Discussion started here: https://www.duolingo.com/comment/556494 from the translation of "Nosotros la vamos a aplicar." from spanish which literally translates into "we are going to apply her" (la in spanish = her in english),

however, many people seem to think that "her" can not be applied and that "la" in this case should be interpreted as "it" only in the feminine form (like an apple, which would be a feminine noun)

When I suggested that a person can to be "applied" too, to a college for example, this is the response I received from a community member:

I am unaware of a region that would accept that use of apply. When used in the context you suggest, the verb must change to "enroll, matriculate, sign up or filled out an application for".

Someone can "apply to" college, but cannot apply someone else, as stated above.

Does this reasoning have merit? Is apply used in this manner colloquially?

  • Some may say "my parents got me a place at college" or something similar. – Ali Caglayan Oct 27 '14 at 11:32
  • Some may, yes :) but is "apply" the wrong word to use? – bbozo Oct 27 '14 at 12:39
  • I have never hear it being used like that. – Ali Caglayan Oct 27 '14 at 16:37

is "apply" the wrong word to use?

Yes. 'Apply' is the wrong word to use.

You can't apply someone else to something.

You could submit an application on their behalf or you could even apply on their behalf. Informally you could 'apply for them'. But you can't 'apply them to college'.

Oh but wait, I'm looking at https://www.duolingo.com/comment/556494 and I'm unclear whether you're talking about an object or a person. My answer above assumes that you are talking about a woman or a girl.

One can apply an object to something, e.g.

As soon as you can feel a blister developing, apply a plaster.


but that means 'put on' rather than 'submit an application'.

  • 1
    Yes, you understood the problem correctly, thank you :) – bbozo Oct 27 '14 at 12:55
  • @bbozo: OK cool. :) – A E Oct 27 '14 at 12:57
  • 2
    The only way you can apply someone to a college is using superglue - but you then have to remember which department they are attached to. – Tim Lymington supports Monica Oct 27 '14 at 13:22

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