There are many different ways to give advice in English, and the three main verbs we use are:
These come with varying levels of formality and structure…
Advise: This verb is the most formal, and is usually used in situations such as at the doctor’s office or talking with a teacher.
Suggest: We can use this to express an idea we have or even an opinion on a situation
Recommend: This verb is by far the most personal, and is used when talking from your own personal experience.
Each of these can be followed by a noun, a pronoun, or a gerund verb. Finally, the most advanced structure is the noun phrase, which signals the subjunctive mood.
Structure: recommend/suggest/advise + noun
Examples: My brother recommended the steak at this restaurant.
Everyone advises a thick coat for the winter, otherwise you’ll get sick.
I suggest a long sleep after your busy week!
Structure: recommend/suggest/advise + pronoun
Examples: I recommend he goes to the ER straight away!
My teacher advised me to submit my essay tonight.
His wife suggests we all go to their apartment for drinks tonight instead of the bar.
Structure: recommend/suggest/advise + gerund verb
Examples: I recommend quitting your job – you’re exhausted!
The professor advises writing this essay in the passive voice.
The tour guide suggested taking a trip to the island tomorrow.
Structure: recommend/suggest/advise + that + subject + base verb
Examples: The cashier recommended that she buy the purple shoes instead of the pink.
The vet advises that we walk the dog three times a day instead of two.
The librarian suggested that the students take out several books at once.
We can also remove ‘that’ from this structure and it means the same thing. This is more common in speaking or informal writing.
E.g. The vet advises we walk the dog three times a day instead of two.
Giving advice / suggestions exercise
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- I wanted to improve my health so my friend advised (me to) (I to, me go, we do, me to) take up running, but I don’t particularly like it. Instead, I asked my parents who suggested (going) (going, go, doing, make) to the gym more often but it’s so expensive! I decided to go to a nutritionist in the end. She recommended that (I eat) (eating, I eat, me eat, me eating) more fruit and vegetables. Unfortunately I hate them both, so she (suggested) (suggested, suggest, advise, advising) adding more protein to my diet. This was a great idea! I will definitely (recommend) (advise, recommends, recommend, suggesting) her to my friends in the future.
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