Lesson 1-Advise/Recommend/Suggest

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Lesson 1-Advise/Recommend/Suggest

There are three words can easily cause confused for students of English.

They are “advise”, “recommend” and “suggest”.

They are about telling other people what you think they should do.

But I’d like to take the time in this lesson to find some differences.

First, we'll look the differences in term of meanings and uses.

And then we'll take the time to look at the differences in grammar.

So let’s start with “advise”.

“Advise” you can say, means to tell someone what you think they should do or what decision you think they should make.

But I would add to that you doing this because you have expertise and experience or some knowledge to know what's the best.

So people who advise or usually people who have some authority.

For example: A doctor can advise a patient.

Or A banker can advise a client.

All right, now let’s take the “recommend”.

It has the same basic definition.

”Recommend” means, to tell someone what you think they should do.

And I feel that it’s the same as advise but it doesn’t have the authority.

You don’t have to be somebody with expertise.

Necessarily you just believe what you think is the best.

So friends can recommend an action or teachers can recommend an action.

I would then argue that “recommend” can be used in variety of more situations and more relationships.

And final one is “suggest”.

“Suggest” is still the same basic definition, telling someone what you think they should do.

But it's more about offering an idea.

So maybe we can then define that definition for “suggest” is to say, is to offer an idea about what to do.

Perhaps the person has the best idea.

But you want to offer the idea for consideration. Ok?

All right, so now let’s pause and see if you understood my explanation and break to show you three sentences and I want you decide which these three verbs fit each one and only use each verb once.

Number 1. We had no plans until Erin …..that we have a picnic in the park.
Answer: suggested.

Why? Because this is an informal situation.

And Erin has knowledge not authority and also we have no idea about what to do until Erin made a suggestion.

2. The lifeguard…..the swimmers to stay close to the shore.
Answer: advised.

And this is because lifeguard has the authority.

3. We….that the gym have a later closing time so that people could exercise after work. We don’t like the present schedule.
Answer: recommended.

Why? First of all, we are not the authority in this situation.

And this is more than just offering the idea for consideration.

We don’t like the schedule and we suggest we want to change it because the change is the best thing to do that what we believe that it is the best thing to do.

Ok, so now let’s talk about the grammar.

What are differences among three verbs?

Let’s start with “advise”.

You can advise someone to do something.

For example: A doctor advises a patient to quit smoking.

Or the negative: A doctor advises a patient not to eat fatty food.

You can advise someone on something.
For example: A banker advises a client on finacial matters.

Or A professor advises a student on academic matters.

You can also advise against something.

For example: A doctor can advise against smoking.

“Advise” is a verb and the noun is “advice”.

You can “give advice to someone” or we often say “give a piece of advice”.

And note that “advice” is an non-count noun, so you don’t use the article.

I also want to note that “giving advice” can be done in a variety of relationships and situations.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be coming from with somebody with expertise or somebody in authority.


You can recommend something.

Or you can recommend doing something.

And you can recommend that someone do something.

For example: I can recommend a change in your sleeping habits.

or I can recommend changing your sleeping habits.

and I can recommend that you change your sleeping habits.

“Recommend” is a verb and has a noun form “recommendation” and they say “make a recommendation”.

In term of grammar, “suggest” is smilar to “recommend”.

You can suggest something.

Suggest doing something.

Or suggest that you do something.

For example: I can suggest a pizza party.

And I can suggest having a pizza party.

Or I can suggest that we have a pizza party.

“Suggest” is a verb and noun form, suggestion, and we can “make a suggestion".

Ok, so now we have looked at the grammar.

Let’s pause and do the check. And make sure you understand which verbs take which grammatical forms.

I’m going to show you sentences and give you a choice between two verbs.

You decide grammatically which verb must complete the sentence.

Number 1. The lawyer (advised/ recommended) his client not to discuss the case with anyone.
Answer: adivised.

Number 2. Jeff (suggested/ advised) that we leave early and allow time for traffic.
Answer: suggested.

3. The teacher (recommened/ advised) changing a few lines in my essay.
Answer: recommended

4. My mother loves to (advise/ recommend) me on fashion.
Answer: Advise.

5. Could I please make (an advice/ a suggestion)?
Answer: a suggestion.

6. Laura (advised/ suggested) going out to eat.
Answer: suggested.

7. Could I give you a piece of (a recommendation/ advice)?
Answer: advice.

8. People drive during snowstorms, but meteorologists (advise/ recommend) against it.
Answer: advise.

All right, I hope our lesson will help. Good luck with your English study.

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