End the ‘ee’ trend

April 12, 2018

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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