Pre-debate grammar tip: The candidates are standing behind lecterns, not podiums

By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links

There’s one word that’s likely to be used incorrectly a lot over the next few days — podium.

  • When covering debates or speeches, many stories will refer to candidates standing behind a “podium.”
  • This is incorrect because, by definition, a podium is a raised platform that is used to elevate a person while speaking.
  • So, according to this definition, the “riser” or elevated platform that the lecterns sit would be the podium.
  • Meanwhile, a “lectern” is defined as something that someone stands behind to deliver a speech, debate or other presentation.
  • In short, people stand on a podium. They stand behind a lectern.
  • Further, it’s worth noting the moderators will be sitting on a podium but behind a desk or table.