4

Which one is correct ?

you have already subscribed to our newsletter.

or

you are already subscribed to our newsletter.

I would tend to use "have" for present perfect - I have seen, you have subscribed... - but a Google search brought examples of both...

See this stack overflow link for example: https://civicrm.stackexchange.com/questions/12258/you-are-already-subscribed-to-our-newsletter-message

  • Welcome to ELL and thank you for your question. We hope you will review our tour and help center pages. They can help you to ask useful questions. Where on the internet have you searched, and what did you search for? Do you know what verb tense is? Do you know what a participle is? – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica Aug 22 '16 at 3:37
  • Here I would tend to use present perfect - I have seen, you have subscribed... - but once again, I found examples of both by a simple Google search. I am now unsure, that's why I'm asking here. – Arnaud Aug 22 '16 at 3:41
6

The difference in usage here is very simple:

You have already subscribed to our newsletter.

This is in the active voice. You is the subject of the verb subscribe.

You are already subscribed to our newsletter.

This is in the passive voice.

There is no difference in meaning or tone between the two usages. This exact question is discussed at our sister site ELU in Why is it “Thank you! You’re subscribed,” not “You subscribed,” or “You’ve subscribed”?

The answer there posits the theory that use of the passive is meant to leave open the possibility that someone other than the recipient initiated the subscription. This is interesting, but crediting the theory involves interpreting the intention of the writer who composed the "welcome" email. From a strictly grammatical perspective, there is no difference in meaning between the active and passive usages.

3

The difference between "you are subscribed" and "you have subscribed" has nothing to do with the active and passive voices. Both clauses are in the active voice. In the first instance, "subscribed" is a past participle functioning as a predicate adjective with "are" as the copula between the subject "you" and the predicate adjective "subscribed". This same structure underlies such utterances as "you are angry" and "you are tired". In the second instance, "subscribed" is a past participle forming (with "have") the present perfect tense.

While both clauses are grammatically correct, pressing "subscribed" into service as an adjective describing a trait or condition of a person seems rather silly to me.

0

Both sentences can evoke a different meaning or tone.

"you have already subscribed to our newsletter."

In this context, the subject (you) is clearly marked by the main verb (subscribe). It gives the sentence a much more personal meaning.

"I have taken out the trash. Me, no one else but me."

"You have already selected the first option." Great! It clearly means you. "YOU"!

Notice however that both constructions cannot always work with the same verb.

For instance:

"You are already done for the night" (correct) "You have already done for the night" (wrong)

The second one is wrong and it's missing a main verb. In this sentence, the word "have" is an auxiliary verb (linking verb) which usually works best followed by a verb.

"you are already subscribed to our newsletter."

Denotes a less personal tone and opens up another possible interpretation. That is, someone else could have signed up for a subscription on your behalf.

Perhaps someone did you the favor in signing up for the newsletter in which case "you are already subscribed to our newsletter" would make more sense.

  • 1
    There is no difference at all between "You have already subscribed to our newsletter" and "You are already subscribed to our newsletter." One is in the active voice, the other passive. That is all. The tone and meaning are identical. – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica Aug 22 '16 at 3:56
  • Also, in your examples, there is no "missing verb" in "You have already done for the night." The main verb is to do. It's odd and sounds faintly idiomatic, but nothing is missing. – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica Aug 22 '16 at 4:00
  • @P.E.Dant I don't understand... usually there is a big difference in meaning when using passive voice, e.g. "you are eaten" or "you have eaten". – Arnaud Aug 22 '16 at 4:05
  • @SuperChafouin Not "usually" at all. Occasionally there is a difference, but not in such things as The exam was failed by half of the student body and Half of the student body failed the exam. – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica Aug 22 '16 at 4:14
  • yes, but in your example, you switch the subject and the complement. In my question, "you" is still the subject in both sentences. I'm still lost :-) – Arnaud Aug 22 '16 at 4:21
-2

You are already subscribed sounds very clumsy. Subscribe is a personal action and was in use before internet mailing lists, "you might subscribe to a certain school of political thought", so to be subscribed to something seems incorrect and clumsy. In the sense used above a person only subscribes once, although I do believe the meaning of this word is due to change over the coming decade

So in summation "You have already subscribed to this newsletter" is fine, also "You already have an active subscription to this newsletter" would be fine and if you require an impersonal version would be my choice

nb. In the EU only an individual is allowed to give their permission to be marketed to, therefore the impersonal version should not be needed. If a person never subscribed them they should be removed from the mailing list

  • Any chance of a comment to explain the down votes. Subscribe is a single action, therefore surely you are subscribed is incorrect, only you have subscribed. If I am wrong here guidance would be appreciated – cockbeard Aug 23 '16 at 0:04

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