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...and do they have a suffix of their own?

Cambridge says "-er" is "added to [...] verbs to form nouns that refer to people or things that [do/are performing] that particular activity". Okay, that's clear.

But then, in contrast: "-ee" is "added to a verb to form a noun that refers to the person to whom the action of the verb is being done".

So in this example, presupposing the listener of said rant is not the subject of same, are they the rantee (since the ranting is directed towards them)? Or is it the person the rant is about (since the dialog is about them)?

And what's the third leg of the triad called? Do they get a suffix?

Reflecting on it, were I the debater, and my opponent the debatee, the topic being debated would be the "debated", right? The "ranted" doesn't sound right, either.

(I'm aware the -ee/-er is more a convention than a firm grammatical rule, like double-plurals ("fishes of the sea") or the faux-Latinization of words ending in "us" ("styli"/"stylus", "cacti"/"cactus", "panini"/"paninus"), but I'm hoping to better understand the implicit rules surrounding the convention).

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  • This is partly a duplicate of this. See also english.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/er-ee
    – Stuart F
    May 11 at 22:56
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    We generally say someone rants about something but not to someone. And if they do, we just say: He was ranting about x to me.
    – Lambie
    May 11 at 22:59
  • Does this answer the question? english.stackexchange.com/a/88317/15299 May 11 at 23:02
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    You can't refer to a person as the "ranted" because "rant" is not a transitive verb. This is allowed for some intransitive verbs (e.g., "the dearly departed") but not in general. (And nominalizing a past participle isn't that common even for transitive verbs.) May 11 at 23:18
  • "Cambridge says "-er" is "added to [...] verbs to form nouns that refer to people or things that [do/are performing] that particular activity". Okay, that's clear." -- I don't think it is. Cambridge is giving general guidance, not an infallible, universal rule.
    – Greybeard
    May 11 at 23:33

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