Language tip of the week: suggest

Posted by on July 26, 2012

In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are based on areas of English (e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, etc) which learners often find difficult. Here is some advice about the patterns that follow the verb suggest:

When suggest means ‘to offer an idea or a plan for someone to consider’, it is never followed by an infinitive. Use the pattern suggest doing something:
✗ The government suggested to construct another railway link to the mainland.
✓ The government suggested constructing another railway link to the mainland.

When suggest and the verb that follows it have different subjects, you can use the pattern suggest that someone should do something:
The therapist also suggested that Pamela should tell her parents more about what she was doing.

Suggest with this meaning is never followed by a direct personal object. Use the preposition to:
✗ If this happened to one of your friends, what would you suggest her?
✓ If this happened to one of your friends, what would you suggest to her?
✗ He suggests parents that they should adopt a different way of bringing up their children.
✓ He suggests to parents that they should adopt a different way of bringing up their children.

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