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Could you please suggest me which word to use.

Could you please suggest to me which word to use.

I am not sure which of the above two forms is grammatical. I am confused because for tell verb we use 'tell me', and for explain 'explain to me'.

Can anyone please explain it to me?

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    I am not sure which of the above two forms is grammatical? isn't a question, so it doesn't take a "?" I'll let @Carlo_R. go back and reedit the question.
    – user264
    Commented Mar 9, 2013 at 15:50
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    @user264 Declarative questions are far more acceptable nowadays. 'You're going shopping tomorrow?' They're marked by rising terminal intonation in conversation, and need a question mark to identify them in writing. I'd say that 'I'm not sure which of the above two forms is grammatical?' is acceptable in a non-formal register. Commented Dec 11, 2015 at 8:19

3 Answers 3

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"Suggest" is not normally followed by an indirect object without a preposition. So you should say:

Could you please suggest to me which ...

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    I don't know why someone downvoted this. It's perfectly correct. Though it's probably true to say OP's usage of the verb suggest isn't exactly "kosher" in the first place for many native speakers, as implied by @Tlazolteotl's answer. Commented Mar 9, 2013 at 15:23
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    I'd suggest that it's downvoted because many people believe you shouldn't put prepositional phrases (or adverbs, for that matter) between verbs and their direct objects (indirect objects are fine). I'd agree with this when the direct object is short. But for long direct objects, like the OP's, I would put "to me" first. Commented Mar 9, 2013 at 16:20
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    I believe there are some people who believe that "suggest to me ..." is ungrammatical, even if the direct object is very long. A similar question came up on EL&U, although I'm unable to find it. This also seems to be a new development in English. If you search in Google books for "explain to me this mystery", almost all the hits are from before 1900, while "explain this mystery to me" has many recent hits, as well as some older ones. Commented Mar 9, 2013 at 16:38
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    @Thor: I think most native speakers (particularly, Americans) would classify your #1 as "ungrammatical" for the same reason they don't like I'll open you the door. But as Peter Shor indicates above, by no means everyone would be 100% happy with such usage of "suggest", even once the secondary "indirect object" (i.e. - me) has been given an acceptable preposition. Commented Mar 9, 2013 at 17:32
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    I believe the second expression of the OP would have sounded fine to native speakers in 1850, but sounds odd to many native speakers (but not all) now. Commented Mar 10, 2013 at 18:27
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The most common way suggest is used, as far as I've heard, is how you used explain in your last sentence: "Could you suggest something to me?"

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  • Would you say "Could you please suggest which word to use to me?"
    – user1425
    Commented Sep 27, 2013 at 9:17
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When suggest is followed by a pronoun, a preposition is not used. No 'to' between suggest and me. Suggest is one of those verbs that cannot be followed by object + infinitive. Instead, we use that-clauses and –ing forms.

Father suggested consulting a financial advisor. OR Father suggested that I should consult a financial advisor. (NOT Father suggested me to consult a financial advisor.) (NOT Father suggested to consult a financial advisor.) (https://www.englishgrammar.org/suggest/)

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    Are you saying that "suggest me" is correct?
    – ColleenV
    Commented Aug 5, 2017 at 17:12
  • Yes. For example - Suggest me a method to get rid of foul smell. Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 15:05
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    “Suggest me” is not correct. Neither is “explain me”, although it is a common mistake.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 15:17

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