Correct usage of the verb suggest

Suggest is a common verb in English. To suggest is to offer an idea or plan for someone to consider.

  • She suggested consulting a doctor.
  • He suggested some solutions to the problem.

Suggest cannot be followed by a to-infinitive. It has to be followed by a that-clause, an –ing form or a noun.

  • He suggested that I should apply for that job.
  • OR He suggested applying for that job.
  • The dentist suggested that I should change my toothpaste.
  • OR The dentist suggested changing the toothpaste.
  • I suggest that we have dinner first.
  • Are you suggesting that I did this on purpose?

Suggest can be followed by what, why or where.

  • Can you suggest what we should do to regain our competitive advantage?
  • In case there is a problem we suggest contacting our support team.

The verb ‘suggest’ is frequently used with the adverbs seriously, strongly, tentatively, politely, respectfully and tactfully.

  • Can you suggest a movie that I can watch with my children?
  • Studies have clearly suggested a link between asthma and environmental pollution.
  • The doctor suggested taking a long holiday. (NOT The doctor suggested to take a long holiday.)
  • The advocate suggested that I should talk to a counselor.

Suggest cannot be followed by a personal object. If there is an object, it should be preceded by the preposition ‘to’.

  • If your child failed an important exam, what would you suggest to him? (NOT … what would you suggest him?)
  • The principal suggested to dads that they should play an active role in bringing up their children.

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