Meeting Roles: Grammarian

You help members improve their use of language

Main responsibilities 

  • To choose a Word of the Day (WoD)
  • To record any notable uses of language and of the WoD
  • To deliver the grammarian’s report

Before the meeting 

  • Choose WoD.
  • Choose a WoD that people can easily weave into their talk – e.g. someone chose the word ‘frustrated’ once and it was fun for the speakers to use.
  • Prepare a short definition of the word – include one or two usage examples.  
  • Print the word out in large letters on two separate pieces of A4 paper – make it big enough to read easily across the meeting room.
  • Prepare your introduction – explain your role and introduce the WoD plus examples.
  • Practice your introduction.
  • Keep an eye on the clock – make sure you stay within the allotted time.

Upon arrival at the meeting 

  • Display the WoD.
  • Stick the WoD papers in visible places – at the front and back of the room. 

During the meeting 

  • Pay attention to the speakers.  
  • Note any good/fun use of English and of the WoD.
  • Keep phrases short – you only have 3 minutes to deliver your report at the end of the evening.  
  • To make it easier for yourself, you could pick a theme around the English language – e.g. great examples of vivid imagery, use of onomatopoetic words, powerful rhetorical questions.
  • You can also count up the number of times some speakers use ‘filler words’, e.g. umm, ahh, err. It can be very useful for speakers.
  • Give your report.  
  • First, report on which participants used the WoD and how many times.
  • You do not have to say how the WoD was used.  
  • Highlight some of the most interesting examples of language – pick examples from a variety of speakers and from various different parts of the meeting.
  • Try to avoid a list of ‘‘speaker x said this, speaker y said that and speaker z said…’’
  • Explain why something was a good use of language.  
  • Structuring your report around rhetorical devices (RDs) may help – e.g. ‘’we had some great examples of anaphora, as when speaker x said…’’
  • Keep an eye on the time – when you see the amber light, choose one or two short examples, wrap up and hand back to the Toastmaster.

Note: The function of the Grammarian’s role is to note good English; it is not their role to comment on speakers, as that is the function of an evaluator.