If you consider yourself to be a person with great knowledge of general culture and politics, the correct use of quorum should not escape you.
The proper way to use quorum in a sentence is defined by the context in which you use it. Most commonly, the word is used in law and politic related topics, to determine when the appropriate amount of people entitled or required to be present to reach a decision has gathered.
However, there is a lot more to know in order to use this word correctly, and to understand it when used in a broader spectrum.
History and Etymology of “Quorum”
The first time this word was used was in the year of 1602, according to Webster’s dictionary. “Quorum”, similar to other terminology used in the legal and political field, has its root in Latin. It originates from the genitive plural of qui, meaning “who” and it means “of whom”.
Initially, it was used in the commissions issued to justices of the peace in England and it referred to the number of justices of peace that had to be present for it to be enough to form a legally sufficient bench.
Nowadays, this use for quorum is rare, but because of this the word has come to mean both “the minimum people required in order to conduct business” and “a select group”, as it is found on Webster’s dictionary.
Current use of the word quorum
When the appropriate minimum amount of people needed has gathered, we can say the quorum has assembled, and is ready to proceed with the meeting or decision-making process. This is true for the state senate, house of representatives and/or parliament in any given country where a quorum is considered a valid gathering of selected individuals for the proceedings set in place.
How is a quorum determined?
In all constitutional and legal proceedings, there is a chairperson. It is usually within the duties of the chairperson to determine if the “quorum” needed to proceed is present, as much as it is to decide the number of people present to constitute such quorum.
In the event of missing the needed amount of people to be constituted, then the members of the assembly currently present can make limited decisions like when to adjourn, when to take a recess, for how long and what actions to take to ensure the needed members are gathered for the next quorum to be assembled.
Other words related to quorum:
- Disappearing quorum
The first one, quorum-busting is a tactic used to prevent the quorum from meeting. It is commonly used in legislative bodies by minority groups when trying to block or prevent the adoption of a measure they do not agree with.
A disappearing quorum is the opposite, is where members of the present quorum, with the ability to proceed and carry out a vote, hold back their vote, withhold their opportunity to speak with the purpose to block the proceedings of a vote being taken or to slow down proceedings.
The last of this list, a plenum, is an antonym of quorum. If we take quorum, and understand it to be the minimum number of members of a deliberative assembly required to proceed, a plenum is a meeting where the full body of the assembly, or a number very close to it is present and prepared to vote.
Which countries currently use quorums?
Since this word and concept has been around for so long, you would think in this day and age not many countries still call upon a “quorum” to be formed for their legislative and constitutional needs, well, here is a list of just how many of them still hold and use quorums:
- United States
- United Kingdom
- Hong Kong
In addition to these, also the United Nations and some provinces in other countries in the world, hold quorums as part of their decision-making process.
Quorum use outside of law and politics
- In Judaism, for certain religious obligations is required to form a quorum
- Quorum sensing has been used as a system of stimulus and response in situations of population density in an area
- A fashion boutique in London founded by Alice Pollock was called QUORUM
- In the DC Comics Universe, quorum referred to a crooked government division tasked with creating a superhuman army
- A steeplechase horse sire from Red Rum an all-time race-winning favorite was referred to as quorum
In the field of medical and life science research, some journals require authors conducting research where meta-analyses and systematic review is used to include a QUORUM flow chart. In this case, the word quorum is an acronym for: Quality of Reporting of Meta-analyses Standards. The purpose of this chart is to increase the transparency of decisions made by the researcher, either when including or excluding certain parts of their study.
How do we properly use quorum in a sentence?
After everything we have read about quorum, you are probably wondering when will I ever use this word and will I use it correctly?
The first element to consider before using “quorum” in your everyday speech is to know that it is a noun. We know that nouns refer to a person, an object, or a place. A noun can be the subject of a sentence, the center of the action or situation described there, or it can be used as an object.
Using Quorum as a subject or an object will depend on the context in which it is used, also if you are using active voice or passive voice when referring to it.
- I witnessed the quorum collude with the opposing party. (Active voice) (Used as subject)
- The opposing party colluded with the quorum. (Passive voice) (Used as subject)
In addition to this, the use of quorum as a noun refers to a group of people, so we can categorize it as a group noun. And technically, it is also a countable noun, but the interesting factor here is that the quantity will depend on the country and context in which quorum is used.
In The House of Senate of the United States, a quorum constitutes 51 senators, but in Australia is one-fifth of the total number of members plus the occupant of the chair. That means if there are 300 members, a quorum would be 30 members including the chair.
In the United Kingdom, the Parliament needs to have 40 members in The Commons plus the speaker for the quorum to be formed.
If the number of members required to form a quorum were to be modified, then a Referendum must be done, explaining the circumstances in which this new minimum amount of representatives was considered valid for the quorum to take place. In simpler terms, the existing Plenum (majority of members) is to gather and take a vote for the adoption of a new law or amendment of the existing law of the quorum minimum amount permitted.
Examples of how to use “quorum” in a sentence:
- The congress decided to postpone the quorum meeting, because some members were not present.
- Are all the members of the quorum present?
- For all purposes of this meeting, a quorum of 2 or more of the members must be present.
- The quorum log could not be created for this session.
- After the quorum met, it was decided that moving forward all future budgets must be approved by the legislative power first.
- The bill was not approved because the majority of the quorum voted no.
- Before a judge can be officiated, a quorum of three senior judges must meet and review the trajectory and experience of the judge applicant.
- The quorum was blocked by the minority party.
- The company’s quorum decided to elect a new board of directors.
- The president of the senate put forward this compromise suggestion with full confidence and was met by the unexpected rejection by the rest of the quorum.
- There being no quorum present, the meeting was adjourned until the morning.
- The majority or the quorum of members of each house is required to do business.
- Can we go ahead and conduct the quorum even though some people are absent?
- How is this quorum conformed?
- The representative assigned a proxy to vote on his behalf on the coming quorum.
- If the quorum doesn’t meet by the end of the day, the bill will not pass.
Decision making is a crucial part of every government, group, or human association. The presence of a quorum makes the process fairer and equitable for everyone involved, where this principle is applied on a large scale like our government or at a local level like private associations we might be a part of.
Now, the next time you are watching the news, reading an article, or engaging in a heated conversation with your friends about international policy and policymaking, you will be in the know and will have a proper background to use and discuss anything quorum related like an expert.
If anyone dares contradict, you can too create a quorum among your friends and come a to a decision as to who is more knowledgeable in this topic, if you or them, now that you have all the information there is to know about the use of quorum, its origins and the most common application in today’s world.