Taking on this role improves vocabulary, grammar, critical listening skills, and evaluation skills. The Grammarian/Ah-Counter plays an important role in helping everyone improve their grammar and vocabulary while noting any overused words or filler sounds used as a crutch by anyone who speaks during the meeting. 

Explain Role

  • At the beginning of the meeting, the Toastmaster explains the Theme and introduces you.
  • In a minute or less, explain your role as the Grammarian/Ah-Counter while incorporating the Theme:
    • Tell us the Word of the Day, its definition, and an example of how to use it in a sentence.
    • Chat out that information via Zoom.
    • Instruct everyone to use the party popper emoji (🎉) whenever someone says the Word of the Day.
    • To use that emoji in Zoom, click on the “Reactions” button and search for “tada.”

Monitor Grammar and Filler Words

  • During the meeting, your role is write a report on the following:
    • All uses of the Word of the Day
    • Needless repetition:
      → Sentence restarts
      → Double clutches (e.g., “I I,” “is is,” “the the,” etc.) within sentences
      → Redundant phrases
      → Any word used either repetitiously or as a crutch
    • Needless filler words:
      → ah
      → um
      → er
      → and
      → but
      → well
      → so
      → like
      → actually
      → basically
      → you know
      → I mean
      → etc.
    • Excellent uses of the English language—sentences or phrases that especially resonate with you!
  • NB: Sometimes repetition and filler words are indispensable. Some of the greatest public speakers, such as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Tony Robbins, have used repetition and filler words with immense success, so use your best judgment to decide whether they add value.
  • Check out Alondra Sánchez’s presentation on how to be a good Grammarian/Ah-Counter:

Give Report

  • At the end of the meeting, the Toastmaster calls on you to give your report in a minute or less:
    • There will be nowhere near enough time for your entire report. Just give the highlights!
    • Emphasize excellent uses of the English language.
    • Again, incorporate both the Toastmaster’s Theme and your Word of the Day.
    • Crown the Leader(s) of the Word of the Day.
  • Above all, because Toastmasters is laser-focused on positive reinforcement, be sure to use the sandwich method whenever you give feedback by layering all constructive remarks with positive ones.