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Let's say we have a list of doctors and a list of patients. Each doctor will be assigned to check on some of these patients. Now who are the assignees: the patients or the doctors? I am confused here. Should I say the assignee for these patients is doctor X or the assignees for doctor X are these patients?

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I don't think that either the doctor or the patients are the assignee here. Assignee is the person, who is assigning the patients to the doctors. – Incognito Jun 15 '12 at 16:51
@Incognito come on, Assignees has to be either doctors or patients.. :( – user21619 Jun 15 '12 at 16:52
ACtually, assignee also means "a person to whom an assignment has been made" So, if we take the assignment as checking the patients, the doctors in this case are the assignee! – Incognito Jun 15 '12 at 16:55
@Incognito seriously come on, make up your mind. you made me more confused now. – user21619 Jun 15 '12 at 16:55
Each patient is assigned a doctor who will check on him. Each doctor is assigned one or more patients to check on. Thus they are both assignees (the assigner being whoever made the assignments in the first place). In short, the word "assignee" is irrelevant to OP's purposes, since it does not distinguish anything useful for him in this context. – FumbleFingers Jun 15 '12 at 16:57

The assignee is the person to whom the assignment is made. Since you said "Each doctor will be assigned to check on..", it sounds like the patients are assigned to the doctor. In that case, the doc is the assignee and the patient is the assignment.

You could express the relationship in the other direction, by assigning doctors to patients, in which case the patient is the assignee.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

If we think of assignee as someone who has been assigned a job, it is the doctor who should be the assignee and not the patient, as it is the doctor's job to see the patient and not the patient's job to see the doctor.

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The problem is in your second sentence. Assign can mean allot; designate; transfer; specify; or archaically mark out. But in every case it is transitive; you assign a noun to somebody. Myself, I would say each doctor was assigned a list of patients (= a list of patients was assigned to the doctor), in which case the doctors were the assignees.It would be equally possible to say each doctor was assigned to a list of patients, in which case the patients are the assignees. But you have to be clear about using the verb before this question can be answered properly.

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Which sentence exactly? – user21619 Jun 15 '12 at 17:01
Yes Each doctor will be assigned to check on some of these patients, the system will assign the doctors depending on the number of total patients for each doctor. – user21619 Jun 15 '12 at 17:05
@HaLaBi@ Each doctor will be assigned some patients to check on is not Each doctor will be assigned to check on some patients. The first is correct (and so clear) the second is unclear. – TimLymington Jun 15 '12 at 17:08
I can't see the difference... – user21619 Jun 15 '12 at 17:10

The assignee is the person who has been assigned.


The assigner makes the assignment, and the assignee is the victim. In the OPs situation, the doctor is the assignee.


...the OP is asking whether the assignees for the patients is the doctor, or the assignees for the doctor are the patients. This may be a false question, as the the patient (I assume) has received no assignment. The doctor is the assignee for whoever did the assigning.

The confusion is that the doctor is assigned to a patient, but that doesn't alter anything: the patient didn't do the assigning, nor did the doctor.

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