We can use the verb suggest with a noun phrase, a that-clause, the –ing form of a verb or a wh-question word (wherewhat).

Suggest + noun phrase

We can use a noun phrase as the object of suggest:

Can you suggest a good restaurant in this part of town?

If we need to mention the person who receives the suggestion, we use a to-construction:

My teacher suggested an exam I could take at the end of the year. (or My teacher suggested an exam to me which I could take at the end of the year.)

Not: My teacher suggested me an exam …

Suggest + that-clause

When we suggest an action to someone, we can use a that-clause. In informal situations, that is often left out:

suggest (that) you leave here around four o’clock. The traffic gets very bad from about 4.30 onwards.

When suggest is in the past, we can use should in the that-clause:

Her doctor suggested that she should reduce her working hours and take more exercise.

Suggest + –ing form

We can use suggest with the –ing form of a verb when we mention an action but do not mention the person who will do it, because it is understood in the context:

She suggested travelling together for safety, since the area was so dangerous.


Suggest + wh-question word

We can use suggest with a question word such as where, what, who, how:

Could you suggest where I might be able to buy a nice sweater for Mark?

Can anyone suggest how we might attract more people to the next event?

Typical errors

  • We don’t use suggest + indirect object + to-infinitive when we suggest an action to someone:

He suggested that I should apply for a job in a bank or insurance company.

Not: He suggested me to apply …

  • We don’t use suggest + to-infinitive:

Henry wanted to tell everyone, but Dora suggested waiting until the news had been announced officially.

Not: Dora suggested to wait …

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