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Hello there I m Sajid and I'm exceptionally confounded about the use of the phrase subject to.

What is the significance of subject to in the following sentence?

This was partially because in analyzing his data he used probability theory, an alien subject to most biologists of the time.

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    It's "an alien subject | to most biologists of the time" (not "an alien | subject to most biologists of the time"). To make it easier to see this, replace the word "to" with "for". – SAH May 26 '16 at 4:51
  • To most biologists of the time, probability theory was an alien subject." is an alternative phrasing that may make it clearer – PerryW May 26 '16 at 7:13
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Use of 'subject to' in this case

This was partially because in analyzing his data he used probability theory, an alien subject to most biologists of the time.

Here, to can indeed be replaced by for, meaning that probability theory is a subject that wasn't well-known to the biologists. It is used as a noun, and is categorized as "alien".

Use of 'subject to' in other cases

However, subject to can also be used in other cases, for example:

This new set of rules is subject to last-minute changes.

Where it means that the rules might change, and where you could replace it with prone to. Or:

He is subject to his wife's will.

Where it conveys submission. In these, it's used as a subject's attribute and not as a noun any more.

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