Reply to "suggested that we do ... and suggested doing ..."

fujibei posted:

What's the difference in nuance and meaning, if any, between the following two sentences?

  1. I suggested that we eat out tonight.
  2. I suggested eating out tonight.

Hi, Fujibei: The difference is that, in (2), the speaker need not be a participant in the suggested action, whereas in (1) the speaker obviously is a participant in the suggested action. To see that in (2) that need not be the case, consider that it is possible to say, "I suggested eating out tonight to them," and that that means the same as "I suggested their eating out tonight," which is also possible to say.

If it was intentional, it was clever of you to use examples in the past tense. In the past tense, "suggested V-ing" can indicate that the speaker is a would-be participant in the suggested action. In the present tense ("suggest V-ing"), however, that is not possible. If I say, "I suggest eating out tonight" ("I suggest getting up early," etc.), I am giving another person, or other people, advice.

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