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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > Advice verbs (recommend suggest advise)    

Advice verbs (recommend suggest advise)


Advice verbs (recommend suggest advise)
Hi, everybody! 
I am very confused about what structures we can use after such advice verbs as suggest, recommend, advise. I have read different grammar books, looked them up in a bunch of dictionaries but failed to find a solid answer. Can you help me out?
So here are the options that I found may be used after the verbs:
 Let �s say we have a problem: He needs to improve his English.
                 A possible solution: He should sign up for an English course. 
What are the correct ways to give advice?
I recommend/suggest:   signing up for the course 
                                       his signing up for the course 
                                       that he sign up for the course (the subjunctive)
                                       that he signed up for the course (i found it in English file Advanced p. 150)
                                       that he signs up for the course (I found it on bbc.co.uk website) 
                                       that he should sign up for the course
                                       him to sign up for the course (that �s the biggest dilemma, cuz some websites and people say that it �s totally incorrect, however previously mentioned English file, Grammar in use intermediate by Murphy, Oxford and Longman dictionaries are perfectly fine with such usage) 
So, is it about American English vs British English? 
Thank you in advance for the help and have a good day :-)

14 Nov 2017      

United States

Hi, Katia,
Here �s what is common in the US:
I recommend signing up for the course.
...that he sign up for the course.
I might say, "I recommend for him to sign up for the course", but now without "for".
Although "I recommend his signing up for the course" is grammatically correct, that construction (his signing up) is not common with recommend and suggest. I think it is used more after a preposition, as in "I was surprised by his signing up for the course".
I recommend that he signs up for the course is becoming more common here, but I wouldn �t say it.
The other three options sound unnatural, so I don �t think they are at all common here.
Using "should" would be redundant, and in the US, we tend to avoid redundancy when we can.
I hope others will reply. Maybe they just didn �t want to go first.   :)

14 Nov 2017     


Thank you, Bruce! 
That �s what my American friends also said, that they use only gerund and subjunctive after those verbs,
but I suppose things might be different in the UK as long as I found all these examples in British dictionaries/course books. 
Thanks again for replying! I also hope British English know-alls will show up ;-) 

15 Nov 2017     


Hello, Brit here! I agree with everything Bruce said, though, so I don �t think it �s a case of British vs. American usage but rather what is more common or considered correct nowadays compared to in the past.

15 Nov 2017