Re: English usage: to "subscribe" to a course?

Subject: Re: English usage: to "subscribe" to a course?
From: Ned Bedinger <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
To: Yves Barbion <yves -dot- barbion -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2008 03:39:13 -0700

Yves Barbion wrote:
> Hi techwhirlers,
> when I review English documents written by Dutch authors, I often see the
> phrase "to subscribe to a course" in the meaning of "to register for/to sign
> up for a course". In my opinion (but I'm not an English native speaker) you
> "subscribe to a magazine/newspaper, or to an organization, for example an
> environmental action group.

I think American English agrees with you. But if you look in the
dictionary (, for example), the first few definitions stop just
short of 'sign up'--if you subscribe to a course, you assent or sign
your name to signify consent, to an obligation. Anyway, I think we
usually say 'sign up for a course' or 'register for a course'

I also have the feeling that "to subscribe to a
> course" is a "false friend" (from the Dutch "zich inschrijven voor een
> cursus").

Could you give a literal translation? I'm not catching on to the "false
friend" as subscriber.


Ned Bedinger
doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com

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English usage: to "subscribe" to a course?: From: Yves Barbion

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