End the ‘ee’ trend

THE (Times Higher Education) - - LET­TERS -

I do hope that Robert Zaret­sky’s trib­ute to Si­mone Weil (“Wait – and see”, Opin­ion, 29 March) will be read by or­gan­is­ers of aca­demic con­fer­ences and other events. They should, then, aban­don the term “at­tendee” for those who go. They are, or should be, “at­ten­ders”, in Weil’s gloss of “at­ten­dre”; at­ten­dees are waited upon, I as­sume, like Prince Charles hav­ing some­one put the tooth­paste on the brush. They are pas­sively “done to”, rather than do­ing – which some may be, who sit pas­sively, although they may lis­ten at­ten­tively and soak in what is said, of course, “wait­ing upon the truth”.

The “ee” trend spreads con­ta­giously to any­thing it can touch. What is an “es­capee”, for ex­am­ple, to dif­fer­en­ti­ate from an “es­ca­per”? Pro­fessee Ian McNay Univer­sity of Green­wich

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