demand/request/suggest that [bare infinitive / subjunctive / indicative]

Parla

Member Emeritus
English - US
Forero wrote:
A: Every time the wind changes, he sells his car.
B: I suggest that every time the wind changes, he wants a new car.
A: But wanting a new car does not mean selling an old one.
B: I suggest that he sells his old car to buy a new one. He could not afford a new one so often otherwise.

Is this a common way to use "suggest" in daily speech?
Yes. Look at Paul's very good example (post #49). Suggest can mean recommend. But it can also mean "propose as a likely fact or set of facts".

But I would change Forero's last sentence above, since B is describing a repeated action by the man A and B are talking about. I'd say: I suggest that he sells his old cars to buy new ones. He couldn't afford a new one so often otherwise.

Your question about "every time the wind changes" is a separate topic and should start a new thread.
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Sunyaer's comments in this thread have lost me, rather.

    But I feel the urge to repeat what I've said before, regardless of the fact that AmE-speakers and Pedro-for-IE-speakers find it odd:

    I would say I suggest he sells his car (with indicative sells)
    - to mean:
    "For him, selling his car is a good idea, and indeed that's what I recommend."
    - as well as to mean:
    "I am putting forward the proposition that he is in the habit of selling his car".

    OK, done!

    I promise I won't come back to the thread;):D.
     
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    sunyaer

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I have discussed the phrase "I suggest that" with a friend who is a native speaker of English, from which there have been some useful comments and sample sentences. I now put these together and post them here, trying to give more help to people who might have gotten confused with the phrase in question.


    "does not have to be believed..." has the meaning of "does not have to be believed true in order to be suggested".
    Another way to express it is "the thing being suggested does not have to be believed true by the speaker", it could be just a guess of the speaker.

    It's not "believed to be proposed"; it's believed by the speaker. The proposal has actually been made; "believed" doesn't go with "to be proposed" but with what has been suggested by the speaker.



    I suggest you look at the earlier messages again. [OR: I suggest that you look at the earlier messages again.] This is a recommendation, not a guess or statement of probability.

    I suggest that you're misreading the sentence. This is not a recommendation. This is the same as saying: I think it's very likely (highly probable) that you're misreading the sentence. I don't know that you're doing so, and it may not be true that you're doing so—but I'm guessing that it's very possible.


    Where we AE speakers use the subjunctive in this context, the Brits use the regular present tense or insert the word "should".

    That is, when using suggest to mean "recommend", AE speakers would say:
    "I suggest he sell his car."

    The British would evidently say EITHER:
    I suggest he sells his car. OR:
    I suggest he should sell his car.


    However, some native speakers might say that "I suggest he sells his car" and "I suggest he should sell his car" are different with the latter carrying a sense of obligation suggested with the word "should". It seems to me that context would eliminate the ambiguity, and many times subtle nuance may be neglected by native speakers as long as the main idea of the sentence comes across.

    British or American English?: A Handbook of Word and Grammar Patterns (by John Algeo) also discusses the usage difference regarding indicative and subjunctive in the pattern "I suggest (recommend, insist) that".
     
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    Forero

    Senior Member
    "does not have to be believed..." has the meaning of "does not have to be believed true in order to be suggested".
    Another way to express it is "the thing being suggested does not have to be believed true by the speaker", it could be just a guess of the speaker.
    Now I see what was worrying you. The "believed suggested" reading never occurred to me since it does not fit our context. By "believed", I did mean "believed true by the speaker".
     

    sunyaer

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Now I see what was worrying you. The "believed suggested" reading never occurred to me since it does not fit our context. By "believed", I did mean "believed true by the speaker".

    Is there any context where "believed suggested" could be valid?
     
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