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Ask the Editor
Peter Sokolowski, Editor at Large
"Subject to" and "subjected to"
Monday September 29th 2008
The difference between "subject to" and "subjected to" ? — Dexter

The difference between subject to and subjected to is a subtle one.

Dexter has asked which is correct in a sentence such as the following:

"The job applicants are____to a high level of scrutiny."

Benjamin Korzec, an editor of the Learner's Dictionary, replies:

Both subject to and subjected to are correct. There is, however, a very subtle difference between the two uses. The adjective subject to implies that the job applicants must undergo scrutiny, whereas the verb form subjected to more strongly emphasizes the fact that the job applicants were the direct objects of intensive interviews, background checks, and assessments because the verb more clearly expresses action that is performed rather than describing a state or condition.