“Strongly Recommend” vs. “Highly Recommend” (Difference Explained)

We use adjectives to describe words and actions in English, but sometimes two similar adjectives change the meaning of the word as a whole. While “strongly recommend” and “highly recommend” look similar, they have different meanings and are used in different ways.

What Is The Difference Between “Strongly Recommend” And “Highly Recommend”?

Strongly recommend should be used when discussing a recommendation that is advised to a powerful degree (i.e., “strongly recommend that you don’t do that). Highly recommend should be used when sharing something you have a high opinion of (i.e., “highly recommend the fish”).

What Is The Difference Between "Strongly Recommend" And "Highly Recommend"?

According to The Cambridge Dictionary, “recommended” means something is “suggested as being good or suitable for a particular job or purpose, or suggested as an action that should be done.”

We can take that further on the same page to see that “highly recommended” means “having an excellent reputation.” While “strongly recommended” is used as “suggesting an action that should be done.”

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What Does Strongly Recommend Mean?

Let’s start by looking a little closer at what “strongly recommend” means. We generally use this to either encourage somebody to do an action or to discourage them from doing so.

Strongly recommend means that we’re suggesting an action either should or should not be done. We can often reference past experience to let people know whether we strongly recommend an action.

For example, if someone wants to hang their head out of a car window, we can “strongly recommend” that they don’t do that because of the dangers involved. However, if someone wants to go to university, we can “strongly recommend” that they do because they’ll set themselves up perfectly for their future.

A recommendation is always an opinion that someone has. That means some people might “strongly recommend” you do one thing and don’t do another, while another person tells you the opposite. It depends mostly on what those people do themselves.

How Do You Use Strongly Recommend?

Let’s look at a few examples of how we might use “strongly recommend” in some sentences. That way, you’ll be able to see how it looks written down and start using it yourself when you deem it necessary.

  1. I strongly recommend you don’t skip school again.
  2. It’s strongly recommended that you keep your arms and legs inside the ride.
  3. It comes with a strong recommendation that you don’t eat at that restaurant.
  4. We strongly recommend you go to university to help your career.
  5. He strongly recommends that I should quit my job and never look back.
  6. They strongly recommended I try something new for every month of the year.

As you can see, we use “strongly recommend” to promote an opinion that someone should or should not do an action. It’s almost always related to taking action, and we can decide whether those actions are good or bad to do.

If someone doesn’t like the action or choice you make, they may strongly recommend against it. If they do like the action or choice you make, they may strongly recommend that you continue your pursuit of it.

Other Ways To Say “Strongly Recommend”

Let’s go through some synonyms that we might be able to use if you’re struggling to understand the difference between using “strongly” and “highly” before “recommend.”

All of the following examples have a similar meaning and are used in the same context.

  • Urge

This is the closest synonym to “strongly recommend.” We can urge someone to either do or not do an action if we’ve already decided about it for them. “I urge you not to do that.”

  • Implore

This is a much more formal word but means exactly the same as “urge,” where we do or don’t want someone to do something. “I implore you to rethink your decision!”

  • Suggest

This word isn’t quite as strong as saying “strongly recommend,” but you can always suggest that someone does or doesn’t participate in an activity. “I suggest you do what your mother tells you.”

Can I Say Highly Recommended?

We can say “highly recommend” when we want to share our high opinion of something.

If something is impressive to us (like food), we may want to share our opinion about how good it is. In this case, we can “highly recommend” whatever impresses us to someone to encourage them to choose it as an option.

You can also use “highly recommend” in a negative sense by saying, “I highly recommend you don’t try the crab.” That way, you’re saying that you have a very high opinion of the crab, but it’s not a good opinion.

How Do You Use Highly Recommend?

Let’s look at some examples of “highly recommend” being used. We mostly use it when we want to encourage someone to try something. It’s much rarer to see the negative variation appear.

  1. I highly recommend you try the bacon!
  2. We highly recommend you come to our school.
  3. The lobster comes highly recommended.
  4. I couldn’t recommend that higher if I wanted to!
  5. I’ve heard high recommendations about this university.
  6. He highly recommends you try soccer.

As you can see, in each of these examples, we’re mostly encouraging somebody to take part in something or to try something new. We are sharing our opinion, which is often developed through historical practices.

For example, if you tried soccer before and really enjoyed it, then you may highly recommend it to somebody looking to find a new sport to play.

Other Ways To Say “Highly Recommend”

Let’s finish with a couple of examples of how to say “highly recommend” with variations.

The following examples all have a very similar meaning, so use them instead of “highly recommend” if you’d prefer.

  • Endorse

When we “endorse” something, we tell someone that we think really highly of it and want them to try it too. “I endorse the behavior of my class and think you’d be a good addition.”

  • Commend

Again, we “commend” something that we’re fond of, which works well to replace “highly recommend.” “I commend this restaurant for the excellent food it serves.”