Why do you need the word "to" after the verb "subscribe"? I'm trying to understand why you need "subscribe to [object]", whereas if the verb was "follow", you would only need "follow [object]" — without the "to".

Follow and subscribe are both verbs, but in what way are they different? Obviously, "subscribe" would not sound right without the "to" afterwards, but I'm trying to understand why.


Follow is a transitive verb, while subscribe is an intransitive one (in the usage you mentioned; you can also subscribe someone/something, which would be a transitive usage, but that means something different). Some verbs are transitive, others are not. That is all. And it's not something peculiar to English, either, as those Wikipedia articles on transitivity demonstrate.

Now, this is rather a description of than the reason for the current situation, but that's because there really is no particular, universal reason for a verb to be transitive or intransitive — as demonstrated by the fact that the very same verb can be transitive in one language, and intransitive in another.

When you look up a verb in a dictionary, it will typically be mentioned in which meaning or in which situations it is transitive or not, and which prepositions are a good fit in the latter case.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.