I hear a lot of my students make the mistake of saying “I recommend you to take.” For example, it’s raining today so we should take an umbrella when we go out, right? But DON’T say “I recommend you to take an umbrella” or “I suggest you to take an umbrella.” That’s just not correct in English. I know that maybe in your native language it might by okay to use “to take” in this case, but in English we don’t say it that way.
Recommend / Suggest + ING
How should we say it correctly? There are a couple of different ways. You can use the “ing” form of the verb immediately after recommend or suggest. You can say, “It’s raining outside, I recommend taking an umbrella” or “I suggest taking an umbrella.” That’s correct.
Recommend / Suggest + (that) + subject + verb
Or you can use this structure “I recommend that you take an umbrella” or “I suggest that you take an umbrella.” Those are correct as well. Some native English speakers will actually eliminate the word “that” and say “I recommend you take an umbrella” or “I suggest you take an umbrella.” That’s okay to say too.
Alright, now you’ve got a few different correct ways to use recommend and suggest. Don’t use the “to” use “taking” the “ing” form or use “I suggest that you take” or “I suggest you take an umbrella.”
Other English phrases for suggestions
We can also make recommendations using other phrases that don’t actually use the words recommend or suggest.
For example, a really simple way is to say, “you should” or “you shouldn’t.” For example: “It’s rainy today, you should take and umbrella” or “It’s very cold, you shouldn’t wear shorts.” That would be a negative recommendation, something I’m telling you not to do.
Four phrases for you: “I recommend taking”, “I recommend or suggest that you take”, and “You should/You shouldn’t.” You should and you shouldn’t are very direct phrases. They are almost a little bit commanding like you are saying, I know what’s best for the other person. There are certain situations where you might not want to use them.
For example, if you are talking to someone who you don’t know very well or if you are talking to your boss or a co-worker in a professional situation. Sometimes it’s not appropriate to directly say, “You should do this,” “You shouldn’t do that.” In those situations you can use recommend and suggest. Those would be appropriate.
Here’s another one, you can say, “You might want to” or “You might not want to.” For example, let’s say your boss is going to make a decision and you don’t agree with his decision. You think he is making the decision too quickly and that it is going to have bad results. It’s not so good to say directly to your boss, “You should do this” or “You shouldn’t make that decision” you’re putting too much authority on yourself.
Instead you can say, “You might want to” or “You might not want to”. For example, when talking to your boss, you might want to think it over a little more. Think it over means to think about that in more detail for a longer time. You can say, “You might not want to make that decision right away.” You’re still giving your suggestions, giving your recommendation but now you’re doing it in a softer and more polite way.
Get corrections on your English grammar
English grammar has a lot of these little details, right? There are some things that might seem correct when you think about it in your native language but in English they are not correct. Native English speakers wouldn’t say it that way; they would say it differently. It’s difficult to know when you’re studying English if you’re making these kind of mistakes or if your sentences are okay.
If you’d like to get my feedback and my correction, I have a course called Advanced English Grammar. It will teach you all these little details of English grammar. We do all the verb tenses, prepositions, adverbs, adjectives, more advanced sentence structures. Everything in English grammar, or almost everything.
At the end of each lesson there is an opportunity for you to send me your writing based on what you learned in the lesson and then I’ll correct it and send it back to you with my comments. I’ll correct any mistakes and change anything that is different from the way that a native English speaker would say it so that you can improve your writing and improve your overall grammar and sentence structure.
That way you can speak confidently, right? When you know that you’re using the right phrases you can say them with more confidence. Make sure to check out the Advanced English Grammar Course.
I have one more thing for you to do today, leave a comment on this video. Let’s imagine that you have a friend who’s learning English and your friend is just … They don’t have the confidence to speak in English. They are afraid to try speaking in English. You want to help this friend. What are one or two recommendations or suggestions you would give to someone who’s afraid to speak in English? Leave a comment under this video and use one of the phrase you learned today. I look forward to reading your comments and I’ll talk to you next time.