I am going to be following your suggestion.
I am going to be taking your suggestion.

  1. Do they mean the same thing? If not, what is the difference between them?
  2. If they do mean the same thing, which one sounds more natural in English? Which one would a native speaker prefer over the other?

As WS2 says, they both mean the same thing. In general, follow occurs more often with suggestion

That preference still applies in most contexts, but (probably influenced by the "idiomatic standard" take my advice) I note that follow/take your suggestion has recently shifted towards "take".

Non-native speakers should take my advice - treat follow/take as interchangeable, but go for a simpler verb form (I am going to follow your suggestion / I will take your advice / etc.)

  • I don't understand this graph. In 1930, follow was at 1,000%. What does that mean? At the same time take was at 100%, so 1,100% in total. By 2000, the total percentage of both had dropped to about 400%. What is all that telling us?
    – WS2
    Jan 31 '14 at 16:14
  • @WS2: Note the 0. at the front of each "frequency" value. It's followed by a 9-digit number, so I suppose if you're charting a single word the value corresponds to "number of instances of this word per 100,000,000,000 words in the entire corpus". I don't know exactly how that works when charting multi-word strings, but I only use the values in a "relative" sense anyway, so that doesn't really matter to me. The vertical scale on the graph is always normalised so the date with the highest relative prevalence plots near the top of the chart. Jan 31 '14 at 17:48
  • At the high point in 1930, follow was about ten times more common than take (I think you missed a 0 there! :) Jan 31 '14 at 17:51
  • Sorry. I did miss the 0. So what this says is that in 1930 one in every million words was 'follow' succeeded by 'his suggestion'. (Would they allow for other forms, such as 'the suggestion', 'your suggestion' etc? And how about 'following his suggestion'?) But the thing that makes me most curious is why by 2000 the incidence had dropped to only 3 per 10 million, less than a third of the frequency. Are these charts actually believable Who audits them?
    – WS2
    Jan 31 '14 at 19:30

Yes. They would mean the same thing, though 'taking' I think is far more common than 'following'. The usual form is 'taking-up a suggestion'.

  • 1
    Is that hyphen in taking-up a typo? I think you'd only hyphenate if it was being used as a gerund noun phrase - never likely to be a common usage, but I suppose you could say something like "I'm in favour of the taking-up of his suggestion". Jan 31 '14 at 12:40
  • Yes, you are quite right. My mistake. It would also be hyphenated if 'taking-up' were used in a tailor's workshop, such as in either: 'The taking-up of the hem was a good idea', or 'you need to allow for the taking-up time'.
    – WS2
    Jan 31 '14 at 16:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.