I have a problem using two words which I've already written in the title.

Firstly, the word "suggest". Would that be OK if I put it as I did in the following examples?

I suggest (that) we (should) land here.

I suggest to land here.

I suggest us to land here.

I suggest landing here.

As for me, I am likely to say that the first and the last one (or should I write "ones"? Guess I should write just "one") are acceptable, yet I have doubts about the second and the third sentences.

The word "insist". The same question would that be right?

I insist to land here.

I insist on(upon) landing here.

Here, I believe both ways aren't wrong, but everyone can be mistaken.

And, if this wouldn't be a problem, could you explain whether or not there're different ways of writing those words? I mean in the same the examples, however, with an alternative form of the verb.

I really appreciate any help. Besides, I ask for your forgiveness for the mistakes which I've definitely made writing this.

  • 2
    In the first group, you're right that choices 1 and 4 are fine. Choice 2 is not incorrect, but it doesn't sound quite as natural as 1 and 4. In the second group, only Choice 2 is correct. Jun 4, 2020 at 21:04
  • 1
    Unfortunately, choice 2 is not "not incorrect". Cambridge Dictionary states using suggest + to-infinitive as a mistake. Jun 5, 2020 at 2:59
  • 2
    I would suggest (not insist!) that this question be migrated to English for Language Learners.
    – rajah9
    Jun 5, 2020 at 11:20
  • 1
    @rajah9 There are subtle but critical differences here between possible futures and definite pasts that may be more suitable to ELU than to ELL. Please see my answer for details.
    – tchrist
    Jun 6, 2020 at 0:07

3 Answers 3


Online Oxford Collocation Dictionary suggests using these prepositions with suggest:

PREP. as She suggested John as chairman. | for Who would you suggest for the job? | to He suggested to the committee that they should delay making a decision.

And these prepositions with insist (in fact, these are two meaning basically the same):

PREP. on/upon He insists on speaking to you personally

Also Cambridge Dictionary points out some typical errors of using suggest:

Typical errors

  • We don’t use suggest + indirect object + to-infinitive when we suggest an action to someone:

He suggested that I should apply for a job in a bank or insurance company.

Not: He suggested me to apply

  • We don’t use suggest + to-infinitive:

Henry wanted to tell everyone, but Dora suggested waiting until the news had been announced officially.

Not: Dora suggested to wait

As a result, two of your examples - I suggest to land here and I insist to land here - are grammatically incorrect, while others are perfectly fine.

As for different forms of usage (all from Cambridge Dictionary), with suggest there are quite a lot of options:

  • I suggested an Italian restaurant near the station for the party.

  • [formal] Might I suggest a white wine with your salmon, sir?

  • [ + (that) ] I suggest (that) we wait a while before we make any firm decisions.

  • Liz suggested (that) I try the shop on Mill Road.

  • [ + -ing verb ] I suggested putting the matter to the committee.

  • [ + question word ] Can you suggest where I could buy a dozen roses?

With insist, however, there are not so much:

[ + (that) ] Greg still insists (that) he did nothing wrong.

Please go first - I insist!

She insisted on seeing her lawyer.

P.S. Also please don't confuse these words, they don't share the same meaning! If you are suggesting something, you are just offering one of the possible solutions, whereas if you are insisting, you are saying something firmly or demanding for something forcefully (suggest and insist). If you already know that, it's absolutely great!

  • The only reason your infinitive clause with an overt subject is ungrammatical is because you used a to-infinitive, but whenever an infinitive has an overt subject, it has to be a for-to infinitive instead. See my answer for more.
    – tchrist
    Jun 6, 2020 at 0:11

To suggest is transitive and requires a direct object.

He suggested beer.

He suggested that we should buy/drink beer. (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Content_clause and the link to Language Log)

Thus of your examples, only

I suggest {(that) we (should) land here.} = content (noun) clause as direct object

I suggest {landing here.} = gerund phrase as direct object.

are correct.

To insist is intransitive with a prepositional phrase (usually {"on/upon + substantive}) as a complement.

Thus “I insist {on/upon landing here.}” is correct as the complement is a prepositional gerundive clause, whereas

*“I insist {to land here.}” is wrong as {to land here} would provide a direct object (infinitive phrase) and that would be invalid.

But to insist also may accept a content clause as an object

I insist {(that) we (should) land here.} = content (noun) clause as complement.  


Future Events vs Past Events

With both these verbs, insist and suggest, the particular inflection you choose for that second verb which they control triggers a dramatic shift in meaning that alternates between possible future events yet to pass and definite past events that are already done and gone. That’s a huge change in meaning, so it’s really important that you understand how to select the version whose meaning you intend.

But there are also syntactic restrictions that apply in an exactly opposite fashion to each of these two verbs. I’ll explain those first.

Possible Futures

With insist you can use a gerund-participial ‑ɪɴɢ clause (with that clause’s subject in either the accusative or possessive form if it’s a pronoun) but not an infinitive clause:

  1. I insisted that she land here.
    (She hadn’t done so yet and I wanted her to do so in the future.)
  2. I insisted on her landing here.
    (Same meaning as #1.)
  3. *I insisted on her to land here. [UNGRAMMATICAL!]

But with suggest it works the other way around: you cannot use a gerund-participial ‑ɪɴɢ clause for the non-finite case, only an infinitive clause with a for-to complementizer with an overt subject, which must be in accusative case only:

  1. I suggested that she land here.
    (She hadn’t done so yet but I’ve said she should or could do so in the future.)
  2. *I suggested her landing here. [UNGRAMMATICAL!]
  3. I suggested for her to land here.
    (Same meaning as #4; this sounds a little odd to some folks, though.)

Real Pasts

Finally, if you use the past tense in the subordinate clause, this means something completely different because now that it’s in the indicative, not the subjunctive. It’s a factual matter now, not a propositional one.

  1. I insisted that she landed here.
    (I’m asserting that she did indeed do so already in the past and I’ve tried to convince you of this fact.)
  2. I suggested that she landed here.
    (I’m saying I think she might really have already have done so in the past.)

You can also use either of the other two ways of expressing the past for both those “real past” scenarios:

  1. I insisted that she did land here.
    (I’m asserting that she did indeed do so already in the past and I’ve tried to convince you of this fact.)
  2. I insisted that she has landed here.
    (I’m again asserting that she did indeed do so already in the past and I’ve tried to convince you of this fact.)
  3. I suggested that she did land here.
    (I’m saying I think she might really have already have done so in the past.)
  4. I suggested that she has landed here.
    (I’m again saying I think she might really have already have done so in the past.)


So items 1 through 6 (well, 1 and 2 and 4 and 6, as 3 and 5 are ungrammatical) are all talking about a possible future event still to unfold (and it might not ever happen), while 7 through 12 are all talking about a definite past event that has already taken place.

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