Saturday, December 17, 2005

Walkers Left Standees Right

This sign is above the sliding walkways at the Pittsburgh Airport.

Why "standees" and not "standers"? Granted that standing is a passive activity, still, I am standing on the right, not being stood on the right.

Maribeth's investigation reveals that in American English, since the mid-19th century, -ee is sometimes used to indicate the subject of an intransitive verb (like "stand") as well as the object of a transitive verb (which I think is more common).

I guess it just seems funny to me in conjunction with "walkers"... note, not "walkees," even though "walk" is also an intransitive verb.


At 8:08 PM, December 18, 2005, Blogger Scott said...

I know I've encountered this debate before... The fact that you went trekking in Pittsburgh makes you a what, again? :)


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