If person A gives person B a recommendation, can you call A recommender and B recommendee— or are these words made up?

I've seen both forms used in everyday language (e.g. magazines), but never in a dictionary or grammar book, or in literature.

Also, what is the process of creating recommendee or recommender out of recommendation called?


2 Answers 2


It depends what kind of reference we're talking about.

Referrals, as suggested by @Autoresponder, is the normal term for "unsolicited" endorsements - for example, A is a satisfied customer who suggests to others that they should consider using B's products/services.

Reference (sometimes referee) is normally used in contexts where B suggest to someone that they should contact A for a "third-party" (in principle, unbiased) opinion on the quality of B's products/services.

There are many other types of recommendation, obviously. Proposing someone as the chairman of a group you're in, or as a suitable romantic attachment for your unmarried sister, for example. The list of words available for all the different contexts is too long for me to even attempt a summary.

I would say the process by which we create words such as recommendee, recommender, and recommendation from [re]commend is linguistic production. The prefix re-, and suffixes -ee, -er, and -ation are usually referred to as productive. Often contrasted to other prefixes/suffixes which were used to form new words in the past, but which are no longer considered acceptable for use in generating new word forms today.


I think of those I recommend as my referrals, and I recommend the word for telephonic or email contexts. I've never heard the usage Recommendee till now, but it's probably useful for highly formal situations / formal writing.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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