For example:

"a recommendation was made" "a suggestion was made"

I would appreciate it if you could tell me the difference.

  • 6
    If I had a euro for every time I saw this kind of question – well, I wouldn't be rich, but I could go dine at a nice restaurant. When asking about the difference between two words, please, please, please do two things first: (1) look the words up in a dictionary, and (2) paste the definitions into your question. Otherwise, someone else will look them up for you (which isn't what ELL is for), and they might well spend their time telling you something you already know. These questions could be so much better with just a little bit more effort.
    – J.R.
    Jun 13, 2015 at 12:30
  • @J.R. Caaaaalm Down. If you don't like it, delete it. Simple as that. geeeeez
    – john
    Jun 14, 2015 at 6:38
  • 3
    john - If you think I need to calm down, you're probably misinterpreting my comment. If I simply close the question, or downvote the question, then we'll get dozens more like it. If I explain how to improve the question, perhaps your next one will be better, or perhaps others will read my comment and know what to do when it's their turn to ask. Perhaps my "please, please, please" was a bit of melodramatic overkill, but I assure you that I wrote my comment with a spirit of helpfulness. I'm sorry if it didn't come across that way – maybe I should have included a smliey at the end? :^)
    – J.R.
    Jun 14, 2015 at 9:14

3 Answers 3


We use “suggest” when talking about giving someone an idea in general, and we use “recommend” when telling someone that a certain choice or option is the best one. For example:

I suggest that you wear a nice suit tomorrow. The company president is going to be visiting the office.

If you want to cook delicious dishes, I suggest that you buy fresh ingredients.

My brother suggested a Greek restaurant for dinner tonight. What do you think?

I recommend that you try the chocolate cake for dessert. I think it’s the best dessert on the menu.

My friend recommended that we go to Spain for our vacation. He said it was the best country he’s ever been to.

The clerk in the bookstore recommended this book for people who are interested in Asian culture.

With the words “suggest” and “recommend” it’s very important to pay attention to the grammar because we often use a different verb tense called the subjunctive with these words. For example, many non-native English speakers say things like: “I suggest you to study economics.” or “I recommended my friend to try the apple pie.” These sentences are totally WRONG!

If you look at the example sentences I wrote above, you’ll see that the grammar is different. The grammar is as follows:

subject + suggest/recommend + that + another person + base form of the verb

It’s important to note that the verb which comes after “suggest” or “recommend” is always in the base form, even with “he” and “she”. That’s what makes this the subjunctive tense. We can also use this tense with the verbs “demand” and “insist”. Let me give you some more examples:

My friend wants to lose weight, so I suggested that he join a gym.

The waiter recommended that we not try the curry soup because it’s very spicy.

My customer demanded that I give him a refund.

My boss insisted that Pauline go home because she wasn’t feeling well.

Normally, we would say “he joins” or “Pauline goes” but, as I said before, we must always use the base form of the verb in these types of sentences.

However, if we put a noun directly after the words “suggest” or “recommend”, the sentence is not subjunctive. For example:

My brother suggested a Greek restaurant for dinner tonight. What do you think?

The clerk in the bookstore recommended this book for people who are interested in Asian culture.


There are many situations where these words are interchangeable, i.e. they can both be used. See also here, the second definition.

'Suggestion' can mean in addition that the person giving the suggestion is actively trying to influence the receiver of the suggestion (maybe even for his own benefit).

'Recommendation' is more used in formal situations.

  • 2
    I disagree that the distinction between "suggestion" and "recommendation" is one of formality. Rather, it is one of force: if I suggest something to you, I'm making you aware that it is a possibility; if I recommend it, I'm saying that I feel you should do it. Jun 13, 2015 at 13:35

The word "Recommend" is used some what with force and with proof, often used in official committees,where as the word "suggestion" is used in common conversation and it may be personal or official.

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