Ah Counter/Grammarian

Description of Role

AH-COUNTER

The purpose of the Ah-Counter is to note any word or sound 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 ” or “This means, this means.” These word and sounds can be annoying to listeners.  The Ah-Counter role is an excellent opportunity to practice your listening skills.

Several days before the meeting:

Use the information in A Toastmaster Wears Many Hats or in the appendix of the Competent Communication manual to prepare a brief explanation of the duties of the Ah-Counter for the benefits of the guest.

When you arrive at the meeting:

Bring a pen and blank piece of paper for notes, or locate a blank copy of the Ah-Counter’s log, if your club has one, from the sergeant at arms.

The president will call the meeting to order and introduce the Toastmaster who will, in turn, introduce you and the other meeting participants.  When you’re introduced, explain the role of the Ah-Counter.  Some clubs levy small fines on members who do or do not do certain things.  (For Example, members are fined who use filler words or are not wearing their Toastmasters pin to the meeting.  A fine is usually about five cents, acting more as a friendly reminder that a punishment.)  If your club levies fines, explain the fine schedule.  (We do not levy fines).

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.

When you’re called on by the general evaluator during the evaluations segment, stand by your chair and give your report.  This is brief and usually one minute will suffice.  Remember the time of meeting and be gentle in your report.

GRAMMARIAN – THE SYNTAX SENTINEL

Before the meeting. 

One benefit of Toastmasters is that it helps people improve their grammar and word use.  Being grammarian also provides an exercise in expanding listening skills.  You have several responsibilities: to comment on language usage during the course of the meeting, and to provide examples of eloquence.  Also, prepare a brief explanation of the duties of the grammarian for the benefit of the guests.

At the Meeting. 

Briefly explain the role of the grammarian.  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 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 evaluations segment.  Stand by your chair and give your report.  Try to offer correct usage in every instance of misuse (instead of merely announcing that something was wrong).   Report on creative language usage.  Watch your time as the meeting has a schedule and be brief.

Please click below for Ah Counter/Grammarian Form.