How do you use "suggest" correctly?

OK, I have to admit that no PhraseMix readers have directly asked me about this. But it's a common problem that I've noticed in a lot of emails and conversations with English learners: a lot of people use the word "suggest" incorrectly. So here's how you should use it.

The thing to remember is that you suggest an idea, not the person that you're making your suggestion to. In other words, this is incorrect:

I suggest you to apply for a job there.

Instead, say one of these:

I suggest applying for a job there.

I suggest that you apply for a job there.

You may also hear sentences that are similar to the last one, but without "that":

I suggest you apply for a job there.

In this sentence, it may seem like you're suggesting a person instead of an idea. But if you examine it more closely, you're suggesting the complete idea that "you apply for a job there":

I suggest (you apply for a job there).

One other thing to remember: don't use "to" after suggest:

I suggest to apply for a job there.

Here are some other examples which use "suggest" correctly:

I would suggest waiting a few more weeks.

He suggested I give you a call.

Didn't you suggest bringing in a consulting firm?

So do you suggest that we go forward with the surgery?

Now that you know how to use "suggest", here's a bonus tip: the word "recommend" works exactly the same way!

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