Take the 2-minute tour ×
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.

Which of the following is grammatical?

  • I am deputizing for him/her.
  • I am deputizing him/her.

I think in the case of covering you have to use:

I am covering for him/her.

...or do you?

share|improve this question

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Merriam-Webster shows a usage of deputize that somewhat agrees with your first sentence: I deputize for the newspaper's editor on the weekends. But it sounds strange to me. I'd say that I was acting for or covering for someone not available to do the work at the moment, or that I had been authorized to act as that person's agent. I associate deputy with legal positions, like deputy sheriff and deputy district attorney. There may be a distinction in British and American English, though.

I am deputizing him/her means that you are authorizing someone else to act as a deputy.

share|improve this answer
1  
The OED’s second definition of deputize is ‘To act as a deputy’, but it is described as colloquial. The first definition is ‘To appoint as a deputy. Chiefly U.S.’ –  Barrie England Jan 9 '13 at 10:43
    
@BarrieEngland: So "I am deputizing him/her" could also be used to say that you act on behalf of him/her? –  vonjd Jan 9 '13 at 10:51
1  
@vonjd. No. I it means 'I am appointing him (or her) as a deputy.' –  Barrie England Jan 9 '13 at 10:56
1  
The two constructions with deputize turn out to be opposites. If I deputize you, then I am in charge and you are authorized to act for me. But if I deputize for you, then you are in charge, and I am authorized to act for you. –  John Lawler Jan 9 '13 at 17:36

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.