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Formal definitions are not of great help. Studying HSK it is clear that 推荐 is the one use in any context where one recommends places to go/eat/do activities.

I could find here that 建议 is more about advice that recommendation. From purpleculture we could think 推荐 is a subset of 建议. I want to make sure, especially in the context of formal writing vs speaking.

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推荐 = recommend (closer to push for)

建议 = suggest (closer to advice)

If you know the difference between 'recommend' and 'suggest' you should have no difficulty deciding when to use which.

推荐 applies to objects; 建议 applies to actions

Example:

推荐某人当顾问 (O)

建议某人当顾问 (X)

建议让某人当顾问 (O)

沒人推荐他 (O)

沒人建议他 (X)

沒人建议用他 (O)

孔明向刘备推荐联吳抗曹 (X)

孔明向刘备推荐联吳抗曹的策略 (O)

孔明向刘备建议联吳抗曹 (O)

孔明向刘备建议联吳抗曹的策略 (?) - 建议策略 clearly implies 建议(實行)策略, therefore omitting the verb 實行 is acceptable

孔明向刘备建议實行联吳抗曹的策略 (O)

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