Suggestions, recommendations, and Proposals: What's the difference?


Suggestions, recommendations, and proposals are all used to share an idea. For example, my company bought some new computers and …
I suggest / recommend / propose we train the staff to use these new PCs.


Suggest” and “recommend” are often used the same way to share a good idea. The key difference is that “recommend” also means “trust“. 

Can you suggest a good dentist? = OK
O Can you recommend a good dentist? = Best!

X My boss suggested me for a promotion. 
O My boss recommended me for a promotion. 

X I need a letter of suggestion to join this university program. 
O I need a letter of recommendation to join this university program. 

How about “propose“? Well, it’s used in more formal situations especially when we share an idea for the group to discuss. 
Ex: The sales team proposed a three percent price increase. Any thoughts? 
Ex: Would anyone like to propose an alternative? 

Take care
We sometimes use formal expressions in casual situations to be funny or ironic. 
Ex: All right guys, it’s Friday night! I propose we get some PIZZA!!! Yeah! 

Grammar: + ing

X I suggest / recommend / propose  to get some new chairs for the office. 
O I suggest / recommend / propose getting some new chairs for the office. 

Other Expressions 
Of course, there are LOTS of other ways to make a suggestion. For example, I want to get in shape. Here are some suggestions from friends. 
Ex: You have to exercise and eat right.
Ex: You should try to stretch a little every day. 
Ex: You ought to join a gym. 
Ex: You might want to try running in the morning. 
Ex: I suppose you could get a personal trainer.
Ex: How about going vegetarian? 

And yes, there are even more ways to share our good ideas, but I think that’s enough for today. 

Want to practice? Book a lesson today and let’s start talking. 


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