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When we can use a gerund (or infinitive) after the verbs: suggest and recommend? These examples made a confusion for me:

We recommend you to book your flight early.

He recommends reading the book before watching the movie.

I recommend you going there.

I suggest you go to the sport center. (is it OK to add to before the verb go, or using going instead of it?)

  • Your first sentence sounds wrong. Leave out the to and it seems fine. The other three sentences sounds just fine to me. I don't think there is much difference in meaning between the bare infinitive and -ing forms here. – Sander Jul 28 '15 at 17:22
  • I've found the first sentence from Oxford dictionary. However I've change it a bit. Here is the original sentence: We'd recommend you to book your flight early. Does it make sense now? – arash Jul 28 '15 at 17:28
  • Yes it sounds fine. On second thought it didn't sound that wrong, I was wrong about that. It's with suggest that you leave out the to, not with recommend. – Sander Jul 28 '15 at 17:31
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I think it is usual to use that as a conjunction in these examples.
See the definition that:

7) a subordinating conjunction used to introduce:

So I would write them as follows:

We recommend that you book your flight early.

He recommends that you read the book before watching the movie.

I recommend that you go there.

I suggest that you go to the sport center.

Also check the definition recommend and you can see this form:

4) to advise; counsel; suggest ⇒ "to recommend that something be done"

  • I'm OK with that ; But I don't get when we can use gerund and infinitives for verbs suggest and recommend... – arash Jul 29 '15 at 7:41
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This is a very interesting question. I can tell you what sounds right, but not really why.

To my ear, the infinitive never sounds right after these two verbs, including that example from OED. So perhaps it's a British thing.

The gerund seems appropriate if there is no explicit subject after suggest or recommend:

I recommend reading the book first.

-but-

I recommend that he reads the book first.

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These are all examples of giving advice, which depends greatly on placing emphasis on certain words. In the first two sentences, the emphasis is on two things:

1- What the third-person-noun is doing

2- The adverb

We recommend you book your flight early
He recommends reading the book before watching the movie.

Notice that "to" is not required in the first sentence. Should "to" be required, it would be best to swap out "recommend" for "advise."

We advise you to book your flight early

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No, the correct sentence is: I recommend that he read the book (not "reads") I realize it might "sound" wrong, bit it is gramatically correct. The full sentence would be: I recommend that he should read the book, but it is normal to drop "should".

  • No; the indicative is conceded by no less an authority than CGEL to be a grammatical alternative to the subjunctive-or-is-it here. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 26 '18 at 9:28
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You are inching into the territory of subjunctive mood in English grammar. You are constructing sentences around hypotheticals.

Subjunctives, while technically a part of English language, have inconsistent usage in most forms of oral and written English. The exceptions might be technical, legal, and format writing.

Here are a few links for further reading:

The short story is that, in these sentences, nothing is actually happening. You are hypothetically suggesting that something happen - and I use 'happen' in subjunctive mode for the same reason.

He recommends you read the book before watching the movie. (No one is reading a book here.)

However, because of the flexibility around subjunctive mood in everyday English usage, the following is not only acceptable, but many native speakers would prefer this over the "technically correct" subjunctive verb:

He recommends you to read the book before you watch the movie. (Technically incorrect, but so widely used that most will not pick on it.)

Gerund use is a different matter all together:

He recommends reading the book before watching the movie.

Here, we totally got rid of the subjunctive clause. Instead, we are recommending a thing. So, a noun or a noun-like phrase (like gerund) can follow recommend:

I recommend a visit to the sport centre.

I recommend visiting the sport centre.

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