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  • Writer's pictureSarah Egan

Advise, Recommend, Suggest

Updated: May 18, 2022

Let’s get straight to the point and clarify these once and for all!

How and when should we use these?

When do we use these words? “Recommend,” “Suggest,” and “Advise” are all used in situations when someone is telling, advising, suggesting, or recommending another person on what to do.

How do we use them?

In a noun phrase

In a that-clause

In a gerund phrase

Verb + noun object

My teacher advises 30 minutes of study per day.

Can you recommend a better learning strategy?

May I suggest this resource?

She recommended a great tactic to me.

He has advised what to do.

Verb + that-clause (The Subjunctive) can also be used without that.

Toni suggests (that) we hit the road by 6 in the morning.

Our boss advised (that) the team finish the project before the holiday.

I recommend (that) you carry out the procedure more efficiently than the last time.

Verb + Gerund

I suggest getting the ball rolling earlier. Our managers advised against launching the product too soon. We recommend taking a break if you work long hours.

Exception - Advise

Advise + pronoun

The manager advised us on the new protocols.

We might advise him to start applying for a higher position in order to give him a promotion.

Mary advised me to stop splitting hairs at work, as it does more harm than good.

Please advise her to stop being so late for work, as she refuses to listen to me.

My teacher advised us to revise our notes regularly.

I advise my customers to sample the products before they buy them.

When do we use them?

In many cases you can use these verbs interchangeably. However, there are also some differences in their exact meanings and usage patterns.

Let’s break this down:

  • Advise is a more formal verb, it is used in corresponding situations when one person gets direction from some sort of professional (doctor, teacher) or superior person (manager, government official).

  • Recommend is less formal and more personal. You use it when suggesting something based on your own experience.

  • Suggest is the less formal of all three verbs, you use it when talking about ideas, opinion, etc.

Common mistakes

Wrong: He suggests me to go to the dentist.

Wrong: She recommended to me her dentist.

Wrong: He has advised me try that.

Wrong: He suggested me to apply …

Wrong: Dora suggested to wait …

Wrong: He recommended to us the restaurant down the street.

Wrong: He suggested to his neighbour the restaurant down the street.

Now Test yourself: (don't peep at the answers until you're finished)

Complete with the appropriate word- advise, suggest, recommend.

1. The lawyer ………. his client not to discuss the case with anyone. 2. Jeff ………that we leave early to allow time for traffic. 3. The teacher……….. changing a few lines in my essay. 4. My boss loves to……… on different strategies. 5. Karina………. having dinner at the restaurant close to the office. 6. I …….. that you go to the doctor as soon as possible. 7. The HR department …………applying for the position. 8. May I………. an alteration in this report?

Now that you’ve learned how to use these tricky verbs, the only thing left is to incorporate it into your daily business English use today.

Write some examples in the notes below to start off your practice.









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