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I recommend you to define those parameters beforehand.
I recommend that you define those parameters beforehand.

Are both sentences grammatically correct? If yes, do they mean the same thing? If yes, which one should I use?

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  • 2
    Is "recommend you to" possibly British English? It is incorrect in American English.
    – user142639
    Oct 14, 2015 at 5:35
  • The third option is 'recommend' + [nominal clause] — "I recommend takING supplements in the wintertime." —this is the best option, in my opinion. May 12, 2023 at 11:44

4 Answers 4

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The following variant is correct:

I recommend that you define those parameters beforehand.

You can also omit the word that, giving the following:

I recommend you define those parameters beforehand.

However, the variant with to is incorrect. The verb recommend always takes either a noun object or a subordinate clause as a complement, never an infinitive.

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Actually I believe that both variants can be technically correct, but they are saying very different things, and using the "you to" variant is mostly done as a mistake where "that you" would have been correct.

I recommend that you define those parameters beforehand -> my recommendation (to you) is that those parameters should be defined beforehand.

I recommend you to define those parameters beforehand -> my recommendation (to some other currently unspecified person) is that you are the person best-suited to the task of defining those parameters beforehand.

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  • Hellion, pls reply to lenks' Oxford example.
    – Louis Liu
    Jul 22, 2015 at 7:43
  • @Hellion So, when we talk about someone in general and not somebody in particular, we can say 'I recommend them/you/a writer/ a teacher, etc. to do sth'. Did I get you right?
    – dgr379
    Aug 19, 2019 at 17:39
  • Please add substantiating references. Note that OALD gives the 'advise' usage: 'We'd recommend you to book your flight early.' As @lenks points out. Apr 6, 2020 at 14:27
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I think both are correct:

https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/recommend

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

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  • 1
    Could you expand what you are saying with examples and explanations. That's kind of the point english.se
    – virmaior
    Feb 5, 2014 at 0:46
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    very good. I always have questions about that. Contrary to Hellion's answer. Surprised to see that Oxford has an example of "recommend xx to do xxx".
    – Louis Liu
    Jul 22, 2015 at 7:40
  • @lenks This is contrary to what is written in the Longman Dictionary: ✗Don’t say: I recommend her to speak to a lawyer. ldoceonline.com/dictionary/recommend
    – dgr379
    Aug 19, 2019 at 17:32
  • I would say that the reason "(would/should) recommend" is possible with an 'infinitive'-to clause is that we have modality/conditional in place of the subjunctive mood. "I should certainly recommend you to return to your practice." (- Sherlock Holmes to Watson, in "The Final Problem") —emphasising the recommendation, while using a 'gerund' (nominal clause) emphasises the action (rather than the recommendation itself). May 12, 2023 at 8:08
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"I recommend you to define" is not correct, because the noun immediately following "recommend" is the direct object in standard usage.   The example creates cognitive dissonance, because the syntax does not match the semantics:   "to define" is the recommendation (or direct object), and "you" is the indirect object.

Oxford's example does not contradict this; "recommend somebody to do something" means that "somebody" is the recommendation, like in "I recommend John for the job."

I hear and see this non-standard usage many times a day in (Indian English and) the English of non-native speakers from various Asian and European countries -- and it drives me crazy!   LOL

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  • It also always bothered me (admittedly more so when 'foreigners' use it) until I read Sherlock Holmes talking to Watson, in "The Final Problem": "I should certainly recommend you to return to your practice." May 12, 2023 at 7:58

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