Spanish Vocabulary for Making Recommendations

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  • 0:03 Recommendations & Suggestions
  • 1:55 Give Advice
  • 2:26 Subjective Tense vs Infinitive
  • 4:15 Other Forms
  • 6:24 Practical Case
  • 6:55 Lesson Summary
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Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

You want to be able to make a suggestion or a recommendation when appropriate. Making recommendations requires appropriate words, and this lesson gives you the basic Spanish vocabulary you will need to do so.

Recommendations & Suggestions

The printer breaks. Paul tells his boss and also adds Le aconsejo que compre una nueva impresora hoy (which means, I advise you to buy a new printer today). He means to make a suggestion but, instead, advises his boss. This is an awkward moment, since his boss may see his 'advice' as rude. It all depends on what you wish to convey and who you talk to. To avoid awkwardness, especially in the work place, let's learn the right words.

The following phrases can be used if someone shows concern about an issue, if you have a good recommendation or suggestion to make, or if you are asked specifically what you recommend or suggest. The most appropriate expressions in these cases are:

Te recomiendo (teh reh-koh-mee-EHN-doh) means 'I recommend.' Use this if you are speaking to a person with whom you are very familiar. Use le recomiendo (leh reh-koh-mee-EHN-doh) to speak to someone with whom you have a more formal relationship, such as your boss or supervisor.

Te sugiero (teh soo-hee-EH-roh) means 'I suggest.' Use this for familiarity. Use le sugiero (leh reh-koh-mee-EHN-doh) to speak in a more formal relationship.

You can recommend almost anything: a dish, a medication, a person. For example:

  • Te recomiendo/sugiero el pollo picante (I recommend/suggest the spicy chicken)
  • Te recomiendo/sugiero Benadryl (I recommend/suggest Benadryl)
  • Te recomiendo/sugiero a Ana para el trabajo (I recommend/suggest Ana to you for the job)

Note that when you recommend or suggest a person you use the preposition 'a' (ah), which means 'to.' To make it negative, say 'no' in front of te recomiendo, te sugiero.

Give Advice

Different words and phrases are often needed if someone seeks your advice on an issue. For example:

Te aconsejo (teh ah-kohn-SEH-hoh) means 'I advise.' Use this for familiarity. Use le aconsejo (leh ah-kohn-SEH-hoh) to speak in a more formal relationship. To make it negative, say 'no' in front of te aconsejo/le aconsejo.

When you use le aconsejo, you usually advise someone to do an action in regards to something. It's different if you're recommending or suggesting an action.

Subjunctive Tense vs Infinitive

To recommend, suggest, or advise someone to do something (an action), you would use the preposition que (keh), which means 'that' after the verbs 'recomiendo,' 'sugiero,' or 'aconsejo', followed by a verb in the subjunctive tense. While this lesson is not about this tense, it is important to quickly learn how to form it:

You Drop For Add: For usted Add:
ar ending verbs es e
er and ir ending verbs as a

To illustrate, let's go through some examples with the verb 'estudiar' (to study), 'beber' (to drink) and 'escribir' (to write):

  • Te recomiendo que esudies mucho (I recommend you study a lot)
  • Le recomiendo que beba mucha agua (I advise you drink a lot of water)
  • Te sugiero que escribas una carta (I suggest you write a letter)

If you are not familiar with the subjunctive, you can always use the infinitive (which is when a verb ends in 'ar,' 'er,' or 'ir'), but keep in mind this is the least common way to make recommendations, suggestions or to advise. Also, it sounds a bit impersonal. Let's use the same examples from just a moment ago:

  • Te recomiendo esudiar mucho (I recommend you to study a lot)
  • Le recomiendo beber mucha agua (I advise you to drink a lot of water)
  • Te sugiero escribir una carta (I suggest you to write a letter)

Note that you don't need que if you use the infinitive. To make it negative, say 'no' in front of the action you don't recommend/suggest/advise.

Other Forms

There are many ways to recommend or advise to someone. The following are the most common ones.

When you want to make a suggestion, use debes (DEH-behs), which means 'you must.' Use this for familiarity. Use debe (DEH-beh) to speak in more formal relationship. For example:

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