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.

Thank you for your response. But I'm sorry I'm still not clear about the difference between the two.

Let's assume that I'm at home talking to my wife. Since she appears to be tired from working all day, I would like to take her out for dinner instead of her cooking for us, and I say to her, 1. "I suggest we eat out tonight." 2. "I suggest eating out tonight."

In this particular situation, is there any difference between the two sentences?

fujibei posted:

Thank you for your response. But I'm sorry I'm still not clear about the difference between the two.

Let's assume that I'm at home talking to my wife. Since she appears to be tired from working all day, I would like to take her out for dinner instead of her cooking for us, and I say to her, 1. "I suggest we eat out tonight." 2. "I suggest eating out tonight."

In this particular situation, is there any difference between the two sentences?

(2) makes no sense in that context, Fujibei. You wouldn't advise your wife to eat out by herself or with someone else if you wanted to propose that the two of you eat out together, would you? That would be illogical. But that's what "I suggest eating out tonight" indicates in that context. You, the speaker, are not part of the eating-out situation complementing "suggest." If you wish, contrary to what is natural, to use the "suggest V-ing" structure to make a proposal in that context, then you must overtly make yourself part of the eating-out situation by using the possessive gerund subject "our": "I suggest our eating out tonight." There is NO DIFFERENCE IN MEANING OR NUANCE between that sentence and (1).

Add Reply

Likes (0)
×
×
×
×