The terms topic or subject can be used to describe what a sentence refers to. What are the proper terms for the "source" (the person who is speaking or writing) and "destination" (the person who is listening or reading) when referring to a particular phrase used in communication?

For example, if Ann were to tell Bob: "The sky is blue" What general term would I use to describe Ann or Bob in relation to that sentence?

If they were speaking out loud, I might call Ann the speaker, and Bob the listener. If Ann had written to Bob, I might call Ann the writer and Bob the reader. In both cases, I might also call Bob the audience. Ann could be described as using the sentence to communicate with Bob. The trouble with all of these options is their actual use:

"The source of the sentence" - implies text, not a person
"The sentence speaker" - excludes writing, sounds wrong
"The sentence writer" - excludes speaking
"The person who used the sentence" - too verbose

"The sentence destination" - a tagline for your local jail?
"The sentence listener" - an upcoming Hollywood movie?
"The sentence reader" - excludes listening
"The audience of the sentence" - could imply more than one person, too verbose

2 Answers 2


You can talk about an author and his or her audience.

Whether written or spoken, Ann is the author of the sentence "The sky is blue." Bob is Ann's audience.


"communicator" for person A, and for person B "intended recipient" or "intended audience" or "communicatee" (last one I made up). If person B replies followed by no further relevant communication persists, then person B could be called a "respondent" (as in a two-way conversation) though naturally that term wouldn't apply prior to actually responding.

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