Do not say 'suggest (someone) to do something'.

Discussion in 'English Only' started by ray8838, Sep 7, 2009.

  1. ray8838 Senior Member

    Jiangsu Province,China
    Chinese--Hong Kong
    Below is an extract from Longman Dictionary of Comtemporary English:

    !! Do not say 'suggest (someone) to do something'. You can use the following structures:
    suggest that somebody do something
    • He suggested that we go (NOT suggested us to go) for a drink. You can miss out 'that'
    • What do you suggest we do (NOT suggest us to do)?
    suggest doing something
    • I suggest wearing (NOT suggest to wear) something warm.
    suggest something
    • She suggested a walk before dinner.


    I don't understand why it is ungrammatical to say "suggest to do something". I would regard the infinitive "to do something" as a object (noun phrase), similar to the "wearing "(gerund used as a noun) or "a walk"(noun).

    Can you guys "suggest" any reasons behind?
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2009
  2. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    London
    English - South-East England
    Verbs vary greatly in what kind of complements they take. 'Suggest' takes the ones listed, but not an infinitive clause. A clause isn't a noun phrase, it's a completely different structure.

    suggest that somebody do something: the complement is a subjunctive that-clause.

    suggest doing something: the complement is a gerund-participial clause. It's not a noun phrase: the gerund-participle is a verb, not a noun, as you can tell by the fact that it can take an object ('suggest wearing a jumper')

    :cross: suggest (somebody) to do something: the (second) complement is a to-infinitival clause, which is an entirely different structure from any of the other three.

    The fact that you can say, for example, 'I want it' and also 'I want you to go' doesn't mean that 'it' and 'you to go' have any structural similarity - it means rather that 'want' can take several different structures.
     
  3. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    A small aside ...
    ... you can suggest someone to do something, but it is important to be clear about the meaning.

    I suggest Bill to play the part of Hamlet.
    If I say that, I am suggesting to someone else, not Bill, that Bill should play Hamlet.

    I mention this because it arose in another recent thread about suggest ... which I can't find just at the moment.
     
  4. ptetpe Junior Member

    Mandarin
    As a suasive verb, suggest can take noun+infinitive construction as an alternative to the that-clause (Quirk, p.1182). However, in

    I suggest Bill to play the part of Hamlet.

    the infinitive clause "to play the part of Hamlet" acts as predication adjunct (Quirk,p.1202), not noun phrase as you would regard, and you can't leave out the noun "Bill" by saying
    * I suggest to play the part of hamlet.

    Source: CGEL by Quirk et al.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2009
  5. ray8838 Senior Member

    Jiangsu Province,China
    Chinese--Hong Kong
    entangledbank,

    I am afraid I can't share your opinion.

    To my understanding, a clause is a complete sentence (subject +verb), while a phrase is NOT a complete sentence (normally a preposition followed by noun(s). But both clause and phrase can function as an adverb , an adjective, a subject or an object. When they act as a subject or an object, they are noun clause or phrase (noun equivalent)

    Gerund is also a noun equivalent. As gerund emerges from an verb, it has the characteristics of an verb and can carry an object. But the basic nature is a noun (or a noun equivalent)

    So, when I say "I suggest something",

    something is a noun. But a noun may take different formats, i.e. phrase, gerund, or a clause. But whatever formats it takes, it is a noun or noun equivalent.


    My question here is that:

    While "something" may take the forms of clause (that....) or gerund, why can't it take the form of noun phrase (infinitive), given all of them are noun equivalent?
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2009
  6. ray8838 Senior Member

    Jiangsu Province,China
    Chinese--Hong Kong
    I suggest Bill to play the part of Hamlet

    = I suggest something

    so, something=Bill to play the part of Hamlet

    In this case , Bill is an object (noun) and "to play the part of Hamlet" is an infinitive acting as an adjective to modify Bill.

    panjandrum, I agree with you that it is grammatical to say like that, but the Longman Dictionary says it is ungrammatical. This is the matter puzzling me.



     
  7. ray8838 Senior Member

    Jiangsu Province,China
    Chinese--Hong Kong
    I suggest something.

    If, something="to play the part of hamlet"
    "to play the part of hamlet" is an infinitve acting as a object (a noun phrase or a noun equivalent)


    If, something= Bill to play the part of Hamlet

    As I mentioned in the above thread, "Bill" is an object (noun) while "to play the part of Hamlet" is infinitive acting as an adjective to modify "Bill".
     

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