Wednesday, 19 October 2016

linguistic legerdemain

I will be setting off early tomorrow morning on the long haul back to Hong Kong, and as usual I have a little puzzle for readers to ponder while I’m en route. Of the following six words, which is the odd one out, and why?
citizen ● partner ● recruit ● scholar ● sponsor ● steward
Obviously, a person can be a citizen, or a partner, or a recruit, or a scholar, or a sponsor, or a steward, but one of these six differs from the others in a fundamental way. Which one?

All correct answers will be acknowledged at the time of posting, but the comment(s) that include such correct answers will not be posted for a month from this date. If no correct answers are received during this period, this puzzle will remain unsolved indefinitely. I will not be providing the solution.

If you have found this one easy, then you should try An English Question, for which no correct solution has been submitted despite its having been posted almost three years ago.

spoiler alert
Correct solutions have been submitted below by an anonymous reader and by Siegfried, and by Claire via email. Only Siegfried has explained the reason for his answer.


  1. This one must be easy. There has been one anonymous correct answer, and my niece Claire has submitted the correct answer by email.

  2. The odd one out is recruit. All the others may take the suffix -ship. I'm not familiar enough with the etymology to say why exactly that is.


    1. The clue is in the post title. Although ‘recruit’ can be a noun, it is primarily a verb, and in general verbs take the suffix –ment.


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