This question is derived from this post, where someone says

By "the person addressed" I meant the person to whom the question is addressed, the person who must answer the question.

One of the meanings on the Oxford dict is

Speak to (a person or an assembly)

the corresponding example sentence is

‘The person obviously wasn't addressing him, but speaking to someone else.’

Does "address" in "address a question to someone" have the same meaning of "Speak to (a person or an assembly)"?

Is this a common expression, “the person addressed”?

1 Answer 1


The "address" in "address a question to someone" isn't used quite correctly. The verb "address" (in sense 2 in your Oxford dictionary) takes, as its direct object, a noun meaning, or implying, a person or a group of people: an assembly, for example, or a meeting, or the House of Commons. Although "address a question to someone" would be understood, you can't address an inanimate object. Although 'House of Commons' is inanimate the implied meaning is the people in the House of Commons. (Even they are fairly inanimate :-)

I think you are confusing it with sense 1 in the same dictionary. This usage does take an inanimate object. Their first example of that usage - "I addressed my letter to him personally" - means "I wrote his name and address on the envelope (not, for example, his company's name and address)"

Instead of "address a question to someone" you might direct a question at someone.

  • I am not confusing sense 2 with sense 1, I just feel something uncommon when read "the person addressed". Thanks a lot!
    – JJJohn
    Sep 19, 2019 at 1:56
  • @fu DL But your question asked about "address a question to someone", not "the person addressed"! Sep 19, 2019 at 1:59
  • Thanks for your reminder. I've updated the OP
    – JJJohn
    Sep 19, 2019 at 2:02

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