Posted by: episystechpubs | December 3, 2015

Editor’s Corner: Recipient Nouns

Yesterday was an exciting day with agent nouns, and today I am excited to report another type of noun that is new to me: recipient nouns. What, pray tell, are these? Are they people, places, and things that are about to get some lovely gifts for the wintertime? No, not exactly.

Recipient nouns are easy to spot because they end with the suffix –ee. In the past, you would generally see these nouns in the law, to indicate “the passive party in a legal transaction.” For example:

· The payee is the person who has the right to be paid.

· The parolee is the person who has received parole from prison.

· The trustee is the person who will receive the money from the trust.

The suffix –ee has since gone from legal to more general use:

· The employee is the person who has received the job.

· The evacuee is the person who has been evacuated from a certain area.

· The honoree is receiving special recognition for her accomplishments.

A couple of notes on recipient nouns:

· From Grammarist: “When creating recipient nouns, keep in mind that a recipient is one to whom something is given or one for whom something is done. So, for example, the relatively new word attendee, indicating one who attends, is questionable because one does not receive attendance. The word technically should be attender (but, of course, it’s not).”

· If you are ever assigned to work with our group of writing mentors, don’t be upset if we accidentally forget to call you mentees and call you manatees instead. (Manatees are pretty cute, anyway.)

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services


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