Don’t say “so moved” or “same sign”

(c) Gazette Newspapers, Long Beach, California, 2018. All rights reserved.

It’s common for people to say “so moved” when they agree with something a speaker says. Often this is a kind of enthusiastic endorsement. BUT…What exactly was moved? If the remarks or proposal were vague, it is not clear what was intended.

We recommend that people NOT use this phrase. However, if someone does say, “So moved,” the chair can inquire, “What motion is being made?” Then the maker should write the motion down, so the body can consider it.

It is important for the clerk/secretary, the chair, and all the members to know what exactly is being proposed. Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, 12th edition, deprecates the use of “so moved.” So do we.

An occasional exception: if the chair says, “Is there a motion to adopt the ordinance as read?” and a member says “So moved,” the action is perfectly clear and the phrase seems acceptable. But in general, don’t use it.

Don’t say “same sign”

Another common habit is when the chair takes the vote:

“All those in favor say aye!”

and then the chair says:

“All those opposed, same sign.”

Don’t do this!  Does this mean that those opposed are saying “aye”?  This situation creates mental confusion and cognitive dissonance.

The correct way to take a voice vote is:

“All those in favor say aye”  [pause] “All those opposed say no.”

We recommend “no” rather than “nay” in order to keep the two responses quite distinct.

Getting the jargon right can help your meetings run better. Don’t say “so moved” and don’t say “same sign.”

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Ann Macfarlane

Ann G. Macfarlane is a Professional Registered Parliamentarian. She offers an interactive and user-friendly way to master the key points for effective, efficient and fair meetings. Her background as a diplomat and Russian translator enables her to connect with elected officials and nonprofit board directors and give them the tools they need for success. She is the author of Mastering Council Meetings: A guidebook for elected officials and local governments.