Scientific English as a Foreign Language
Answers to Lesson of March 19, 1998
Submit & Subject

To SUBMIT. This verb means that an inferior yields to a superior (se soumettre, in French; sich unterwerfen, in German). "I submitted to my boss's request."

SUBMIT is also used for the act when one turns in a paper or other work for evaluation (sousmettre, in French; einreichen [more or less], in German). "I submitted my paper to Science." In both cases, the inferior (me) is complying with the higher authority's (the boss's, or the referee's) desires.

To SUBJECT. This is what the superior does to the inferior (soumettre, in French; unterdrucken, in German). "My boss subjected me to a grueling practice seminar." In passive voice: "I was subjected to a grueling practice seminar by my boss." Or, "The sample was subjected to the following treatment:..."

You can see that the mapping between other languages (esp. French) and English is not evident. I believe that this is the reason I often see sentences of the following ilk: "The sample was submitted to a high temperature." This is wrong because the sample has no will, no control over what happens to it. The sample is the inferior. You, the experimenter, subject the sample to its processing.


1. I submitted my paper yesterday.
2. The proposal was submitted yesterday.
3. The crowd subjected him to harassment.
4. He was subjected to harassment by the crowd.
5. He submitted to Saddam's will.
6. I submitted to the referee's request.
7. The sample was subjected to treatment.

If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port,
And the bus is interrupted as a very last resort.
And the address of the memory makes your floppy disk abort,
Then the socket packet pocket has an error to report!

-author unknown

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Created April 30, 1998, by Nancy Burnham and Fred Hutson.