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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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  • 3
    A natural selector.
    – Uticensis
    Mar 13, 2011 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, 2011 at 6:50
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  • Why does the second one seem more logical? Mar 13, 2011 at 12:03
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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". Mar 13, 2011 at 15:33

3 Answers 3

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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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    Good answer. BUT we don't need to be too philosophical about this: in practice, "(software) updater" with -er is reasonably well established. Mar 13, 2011 at 15:29
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    Anyone who thinks a restaurant owner is a restauranteur weakens his authority on etymology. Jun 22, 2012 at 20:11
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    Brilliant answer.
    – dalgard
    May 7, 2015 at 0:09
  • A few words are used with both endings, as variants of each other. Nov 1, 2017 at 1:27
  • ok "or" is a latin suffix...so? I don't understand, how does that explain the difference? Feb 5, 2018 at 19:12
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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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  • I would personally use author instead of creator.
    – ogerard
    Apr 24, 2011 at 22:47
  • @ogerard: and how about auther? Oh, sorry, it's way past 1.IV :) Apr 9, 2018 at 9:51
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-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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    I think they call him/her editor.
    – ngduc
    Mar 13, 2011 at 4:40

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