I have a problem in this sentence I cannot understand the meaning of "subject" in the sentence:

Guthrie has also demonstrated that the landscape must have been subject to intense and continuous winds, especially in winter

As the Logman dictionary, "subject" can play roles as a noun, an adjective, and a verb, therefore this can different meanings. this word, subject, cannot be a verb because if it plays a role as a verb it should have been written in the past form.

  • Welcome to EL&U. Where did you get that sentence from? Did you copy it from somewhere or you wrote it yourself? Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 9:08
  • Welcome to English Language & Usage. Try looking up subject to as a phrase.
    – rajah9
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 9:08
  • Thank you. I copy this text from a text Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 15:41

3 Answers 3


subject to

  1. affected by or possibly affected by (something)
  2. likely to do, have, or suffer from (something)
  3. dependent on something else to happen or be true


In the example sentence, definition 1 is in play. The landscape is affected by something, namely "intense and continuous winds."


In your example, "subject" is an adjective: From the OED

Subject (adjective):

II. Expressing a relationship of liability, exposure, or dependence between a person or thing and a state, condition, or experience. Chiefly in predicative use, with to.

4.b Exposed to violent treatment, damaging weather, or the like.

1726 G. Leoni tr. L. B. Alberti Archit. I. 7 The Isle of Lemnos..being very subject to Lightning.

1907 Broad Views Feb. 143 Ferry boats cross 90 miles of the Michigan Lake,—subject to storms quite as violent as those which afflict the Channel.

2003 E. Mumford Redesigning Human Syst. iv. 58 The family of the ‘black leg’, who remained at work when others were on strike, was subject to abuse and ignominy.


In this sentence, "must have been subject to" means "must have been exposed to" and "must have been under". If you translate the sentence word-by-word in order, you can guess the meaning. "subject" is not a verb in this sentence. "have been" is the verb.

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