The purpose of the Grammarian is to track improper grammar, filler words or expressions, words or sounds used as a crutch by anyone who speaks during the meeting. Words may be inappropriate interjections, such as: and, well, but, so and you know. Sounds may be: ah, um or er. You should also note when a speaker repeats a word or phrase such as “I, I.” These words and sounds can be annoying to listeners. The Grammarian role is an excellent opportunity to practice your listening skills.
Before the Meeting
Prepare a brief explanation of the duties of the Grammarian for the benefit of guests.
During the Meeting
- Bring a pen and blank piece of paper for notes, or locate a blank copy of the Grammarian’s log from the Sergeant at Arms.
- When you’re introduced by the Toastmaster, explain the role of the Grammarian.
- Throughout the meeting, listen to everyone for sounds and long pauses used as fillers and not as a necessary part of sentence structure. Write down how many filler sounds or words each person used during all portions of the meeting.
- Throughout the meeting, listen to everyone’s word usage. Write down any awkward use or misuse of the language (incomplete sentences, sentences that change direction in midstream, incorrect grammar or malapropisms) with a note of who erred. For example, point out if someone used a singular verb with a plural subject. “One in five children wear glasses” should be “one in five children wears glasses.” Note when a pronoun is misused. “No one in the choir sings better than her” should be “No one in the choir sings better than she.”
- When you’re called on by the general evaluator during the evaluation segment, stand by your chair and give your report.