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In linguistics, a grammatical patient is an entity upon whom an action is carried out. For example, in the sentence "Jack kicked the ball", "the ball" is the patient. In certain languages, the patient is declined or otherwise marked to indicate its grammatical role. In Japanese, for instance, the patient is typically affixed with the hiragana お (pronounced "o"). Although Modern English does not mark grammatical role, patienthood is represented irregularly in other ways; for instance, with the morphemes "-en", "-ed", or "-ee", as in "eaten", "used", or "payee".
The grammatical patient is often confused with the direct object, but there is a slight difference: the former is based explicitly on its relationship to the verb, whereas the latter is based primarily on its relationship to the subject.
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