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Hi!

Which form is for you more usual?:

A) He suggested that I bought a car.
B) He suggested that I buy a car. (subjunctive)

And the other question:
How do we say when somebody suggested that we shouldn't do something without using the word "should(n't)"?
Full Member414
(B) if the intended meaning is that he made a suggestion (directive) like, "You should buy a car."

(A) can be correct when "I bought a car" is a past tense statement, not a directive; i.e., when he said, "You bought a car."

A negative subjunctive is usually expressed in BrE with shouldn't (as is the positive with should, actually). In AmE it is common to say, "He suggested that I not buy a car." Except with the verb 'be', it is also possible to place the not behind it: "I suggested that he be not home," or "I suggested that he not be home," or "I suggested that he shouldn't be home."
Regular Member587
In conversation, I think my most natural form starting "He suggested..." is "He suggested I should/ought to buy a car". If required to choose between your two options, I think I'd more naturally say A. In writing, I would, if I was paying attention, aspire to using B.

For the should-less negative, you could say "He suggested I ought not to buy a car", or all manner of longer versions, such as "He suggested it would not be a good idea for me to buy a car".
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ferdis(B) if the intended meaning is that he made a suggestion (directive) like, "You should buy a car."

(A) can be correct when "I bought a car" is a past tense statement, not a directive; i.e., when he said, "You bought a car."

Hi Ferdis,

That's what I thought too but yesterday I was reading some units in 'English Grammar in Use' THIRD edition by Raymond Murphy and it was claimed there that you can use both to mean the same (p. 68).

Thanks for the clarification about the second part of my post. I wasn't sure if I can say something like:

He suggested that I didn't buy a car.

Hi Mr Wordy,

So you say it's possible to say A to mean that "he said that it would be a good idea if I bought a car"?
MichalS
Hi Mr Wordy,

So you say it's possible to say A to mean that "he said that it would be a good idea if I bought a car"?


Yes, that's what I thought you meant by it. Did you mean something else?
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No, no - I meant what you said, but I wasn't sure if it is correct. Emotion: smile

See, when I studied English at university, I thought we could only say:

- He suggested that I do sth.

and not:

- He suggested that I did sth.

But since you see no problem in that sentence would you say that "He suggested that I didn't buy a car" is similarly correct?
MichalS
- He suggested that I do sth.


This is the traditionally correct version.
MichalS- He suggested that I did sth.
This is, to me, acceptable in everyday English. In more formal written English I prefer the first version.

See also http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/grammar/learnit/learnitv201.shtml .
MichalS
But since you see no problem in that sentence would you say that "He suggested that I didn't buy a car" is similarly correct?

To me, this feels slightly more iffy than the equivalent positive sentence (I don't really know why). In everyday English it would still pass though, at least in my part of the world.
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Thanks a lot Mr Wordy!

Then I guess I'll just stick to what I was taught at the university.

If somebody else has some comments on that, please consider this topic open to debate.
MichalSWhich form is for you more usual?:

A) He suggested that I bought a car.
B) He suggested that I buy a car. (subjunctive)
B is not only "more usual"; it's the only way I would say it, assuming that "he" is giving advice.

But suggest is not used with the subjunctive when it means 'give the appearance', 'lead to a conclusion'.

These symptoms suggest that the patient is anemic.

CJ
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