I am studying phrasal verbs in English and i found this account to in the website i found they saying its meaning is:

To answer to; to be responsible to.

they gave us a example :

My boss is the only person I must account to.

but i did not understand yet, someone could explain me this pharsal verb and where could i use this?

i wrote some example:

you are my wife and you must account to from our babies

1 Answer 1


Definitions.net gives your definition of "account to", but its examples do not use it as a verb. More usual is "be accountable to", as in "I am accountable to my boss" or "the President is accountable to the people". "Accountable to" here has the meaning of "answerable to" or "responsible to".

Wiktionary has "account to" as a verb with the above meaning. Its examples are all recent, and I would guess that it is becoming more common.

To account for something is to say why it has happened, or is present or missing. eg "Can you account for this cup being broken?" It does not necessarily mean you are responsible (for breaking the cup) but that is often assumed.

If you need to account to somebody for something, I would expect it to be asking for the explanation rather than stating responsibility, though there is overlap and context is important.

you are my wife and you must account to from our babies

does not work because it does not say who your wife must account to, and because "from our babies" does not make sense here.

You are my wife and you must account to me for our babies

is grammatical, but it could be asking why the babies are here, or perhaps why they have gone missing. There may also be an implication that your wife is accountable only to you, as if the babies are your personal property.

  • then american dont use alot this phasal verbs?
    – simon
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 1:41
  • @simon No, I cannot say that I have ever heard it, except as in Peter's example. Commented Dec 14, 2020 at 9:19

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