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I want to say that if a meeting drags on, the chair will VERB a break, but I don't know what verb to use. The only verb I can think of is "announce", and it gets quite a few hits, but mostly in other contexts (e.g., "they have announced a break in filming"), so I'm not sure this is the most idiomatic choice?

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    If they're following Rob's rules, they may "move to break" or "move to take a recess".
    – Wyck
    Commented Aug 8, 2022 at 3:32
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    For what it's worth, my town regularly has meetings involving hundreds of participants that often go on for hours, and sometimes the meeting chair (actually her official title is Moderator) will say something like, "We've been meeting for ___ hours now, let's all take a few minutes to stretch before we go on to the next article." And a few minutes later she might say, "OK, I think we're ready to proceed." I believe the meeting is still considered to be in session during that time, however. We just don't get any business done then.
    – David K
    Commented Aug 8, 2022 at 23:00
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    How about: "file a motion to", "raise a point of order to", etc. :-)
    – user541686
    Commented Aug 9, 2022 at 8:19
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    @Helen: Sorry, I was joking. Please don't use those phrases, they're not meant for this situation.
    – user541686
    Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 20:55
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    @user541686 Haha, that's a relief! :))
    – Helen
    Commented Aug 10, 2022 at 21:27

2 Answers 2

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It depends on what the process is. If the group must agree to the break, perhaps by a vote, one might say that the chair calls for, or proposes, or suggests a break. If the chair makes the final decision, one might say that the chair announces, or declares, or decrees a break. Other terms might also be used. All of the ones I have mentioned would be understood by any fluent speakers, I think.

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    I've a lot of experience with ParliPro in US English. Theses are excellent and would probably be well understood. I place a high (possibly excessive) value on precision of language, so I would do the following: In all cases, I would start with why, e.g. "I believe out members could use a chance to stretch/bathroom/etc. and therefore..." If recess require a motion: "The chair calls for a motion to recess." If the chair may propose a a recess, but needs a vote: "The chair calls for a vote to recess until (time)." If the chair may simply decide: "The declares a recess until (time)." Commented Aug 8, 2022 at 17:35
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I immediately assumed you meant adjourn, which means "decide/announce that the meeting will break".

It's usually used of a break until a different day, but it can also be used for a short break, to reconvene immediately after.

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    The formal term for a short break in parliamentary procedure is "recess" which can be either a noun or a verb, But neither "adjourn" nor "recess" is suited to be the verb in "the chair will {VERB} a break" in my view. ("Adjourn" is a verb, the noun is "adjournment.") Etymologically "adjourn" implies "to be done for the day", the "jour" is cognate with "journal" and other words meaning daily or day, , including the french *aujourd'hui -- today. Commented Aug 7, 2022 at 19:07
  • I agree that neither of those will fit that frame. But I would expect either the chair will adjourn the meeting or the chair will propose an adjournment. And the etymology is irrelevent to the meaning.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Aug 7, 2022 at 21:30
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    Those are indeed quite possible, but I was repeating the frame the OP asked about. Etymology does not control or determine meaning, but IMO it often illuminates meaning. And if an organization uses formal procedure, it will make a distinction between recess and adjourn (I am perhaps over-influenced by having had to read through Jefferson's Manual on the US Senate web site to try to answer a question over on Law.se. law.stackexchange.com/questions/82693/…) Commented Aug 7, 2022 at 21:42
  • Etymology may illuminate meaning, but not reliably. All too often, some people wrongly insist that it does in particular cases. I had forgotten about the American love for formal procedure. When I used to go to the World Science Fiction Convention, and attended the business meeting, somebody once asked me what was our equivalent of Robert's Rules. To which the answer was, I haven't the slightest idea. I there is one, it is not a household name.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Aug 7, 2022 at 22:12
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    The relevance of this answer, I think, is that if you want to say idiomatically that a formal meeting (with a chair) is to be paused and resumed later, you would likely use words like "adjourn" and "recess" rather than "break". If you want to use "break" then you've opted for informal language, and you can use an informal verb, e.g., "The chair said the committee could take a short break."
    – David K
    Commented Aug 8, 2022 at 3:09

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