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Are there the different meanings between the following two sentences?

  1. The association recommends (that) people eat smaller portions at lunch.

  2. The association recommends people to eat smaller portions at lunch.

Which sentence is more likely to be used?

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  • This thread Different uses of subjunctive might be helpful for you. :) -- Note that the word "recommends" can often be a mandative word.
    – F.E.
    Feb 27 '15 at 21:08
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    The second sentence seems very awkward to me - I would write it as The association recommends eating smaller portions at lunch.
    – ColleenV
    Feb 27 '15 at 22:51
  • "...recommends people to eat..." sounds like it suggests cannibalism.
    – JavaLatte
    Oct 20 '16 at 17:43
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The first sentence is correct. The second is not. If you wanted to use "to eat" you would need to use a verb such as "counseled" or "advised". You cannot use the infinitive form after "recommended" or "suggested".

  • We recommended that they eat toast. We suggested that they eat toast. We advised them to try the toast. We counseled them to avoid the bacon. We warned them not to eat the sauerkraut.

The only sense in which "recommend people to {verb} would be sometimg like this:

  • "The association recommended [a few] people to be considered for the position of Secretary."

But in this sentence, the people are being recommended, not the action they might do (which is not even mentioned)

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Both sentences are correct and they mean the same thing.

  1. The association recommends people eat smaller portions at lunch.

  2. The association recommends people to eat smaller portions at lunch.

In sentence #1, it's wrong to think that eat is the bare infinitive, and recommend can take both a bare infinitive as well as a to-infinitive. While recommend can take a to-infinitive, it can't take a bare infinitive. Sentence #1 can be written like the following -

  1. The association recommends (that) people eat smaller portions at lunch.

that is omitted in the sentence.

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  • yes, I know the sentence omitted "that" and "should". Sentence #1 can also be written as follows, right? 1. The association recommends (that) people (should) eat portions at lunch. It seems to have a little bit different nuances of meaning between two sentences.
    – Faji
    Feb 27 '15 at 1:06
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Sentence #1 is correct, #2 is incorrect. (If I heard someone say #2, I would assume they were a foreigner with an imperfect command of English.) The phrase "recommends that" is followed by a verb in the subjunctive mood. The subjunctive is rarely used in modern English, but still appears in phrases like "I demand that he be brought here" or "He insisted that she learn English," describing a condition that does not necessarily exist in actual fact (but which is desired).

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  • Welcome to ELL! Thank you for your answer. Generally speaking, it's better to answer new questions, rather than ones like this that are several months old. It is generally more helpful if you can explain why something is wrong, rather than simply saying that it sounds foreign.
    – JavaLatte
    Oct 20 '16 at 17:49

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