Which of the next sentences are correct? Could I use the word "should" after the phrase "it is recommended"?

It is recommended that governments should set new targets


It is recommended that governments set new targets

  • I suspect there's a syntactic principle dictating that should is invalid in the cited context. But even if there is, I can't spell it out. All I can do is point out that recommend that you should go is extremely rare compared to recommend that you go. So I recommend that you avoid it (not that you should avoid it). Nov 8 '20 at 18:20

Grammatically both are correct and mean the same.

The word "should" not needed and in formal writing you should try to keep your syntax tight and concise. So either write, "It is recommended that governments set new targets", or "Governments should set new targets".

The form with recommended is less personal in tone, and so is suitable for a formal text. The verb may be in the subjunctive mood so you can write "It is recommended that he set new targets".

However, you can use "recommended" with "should" and you will see examples of that in other people's writing. It doesn't affect comprehension.

Some people do but it is recommended that you should not (Joke)

  • Some people do but it is recommended that you don't! Strange that we can (reasonably?) say Some people smoke but it is recommended that you should not smoke, but we can't do that with to do instead of to smoke. Nov 8 '20 at 18:29
  • You can say that. It would be better (at least in formal writing) to say "It is recommended that you don't smoke". But grammatically inserting "should" is not a problem.
    – James K
    Nov 8 '20 at 18:35
  • Well, I won't argue if you say "should" is "valid" in such contexts. But per my comment under the question, it's actually so rarely included that learners might be better advised simply to avoid it completely anyway. Nov 8 '20 at 18:39

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