I have a Complex Object question.

Is it possible to say

"I suggest you to have cooked soup"

instead of:

"I suggest you cook soup"

to express finished action? Or is it a rude mistake to use Perfect Infinitive here?

  • 1
    It's possible to say it, but it doesn't make any sense. Suggest is present tense, while to have cooked is in the past. Unless one of us has a time machine, I could not act on your suggestion. – Andrew Jul 23 '18 at 14:06
  • 1
    are you trying to say in the past you suggested they cook soup? – WendyG Jul 23 '18 at 14:12
  • 1
    @Andrew I don't think it's possible to say it in that context either. I suggest (that) you do something, not I suggest (that) you to have done something. You never really suggest someone something as there's an implicit that there. – userr2684291 Jul 23 '18 at 14:15
  • 1
    The past action is expressed with the verb suggest (suggested, have suggested), not the phrase you make soup. – Lambie Jul 23 '18 at 17:09

The verbs recommend and suggest do not take to-infinitives:

  • I suggest you make some soup. [present]

  • I suggested [yesterday] you make some soup. [past for suggest, make remains the same]
  • I have suggested [in the past] you make some soup.

We say make soup, not cook it, by the way.

The verb tense is with the first verb, not the second verb. Make some soup is invariable here.

you make some soup is like an idea, it is invariable here; a quasi-direct object.

Look what happens if you remove the you and use the possessive with a gerund noun:

I suggest your making soup. [for the party] I suggested your making soup. I have suggested your making soup.

The your can also just be left out.


There are few temporal circumstances where a recommendation or suggestion wouldn't use the bare infinitive:

I suggest you brew us up a pot of coffee.

but would use the perfect:

I'd advise you to have been home asleep when all of this went down.

There, you're giving the person an (albeit weak) "alibi" that they should use if they should be questioned at some time in the future about their involvement in what "went down".


I plan to "think on my feet" at the presentation.
-- Is that so? I would advise you to have come up with your ideas well in advance.

The verb suggest, however, doesn't play well with the perfect infinitive.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.