The Grammarian plays an important role in helping all Toastmasters improve their grammar and word use. It offers an opportunity to practice your listening skills.
The Grammarian role introduces new words to members, listens for and comments on language usage during the course of the meeting, and makes members aware of examples of eloquence.
Before the Meeting
Several days before the meeting, select a “word of the day” (if this is done in your club):
- The Word of the Day should be a word that will help members increase their vocabulary. A word easy to incorporate into everyday conversation but is different from the way people usually express themselves.
- Adjectives and adverbs can be more adaptable than nouns or verbs.
- Print your word, whether it is an adjective, adverb, noun, or verb, and a brief definition.
- Prepare a sentence as an example of how the word is used.
- Prepare an explanation of the duties of the grammarian for the benefit of the guests.
At the Meeting
If you have a word of the day place it at the front of the room before the meeting starts. Have blank paper and a pen, or the grammarian’s log, if your club has one, from the sergeant at arms.
When introduced By The Chairman (or Toastmaster):
- If using a Word of the Day – Announce the word of the day, whether it is an adverb etc, define it, use it in a sentence and ask that anyone speaking during any part of the meeting try to incorporate the word.
- Briefly explain the role of the grammarian.
Throughout the meeting –
Listen carefully to word usage. Write down any awkward use or misuse of the language (incomplete sentences, sentences that change direction in midstream, incorrect grammar) 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.”
Write down who used the word of the day (or a derivative of it) and note those who used it correctly or incorrectly.
- Stand by your chair, or at the front of the room depending on your club, and give your report.
- Try to offer the correct usage in every instance instead of merely saying it was incorrect.
- Report on creative language usage and announce who used the word of the day (or a derivative of it) correctly or incorrectly.