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authors & audience language & style

Cross-border negotiations — table it

“I bring something to the table!”
This term ‘table’ has been bugging me since moving to Canada. Apparently, here, ‘to table‘ something means to formally propose or offer a topic for discussion. For example, the condo association tabled the discussion on landscaping. After the agenda items were covered they initiated a discussion so residents could gripe about dead shrubbery.
Whoa!
In the US you’d say ‘let’s table it’ to mean postponing any discussion or consideration of a motion or thing.
Knowing this difference is helpful before tabling anything with Americans and Canadians present.

By Pam Drucker

Documentation specialist, procedures writer

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