English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Possible Duplicate:
What’s the rule for adding -er vs. -or when nouning a verb?
Rules for nominalizing a verb

While reading another question, I started wondering if there's a rule for appending "-er" or "-or" to verbs to make them into people.

I mean, you have worker, keeper, writer, composer, but corrector, addressor, compositor etc.

So is there a rule for which ending to append, or is this just something you have to learn on a case-by-case basis?

share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by Barrie England, Andrew Leach, coleopterist, Carlo_R., jwpat7 Dec 4 '12 at 8:20

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

It might be worth noting that in the welding profession, welder refers to the machine, weldor to the person using it. – Jim Dec 4 '12 at 7:37
@Jim I guess that's an American thing (see Martha's answer at the duplicate question for Am/Br differences in -or/-er). In BrE, both are welders. – Andrew Leach Dec 4 '12 at 7:41
@AndrewLeach- Yes, that is a usage that is being pushed by the American Welding Society. I'm not sure how long ago they started it. – Jim Dec 4 '12 at 7:46
@BillFranke Sorry about that. I did search, but not thorough enough, apparently. – Mr Lister Dec 4 '12 at 7:54
@MrLister: No problem. I found it with a Google search: first hit on my list. I don't get upset about these things and never expect people to apologize for asking good questions. :-) I posted the comment to let you know where to find the answer. – user21497 Dec 4 '12 at 8:06

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.