different things after dinner.” [INCORRECT]

If I find a better answer, I will type it here & update the article above.

Thank you for bringing this to my attention!
= )

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63 Darek July 9, 2013 at 4:35 pm

hi Melanie

can I say for example :

He suggested that she go for a walk with him.

He suggested to her going for a walk together.

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Melanie 64 Melanie July 9, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Hi, Darek!

Your first sentence is correct:
He suggested that she go for a walk with him.

However, your second sentence is better like this:
He suggested going for a walk together (to her).

Remember, you suggest something to someone!

= )

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65 Darek July 10, 2013 at 3:14 am

thank you very much, dziękuję bardzo Melanie ;-)

but I can’t say- He suggested that she goes for a walk with him.

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Melanie 66 Melanie July 11, 2013 at 5:07 pm

No, you can’t say ‘He suggested that she goes for a walk with him.’

Remember, in the ‘that-clause,’ the verb is in the subjunctive form (the base form of the verb). It doesn’t change form.

‘He suggested that she GO for a walk with him.’

= )

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67 Darek July 14, 2013 at 11:41 am

thank you so much, merci beaucoup, dziękuję bardzo ;-)

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68 Sarvar July 27, 2013 at 7:43 pm

hi Melanie
this is good lesson. than you. i have one question. this sentence is correct?
(I really love this app and will suggest to everyone.)

thank u,
sarvar

Reply

Melanie 69 Melanie July 29, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Hello Sarvar,

1. Don’t use parentheses ( ) for an example sentence. You can just write the sentence or use quotation marks.

For example …
Is this sentence correct? “I really love this app and will suggest to everyone.”

2. Your sentence is ALMOST correct!
“I really love this app and will suggest IT to everyone.”
You suggest SOMETHING.

= )

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70 Pedro August 1, 2013 at 1:05 pm

I want to thank you for your excelent blog and explanation about the “suggest”. I will no longer have problem with this tricky word.
Best wishes,
Pedro.

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71 sajid August 8, 2013 at 1:39 pm

great help to avoid confusion ,thanks a lot

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72 kelsang August 15, 2013 at 8:03 am

Hi Melanie,
Thank you so much for your nice website!
My name is Kelsang.I am from Nepal.I have a problem with using my words and grammer.Although i am very good with my vacabulary i cannot use it in the sentence and most of the people always says they don`t understand my sentence structure.Can you give me some idea how can i improve my english grammer and can use my words??
Thank you so much Melanie.
Hoping to see your response.

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Melanie 73 Melanie August 26, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Hi, Kelsang,

Knowing vocabulary is good, but you need to know how to use it in a sentence. Instead of learning individual words, make sure you learn collocations as well.

http://www.englishteachermelanie.com/study-tip-what-are-collocations/

To learn more collocations & proper sentence structure, you need to do as much listening & reading as possible. To improve your speaking, speak with a native speaker, either in person, or over the internet.

Good luck to you!
= )

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74 eli August 16, 2013 at 11:55 am

excellent post.
Thank you so much. Finally some one explain it clearly

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75 Sarah September 1, 2013 at 5:13 am

Hi! very useful lesson, but I a bit confused..
I have to do an exam and there’s a phrase that I have to complete:

Tom suggested ….. a new car

A)my buying ( this could be correct if there wasn’t “MY”, right?)
B) me to buy (there are both me and to so WROOONG (:)
C) To buy (there’s “to”)
D) my buying of (totally incorrect…)

so, what’s the right answer?

thanks in advance

Sarah

Reply

Melanie 76 Melanie September 3, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Hi, Sarah!

What exam is this? Was this exam written by a native speaker? Is this an advanced English exam or and exam on English literature?

“Tom suggested ….. a new car” Is that the complete sentence or is there more to the sentence after ‘car’?

The correct answer(s) could be:
“Tom suggested (that) I buy a new car.”
“Tom suggested buying a new car.”
Since those are not among the options given, I wondered if this was a test written by a native speaker.

If there is more to the sentence, there are other options:
“Tom suggested (that) my buying a new car was a bad idea.” – however, this is a very formal way of speaking, which is why I asked if this was for an advanced English class or an exam on English literature.

= )

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77 Pavel September 2, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Thanks for the useful article!

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78 Marco September 4, 2013 at 3:49 am

Hi Melanie,

just to say that you are doing a great job. This “lesson” was very helpful and your way of teaching is clear and easy to understand. Or, in other words, it`s effective.

