I took an English assessment test online and this was my answer:

Someone suggested to go for a walk.

My answer was wrong and this was the correct sentence:

Someone suggested going for a walk.

Can someone please explain why my answer was wrong?

  • 3
    I think your answer was not so much incorrect as 100 years out of date. "Suggested to go" would have been fine around 1900. See this Ngram. It seems to have survived to the present in Indian English. – Peter Shor Sep 2 '13 at 12:26
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    ... so the only logical answer as to why 'it's wrong' is 'because that's not the way people speak'. – Edwin Ashworth May 30 '15 at 12:15

I never find much difference in use of infinitive and gerund. However, it is always suggested that few verbs are always followed by gerund whereas few are followed by infinitives only.

I found a good distinction somewhere over the Internet which may help


Often we use the gerund for an action that happens before or at the same time as the action of the main verb.

  1. I enjoy playing (I enjoy myself at the time of playing.)
  2. I denied stealing (I deny having stolen anything before.)

Often we use the infinitive for actions that follow the action of the main verb.

  1. I decided to visit my uncle (Visiting my uncle was an action of my decision. It comes after.)
  2. I want to go out. (What I want (now) is to go out (after/later))

In your example:

Someone suggested going for a walk.

He suggested for a walk at the same time to be happened not sometime in future.

However someone may suggest for future action too;

Someone suggested to meet Ms Rekha before leaving the Mumbai.

So I personally don't consider that sentence as wrong sentence until the context is given. I found a good explanation for above situation here;

  • 1
    There is no logic reason why to suggesrt is followed by a gerund instead of a to-infinitive. It is a convention and must be learnt as a mechanical rule. One might say it is a pity that English sometimes has irrational deviations from the normal system. – rogermue Jun 22 '15 at 12:09

A suggestion (what is suggested, the object of the verb suggest) is a noun. You can't use an infinitive verb where a noun is required.

Going here is a gerund, a form of the verb go which functions as a noun.

[Note that suggested can followed by that and a finite verb, "suggested that we go". That's different; that is a conjunction introducing a clause expressing purpose, end, aim, or desire.]

  • 1
    This answer isn't a good explanation, in that exactly the same reasoning doesn't work for other English verbs. In particular, a request is also a noun, but both "he requested to go for a walk" and "he requested that we go for a walk" are grammatical English, while "requested going for a walk" is not. – Peter Shor Sep 2 '13 at 12:35
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    The English constructiom is to suggest doing sth, not to suggest to do sth. But that is mere convention. Actually there is no rationale why the gerund is preferred. It is a thing one has to know or to learn. – rogermue May 31 '15 at 10:48

You wrote in your test "Someone suggested to go for a walk" assuming that to suggest is followed by a to-infinitive as hundreds of other verbs. But to suggest is one of the few verbs that need a gerund, just as to avoid.

There is no logic reason for the gerund construction, it is just a convention and must be learnt (grammar point: verbs + gerund instead of to-infinitive).


'Someone suggested TO GO for a walk' implies that you are going somewhere for your walk. 'Someone suggested GOING for a walk' implies just the act of walking itself, without inference to any location to take the walk.

  • 1
    I don't see how you came up with this distinction ... do you have any evidence or rationale for it? – Peter Shor Sep 2 '13 at 12:41
  • @Peter Shor. 6 ways to use the verb ‘GO’ in English – Epiphany Sep 2 '13 at 13:34
  • @Epiphany That lesson is about the use of go/going [+ preposition] as an active verb; e.g. "I'm going .., He's going to ..., etc,. It is not about using to go / going in the present context, where it is a suggestion (noun), not an action (verb). – TrevorD Sep 2 '13 at 14:06

protected by tchrist Jun 22 '15 at 11:53

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