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In weblio's entry about recommend (note: I can't understand the Japanese content), an example is given of "recommend" being followed by an infinitive:

She recommended me to try this oil for sunburn.

Is this valid English?

2 Answers 2

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Yes, this is acceptable in all registers. Recommend may take a that, gerund, or infinitive complement:

She recommended that I try this oil for sunburn. ... with ‘mandative subjunctive’
She recommended {me / my / ∅} trying this oil for sunburn.
She recommended me to try this oil for sunburn. ... with subject ‘raised’ in object case, as the indirect object of recommend

  • ADDED: As FumbleFingers points out, the version with the infinitive and raising may also be understood as a recommendation that I (me) be the direct object: the person recommended to someone else as the person who should try this oil. This ambiguity will ordinarily not arise in context, but it may explain why, as Travis points out, the infinitive complement has been losing ground to the that complement: see Travis' link to ELU.

An older use which appears to have virtually disappeared is the infinitive with prepositional dative:

She recommended to me to try this oil for sunburn.

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    I'm a native speaker (US west coast, living in Australia now), and I'm not sure that I've heard this construction before. Apparently it's much less common now than it was in the past: english.stackexchange.com/a/52090/89555 (The thread is quite interesting in its own right.)
    – Travis
    Aug 27, 2014 at 14:35
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    It's probably worth noting that your third form She recommended me to try X could also mean she recommended to someone else that I should be the one to try X (rather than, say, herself, or some other "human guinea-pig"). Idiomatically, the very first credible noun after recommend is usually the thing being recommended (so for OP's intended sense, I'd probably go for She recommended this oil for sunburn, as a "cut-down" version of your first form). Aug 27, 2014 at 14:39
  • @Travis A good point - see my addition. Aug 27, 2014 at 14:47
  • @FumbleFingers A good point - see my addition. Aug 27, 2014 at 14:47
  • I've been put straight several times on ELU (by people who know more than me) when I offer a reason why some usage might have gone out of fashion. But I commented years ago that I don't much like the infinitive after recommend. And for me at least, that "potential ambiguity" is almost certainly a factor, even if other people might have different reasons. Aug 27, 2014 at 16:10
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You could also use "She recommended I try this oil for sunburn" or "She recommended this oil for sunburn". The latter is slightly ambiguous!

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