Thanks

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79 gillian September 4, 2013 at 11:52 am

Is it correct to say this:
He suggested to the emperor to stop sending ships to China? ( I guess this one falls under the 3rd condition which is suggesting someone to do something)… i am confused. please help

Reply

Melanie 80 Melanie September 8, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Hi, Gillian,

The first section is, ‘suggest (that) someone do something.’

So, the correct sentence is,
“He suggested (that) the emperor stop sending ships to China.”

= )

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81 Candy September 10, 2013 at 11:05 pm

How about using “suggest” in passive voice.

The department was suggested to provide justifications.

Is the above sentence correct?

Thanks.
Candy

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Melanie 82 Melanie September 12, 2013 at 6:17 pm

Hi, Candy!

Your sentence is not correct. ‘Suggest’ is not followed by an infinitive.

The active form of your sentence should be:
“I [or whoever] suggested (that) the department provide justifications.”

The passive form of that sentence is:
“It was suggested that the department provide justifications.”

= )

Reply

83 Babar September 18, 2013 at 6:15 pm

Hello, dear miss milanie,
First of all, I would like to thank you that you have created a very helpful website for people who really want to learn English! I am here to learn as well. I have been learning English over 3 years, trying to learn and understand wisely than before. I would appreciate if you may answer my question about the usage of prepositions as we know that prepositions show relationship between nouns and pronouns. Also, I would like if you may tell me where and how to use colons and semi-colons?

Kindly, tell me which are correct and why?
1- he kicked me the ball or he kicked the ball to me.
2- can you buy me a pen or can you buy a pen for me?
Thanks in advance!

Reply

Melanie 84 Melanie September 20, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Hello Babar,

Thank you for your kind words!

1. Both sentences are correct:
“He kicked me the ball”
“He kicked the ball to me.”
The 2nd sentence is better than the first sentence.

2. Both sentences are correct:
“Can you buy me a pen?”
“Can you buy a pen for me?”

= )

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85 Xoxo September 25, 2013 at 2:34 am

Her brother suggests studying harder so she can get into a good university…….
can we say like this too?……..Her brother suggested to study harder, so she can get into a good university.

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Melanie 86 Melanie September 25, 2013 at 7:37 pm

Hi, Xoxo,

No, ‘suggest’ is not followed by an infinitive.

You can say,
“Her brother suggested (that) she study harder, so she can get into a good university.”

= )

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87 Learner September 26, 2013 at 7:22 am

I have a question. You said that suggest is never followed by object pronouns. But I had this test yesterday. And there is this question.

“Why don’t you reply to the President’s offer right now?” said Mary to her husband.
A. Mary ordered her husband to reply to the President’s offer right now.
B. Mary suggested that her husband should reply to the President’s offer without delay.
C. Mary told her husband why he didn’t reply to the President’s offer then.
D. Mary wondered why her husband didn’t reply to the President’s offer then.

And the answer is B. But how can ” her ” follows “suggest that “?
I’m looking forward for your answer.
Thank you.
P/s: Feel free to correct my grammar in this comment.

Reply

Melanie 88 Melanie September 26, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Hi, Learner!

“Mary suggested that her husband should reply to the President’s offer without delay.”

Answer ‘B’ falls into category 1 in my explanation. ‘Her husband’ is the subject of the ‘that’ clause:
“Her husband should reply to the President’s offer without delay.”

The sentence would be incorrect if it was:
“Mary suggested her husband that he should …”
“Mary suggested him that he should … ”

Can you see the difference?

= )

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89 Carlo September 30, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Hello Melanie,
Could you explain me the difference between Suggest and Advise?
In my opinion “Advise” works like a normal verb so I can add the object pronoun after it etc.

is “Advise” only more polite?

Thank you
Carlo

Reply

Melanie 90 Melanie October 16, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Hi, Carlo!

First, be careful with your use of ‘explain.’ It’s an unusual verb as well. You should say, “Could you explain the difference between suggest & advise?”
http://www.englishteachermelanie.com/vocabulary-how-to-use-the-verb-explain/

I had never thought about the difference between ‘suggest’ or ‘advise’ before your comment! You are correct. ‘Advise’ is easier to use in a sentence, but it’s a more formal verb. ‘Suggest’ is used more in informal, everyday conversation. ‘Advise’ is more formal, and it’s more commonly used in politics.

For example, you wouldn’t say “Can you advise me a restaurant for dinner?” That sounds weird! “Can you suggest a restaurant for dinner?” is better!

= )

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91 Anna October 15, 2013 at 10:10 am

Hi, Melanie!
What you’re doing here on this site is worth taking time and trouble! Thank you a lot for such awesome explanations!

