Suffixes: -er vs -ee

Employer or employee, trainer or trainee? What’s the difference?


We often use the suffixes –er and –ee with nouns to describe people and their positions.


An employer is the boss, the person who employs the staff.


An employee is a worker, they are employed by the boss.


A trainer gives training.


A trainee receives training.


If a noun takes the suffix –er it means that the person performs the verb as we have seen in the example of employer (the person employs others).


If a noun takes the suffix –ee it means that the person is the object or beneficiary of the verb as we have seen in the example of employee (the person who is employed).


Here are more examples:


  • Payer

  • Payee

  • Interviewer

  • Interviewee

Can you think of some more examples?