I remember that we have learnt a structure, what has always been really strange to me. We can say that "I recommend to do something" However in the strange structure we can say something like(I am not sure): "I suggest you(/your) not being here". So it is built up:

[object] [verb] [indirect object] [gerund]

I am not sure that it was exactly like this, but I am eager to find out how it is called, when to use it and if I can use with all kinds of verbs. I hope your figuring this out.

  • Don't you have an elsewhere to be? Very Buffy the Vampire slayeresque
    – mplungjan
    Aug 24, 2013 at 6:24
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    'We can say that "I recommend to do something to you" '. Really? Can you think of an example that would sound acceptable? There are very few examples, for instance, for "I recommend to leave him" on Google (and they are not very authoritative-sounding). Aug 24, 2013 at 9:24
  • That's not [object], but rather [subject]. I.e, I is the Subject of the [verb] suggest. And how do you know that's an [indirect object], anyway? This is a question about gerund complements, which are not strange structures; they're very common. And Edward's correct about the ungrammaticality of using recommend with a subjectless gerund complement. This may be of use; or it may not. Aug 24, 2013 at 17:52

1 Answer 1


I recommend that you read first about the so-called 'simple catenative' structures in English ( http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appendix:English_catenative_verbs ), and then check on the 'complex catenative' construction (Huddleston & Pullum).

There has been an extensive debate on the actual cases involving recommend as the 'lead' (catenating) verb at http://www.wordwizard.com/phpbb3/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=21740 . Complex catenation:

recommend somebody to do something: We'd recommend you to book your flight early.

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but the structure using a that-clause ( We'd recommend that you book your flight early. ) sounds far more idiomatic to me. We'd advise you to book your flight early. is, on the other hand, totally idiomatic.

We recommend your (gerund) is quite a common construction, arguably catenative (how 'verby' are gerunds?) (that they are quite 'nouny' is indicated by the fact that 'your', 'her' etc are often used with them):

We do recommend your leaving the gauze over the surgery site... (Google)

  • 'We recommend your (gerund) is quite a common construction' can I use this construction with all the verbs with indirect objects?
    – user38611
    Aug 24, 2013 at 9:33
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    You're confusing analyses. Have a look at Cobuild's fine treatment (with lists of verbs) at arts-ccr-002.bham.ac.uk/ccr/patgram/ch01.html (section 7): 'V -ing: The verb is followed by an '-ing' form. This pattern has three structures: >Structure I: Verbs in phase (i.e. complex verb groups) She started walking. > Structure II: Verb with [direct] Object He liked dancing with her. >Structure III: Verb with Adjunct They ended up fighting. There are the following meaning groups for each structure: I.1 The 'start' and 'stop' group (begin, cease, come, commence, continue, discontinue...' Aug 24, 2013 at 10:15
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    For the distinction between say 'I liked his singing last night' and 'I liked him singing last night', see Ken Greenwald's answer at wordwizard.com/phpbb3/… . Also, at wordwizard.com/phpbb3/… is a discussion of the 'noun? verb? both? a bit of each? neither?' debates surrounding -ing forms. Aug 24, 2013 at 11:35
  • That's not an indirect object. Things are not as simple as you think. There are many, many different kinds of verbs, each with their own set of rules that they must use, or they must not use, or they may use. Aug 24, 2013 at 17:56
  • Oh, and as for gerunds themselves, they're one of the at 5 different usages of the -ing suffix. Aug 24, 2013 at 18:00

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