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92 Swapna Achar October 18, 2013 at 4:54 am

Hi Melanie,

Needed a clarification about another example of using the word `suggest’. Suppose, I have to say:
John suggests TO Dick that he go for a walk

OR

John suggests Dick that he go for a walk?

Another way of putting it would be John suggests that Dick go for a walk, but I would like to know whether TO is needed when you are using two names.

Thanks,

Swapna

Reply

Melanie 93 Melanie October 18, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Hi, Swapna!

“John suggests that Dick go for a walk.”

“John tells Dick to go for a walk.”

‘To’ is not needed when you are using two names.

= )

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94 Samuel October 19, 2013 at 12:37 am

Thanks a lot Madam, now I know it. I will suggest to my friends to also read this blog.

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Melanie 95 Melanie October 21, 2013 at 2:17 pm

Hi, Samuel!

It’s better to say, “I will recommend this blog to my friends.” or “I will tell my friends to read this blog.”

Remember, you don’t suggest TO someone. That’s not the correct use of ‘suggest.’

= )

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96 Saif October 20, 2013 at 6:06 am

Thanks a lot Melanie , it is very useful

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97 Lucianail October 28, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Thank you Melanie it is very interesting subjet. I will keep in mind this new lesson.
Have a happy day
Luciana

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98 Carlo November 2, 2013 at 8:52 am

Thank you Melanie! :)

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99 dai November 20, 2013 at 4:07 am

hello melanie! thanks alot for your lessons.it seems to me that you are not only good at pronunciation but also grammar .thanks for your explanation how to use suggest in details situation.

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100 Milla November 26, 2013 at 9:20 am

Thanks for the explanation!

It seems there is some typos: Correct example ‘Her brother suggests studying harder so she can get into a good university’ and the following ‘incorrect’ example are the same :)

Reply

Melanie 101 Melanie December 30, 2013 at 4:18 pm

That is so weird! I swear that the INCORRECT sentences were actually incorrect when I posted this!

Thank you for pointing out the typos. : )

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102 denis December 5, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Hi Melanie,

Such a great explanation, thanks, it was interesting to read even for me, an English teacher.

Still, since I’m not a native speaker, I’d like to ask you a question regarding “suggest+subjunctive” and “suggest+gerund”. According to the coursebook I used to study from, the pattern “suggest+gerund” is used when a speaker takes part in the process he/she’s speaking about, e. g.: I suggest going to the cinema = I suggest WE go to the cinema, while “suggest+subjunctive” is a simple advice (well, there are other possible connotations, but it’s not that important now): I suggest you go to the cinema = You should go to the cinema.

Are there these differences in meaning, or are these structures completely interchangeable?

Thanks in advance,

Denis

Reply

Melanie 103 Melanie December 30, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Hi, Denis!

What text book are you using? That is a great way to think of the difference between “suggest+subjunctive” and “suggest+gerund”! I had never thought of that before, nor had I read that anywhere. It’s very useful information!

They are great guidelines, but they are not strict rules. It may be more common & natural to say “I suggest you go to the movies” [cinema is British English!] when you want to give advice, but it’s not wrong to say “I suggest going to the movies.”

= )

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104 Egon January 21, 2014 at 7:58 am

How about suggest + indirect object + infinitive? e.g. “They suggested to me to go there.“ Would this be wrong?

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Melanie 105 Melanie February 20, 2014 at 7:09 pm

Hi, Egon!

The correct sentence should be,
“They suggested that I go there.”

= )

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106 Cesar February 19, 2014 at 11:01 am

Melanie,

I’ve never seen such a clearful explanation like this,congratulations. Your way to explain grammar rules is absolutely fantastic,God bless you. Thanx a lot. Kisses.

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107 Carmen Ricon February 27, 2014 at 4:06 pm

Hi Melanie,
Just one more question about the use os the verb suggest in a negative suggestion, for exemple: the sentence ” you suggest that she not wait so long” , how can you put it in the form suggest + gerund.? Is it correct “you suggest not waiting so long” ?
Thanks
Carmen

Reply

Melanie 108 Melanie March 12, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Hi, Carmen!

Yes, your sentence is fine:
“You suggest not waiting so long.”

Although, it sounds odd to me to use ‘you suggest,’ unless you’re using it in a question:
“Do you suggest not waiting so long?”

“She suggests not waiting so long.”

= )

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109 María March 3, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Thank you very much; it is quite useful for spanish native speakers.

