Tricky Words in this week's OVI
Subsidiary. Normally this is an adjective, e.g. a subsidiary company, but when everyone is familiar with the expression, they shorten it and say "a subsidiary" as if
it were a noun. So U. S. Steel Košice has five subsidiary companies (five subsidiaries), which makes USSK the parent company, and there's no mention of mothers and daughters in English in
this context. No step-mothers or daughters-in-law either. The first meaning of subsidiary in the dictionary is "subordinate, secondary, less important" (literally "sitting lower down"), but the
next meaning is "receiving a subsidy", i.e. financial support ("subvencia"), and I think this is what counts in the case of subsidiary companies: they are protected financially by the economically
stronger parent company.
I've been asked to say something about the words "enclose", "attach" and "append", especially in connection with e-mail messages. All these words hark back to the time
when people wrote letters on paper and sent them in envelopes. Enclose meant "put inside the envelope", while attach and append meant "fix another document to the letter itself", either with a
paper-clip or a staple. E-mail has just taken over these words, but I would say "append" is too formal nowadays, and "enclose" never really made sense, as e-mails have never been sent in envelopes,
so the best one is "attach". Two typical expressions in an e-mail message are: I'm attaching the photos you wanted, or: Please find attached (maybe PFA) the document in docx format.