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One who creates is a creator. What is one who updates?

  • An updater?
  • An updator?

The last one seems more logical, but also wrong.

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A natural selector. –  Uticensis Mar 13 '11 at 4:36
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@arex1337 Don't accept answers too quickly! You've gotten a nice answer, but I'm sure there might be a few people out there who have a little something to add, perhaps even one who can top the current highest-ranked answer. You see, if you accept too quickly, the software gives your question less visibility and it ultimately withers on the vine; not every question can be answered immediately. I'd advise waiting a day or two at least. –  Uticensis Mar 13 '11 at 6:50
    
@Billare Thanks for the tip. –  arex1337 Mar 13 '11 at 8:15
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While you're worrying about which spelling to use on theoretical grounds, you might like to bear in mind that usage has already established the -er spelling fairly convincingly. Google "software updater" and you get 1.7 million results compared to 29 thousand for "software updator". –  Neil Coffey Mar 13 '11 at 15:33

3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

According to Dr. Goodword's Language Blog,

Generally, -or is a Latin suffix and -er is the Germanic equivalent meaning, roughly, “one who Vs”, where V represents any verb. Words borrowed directly from Latin, then, tend to end with -or: governor, calculator, arbitrator, legislator, alternator. Words of Germanic origin (English is a Germanic language) generally take -er: runner, thinker, worker, joker.

However, two factors muddy the water. English borrowed many words from French in the Middle Ages and the French equivalent of -or and -er, is -eur. English generally reduced that suffix to -er, keeping it only in a few words borrowed late: amateur, restaurateur, raconteur [...]

[...] you need to know the etymologies of many of the verbs that -er and -or are added to, in order to know how to distribute them. You can be sure that verbs ending with -ize and -ify will take the suffix -er and that verbs ending on the suffix -ate will be suffixed with -or.

You may note that "update" ends with "-ate"; however, it is not a suffix, as it is in words like asphyxiate and elongate. According to dictionary.com, "update" is "up-" + "date", and "date" came to English via French, and therefore according to the information above should take "-er" as its suffix. (Indeed, dictionary.com lists "updater" in its set of related forms.)

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1  
Good answer. BUT we don't need to be too philosophical about this: in practice, "(software) updater" with -er is reasonably well established. –  Neil Coffey Mar 13 '11 at 15:29
    
Anyone who thinks a restaurant owner is a restauranteur weakens his authority on etymology. –  TimLymington Jun 22 '12 at 20:11

I would use creator for the person who creates a document/post/record and editor for someone who makes subsequent changes.

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Thank you for this suggestion. –  arex1337 Mar 14 '11 at 3:53
    
I would personally use author instead of creator. –  ogerard Apr 24 '11 at 22:47

-er and -or are suffixes used to form nouns denoting a person, animal, or thing that performs a specified action or activity.

In the dictionaries I have, I don't find updater, nor updator.
If I were to choose, I would choose updater.

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4  
I think they call him/her editor. –  ngduc Mar 13 '11 at 4:40

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