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110 aracelly March 6, 2014 at 10:26 am

hello thanks for your explaining it is very useful but i want to know this grammar structure i do not relly understand i need your hel please this is the sentence:
never before have i read anything so scary
i notice that there is a change in subject- veb placement and it really confuses me would you mind explaining it ? thanks

Reply

Melanie 111 Melanie March 12, 2014 at 2:13 pm

Hello Aracelly,

I have rewritten your comment to make it easier to understand:

“Hello,

Thanks for your explanation. It is very useful.

I really need your help. I want to understand this grammar structure:
“Never before have I read anything so scary.”

I notice that there is a change in the subject- verb placement and it really confuses me. Would you mind explaining it? Thanks.”

~

This is an advanced sentence structure called “inversion” or “inverted sentences.” Here’s a good explanation:

http://esl.about.com/od/advancedgrammar/a/inversion.htm

= )

Reply

112 Vinod March 7, 2014 at 4:15 am

You note here that we should never write the subjective pronouns after “suggest.” Will this construction be wrong?
I suggest Dr.Alex(him) for your issues in English.

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Melanie 113 Melanie March 12, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Hi, Vinod,

“I suggest going to see Dr.Alex about your issues in English.”

or

“I suggest talking to Dr.Alex about your issues in English.”

Don’t use ‘him.’

= )

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114 anurag March 11, 2014 at 11:33 am

how to learn english at home please suggest something which can help it would be in any form like book, internet or apps

thanking you

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Melanie 115 Melanie March 12, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Yes, your sentence is correct, Anurag! You used ‘suggest’ correctly!

= )

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116 Pedro Hammerman March 18, 2014 at 7:57 am

All of your explanations are great! Go on like that!

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117 irene March 19, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Hi, Melanie,
That is a super great explanation. Thanks!

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118 Tyger March 23, 2014 at 12:59 am

Hi there,

You said, “Suggest is never followed by an object pronoun (me, us, you, etc.)”

So, is this sentence wrong?

I suggest you listen to your parents and do as you are told.

Thanks.

Tyger

Reply

Melanie 119 Melanie March 24, 2014 at 4:01 pm

Hi, Tyger,

In your example sentence, ‘you’ is not the object pronoun, but the subject of the ‘that’ clause”

I suggest (that) you listen to your parents and do as you are told.

This is an example of ‘you’ as an object pronoun, and therefore incorrect:
“I suggest you some nice places to visit in my town.”

= )

Reply

120 Tyger March 25, 2014 at 8:51 am

I see. Thanks :)

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121 Babar March 27, 2014 at 4:25 pm

Hi, I frequently visit your website and see people’s questions and your answers to their questions.
Please, correct my mistake if I am wrong..
Somebody asked me “which part in America are you from”?
I answered “I am, in America, from New York.
Thanks in advance!

Reply

Melanie 122 Melanie March 29, 2014 at 10:14 pm

Hi, Babar!

“Which part in America are you from?” Did a native speaker ask you this question? I think the person was asking you “Where do you live (in the U.S.)?

Your answer wasn’t wrong, and the person understood what you were saying. It’s just more natural to say, “I’m from New York.”

Do you live in New York permanently now or are you living there temporarily? If you are just in New York for a few months, you can say “Right now I live in New York, but I’m from (your country).”

= )

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123 Babar March 31, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Hi milanie,
Thanks for your kind reply!
No, the person who asked me “which part in America are you from” doesn’t live in America. I guess he had viewed my profile and then he asked me that question.so was I correct?
Thanks once again!

Reply

Melanie 124 Melanie March 31, 2014 at 7:42 pm

Hi, Babar,

The question was not correct. A native speaker would ask, “Where do you live in the U.S.?” The correct answer is, “I live in New York.”

= )

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125 Roxanne April 2, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Hello:) I have a question :)) If we use past tenses in the first part of speech ( She suggested that…) shouldn’t we use also past tense in te second one? ( She sugessted that we went to the cinema .) You wrote second part of speech in simple present and the rules of Reportes Speech says about accordance between tenses. Could you explain it to me?:)

Reply

Melanie 126 Melanie April 6, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Hi, Roxanne!

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, ‘suggest’ is an unusual English verb and it is not used in a sentence the same way that other verbs are. So, forget about reported speech. Follow the sentence structures I explain in this post.

= )

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127 Roxanne April 2, 2014 at 2:17 pm

And taking person into account…If it is present simple and you use she, he , it, shouldn’t be there “s” at the end of the verb?

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Melanie 128 Melanie April 6, 2014 at 3:13 pm

No. As I explained in the post, the subjunctive verb tense is used with ‘suggest.’ It is different from the present simple.

= )

Reply

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