I have stumbled across the following sentence in a book: 'She suggested that I trained as a teacher.'

As far as I know, after the word 'suggest' we have to use either the subjunctive or 'should + infinitive'. Therefore, it would be correct to say 'She suggested that I train as a teacher' or 'She suggested that I should train as a teacher'.

Could you please tell me if the sentence from the book is also the correct structure to use in the that-clause after the word 'suggest'?

Thank you in advance.

1 Answer 1


"She suggested that I train as a teacher" is perfectly good and valid. It means the same thing as "... should train ...". The fact that "she suggested" it makes it a recommendation, a "should", and not an established fact. Saying "should" is unnecessary. You might add it for clarity or emphasis.

Perhaps I should not that with the past tense it becomes speculation rather than recommendation. Like if you said, "She suggested that Bob was trained as a teacher", you are saying that she is speculating that this is the case. Perhaps he used methods that are commonly taught in teaching colleges. Something led her to believe that he was trained as a teacher, but either she was not confidant enough to say this was a fact, or the person writing the sentence didn't believe she had grounds for such confidence.

  • Thank you for your answer. But the reason why I am confused is the fact that the author of this sentence isn't speculating that he or she 'trained as a teacher'. The author of this book gives both the wrong and right examples. The wrong example is 'She suggested me to train as a teacher'. And the right example that the author gives is 'She suggested that I trained as a teacher.' So, I come to the conclusion that the author didn't mean to express speculation in this sentence. Aug 4, 2022 at 14:15
  • I've also found another example demonstrating the same structure in 'Advanced Grammar in Use' by Martin Hewings: 'There were cheers when he suggested that we went home early.' So, it seems that using 'bare' infinitive or 'should + infinitive' in the that-clause after the word 'suggest' are not the only options, but I'm still not sure. Aug 4, 2022 at 14:23
  • @ОльгаБракина "She suggest me ..." is wrong because it should be "I" and not "me", it's the subject, not the object. Shifting from "... to train as a teacher" and "... trained as a teacher" changes it from a recommendation to a speculation. "She suggested that I train as a teacher" and "She suggested that I trained as a teacher" mean two very different things. Possible that the original author made a mistake or is confused.
    – Jay
    Aug 4, 2022 at 15:31
  • Quite true that bare infinitive and "should"-plus are not the only options, as I tried to describe above. "There were cheers ..." is an unlikely sentence. By saying "went", past tense, he's saying it's something that already happened. Who would cheer because you went home early in the past? He probably means, "There were cheers when he suggested that we go home early."
    – Jay
    Aug 4, 2022 at 15:33

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