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Meeting Role Descriptions

The Grammarian has two main roles: 1) to present the membership with the opportunity to learn a new word and use it in their daily conversation, and 2) to comment on the use of English during the meeting, including misuse of words, incorrect pronunciation, (ab)use of clichés, and poor sentence structure, as well as any interesting, unusual or particularly effective uses of speech.

Before the Meeting:
Choose a "word of the day" that will help the membership increase their vocabulary, a word that will be easily incorporated into everyday conversation, but different from the way they usually express themselves. Prepare a sentence as an example of how to use the word, and make sure you are comfortable using the word yourself.

Prepare a brief but thorough summary of your role as Grammarian that explains your role in the program to visiting guests. You can expect a call from the General Evaluator, confirming your role.

As you Arrive at the Meeting:
In letters large enough to be seen from the back of the room, print the word, the part of speech and a brief definition on at least one of the easels. Ideally, the word will be visible to both speaker and audience. However, try not to display the word in a position where the audience would find it distracting to any other portion of the meeting (e.g., taped to the lectern).

During the Meeting:
When called upon by the Toastmaster, stand at your seat and briefly explain your role(s). Introduce the word of the day and encourage all in attendance to use it in their remarks.

Throughout the meeting, listen carefully to all of the speakers and make note of grammatical errors or exceptional uses of language. Also keep track of the members who use the word of the day (or a variation of the word) in their speaking roles, how many times they use it, and whether it is used properly.

Near the end of the meeting, the General Evaluator will ask you to report your findings. Stand beside your seat to give your report, which should not exceed 1-2 minutes. It is okay not to read out all the names on your list.

If you mention a grammatical error or mispronunciation, be sure to offer the correct form. However, avoid lengthy explanations of fine points of grammar. Also, do not apologize for your own limited knowledge of grammar. Everybody is learning. If in doubt about a point, ask someone. This will help everyone.

When you are finished, return control of the meeting by saying, "Madam or Mr. General Evaluator," and take your seat.

Grammarian Worksheet (DOC)
A.Word.A.Day Home Page
Merriam-Webster Word of the Day
The Grammarian With a Heart by Pamela Price (PDF)

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