New around here

Hey all!

I’ll keep this short and sweet: I’m new here. Fresh out of the box, starting to learn shorthand. I’d appreciate any pointers you could give me to help. i.e. common pitfalls, motivating advice, practice tips, etc. I’m planning to teach it to myself, so the more helpful pointers, the better!


(by cerinye for everyone)

11 comments Add yours
  1. Hey! I am also new.
    If you have not already had a look, there is a complete Gregg anniversary on, i believe.. Google gregg shorthand and you should come up with it.

    If you are interested, there are penpals.. Not sure if they are used, but a good idea would be scanning a document and then emailing it… Kind of virtual penpal. If you'd like, its an option.

    Anyway, Hi!

  2. Congratulations. It really is a wonderful hobby, and something that you really get into. I have been learning it for the last 2 months. I started by going to and downloading a few of the books there. The Anniversary Manual, the Fundamental Drills, and 5000 most frequently used words. I use these three books in unison as I work through the manual.   I like the manual, its systematic, logical, has practice examples and lays out the material very nicely. I very much enjoy working from the manual and bit by bit discovering all the tricks and methods in using shorthand. But make sure you take your time to go over all the material, and after each Unit, read through the Fundamental Drills book. This book provides around 5 pages of reading material for each unit and allows you to have a lot of practice for the new rules and brief forms learned. The 5000 words book is good for looking up what the correct outline is for a particular word but you shouldn't need it at the start.   In regards to the various systems, feel free to research, and you probably know by now that the older the system the harder it is. But in fairness 318 brief forms for Anniversary is not that hard. After 2 months I've gone through 2/3 of the book and pretty much know the outlines well. Because they're very visual and shortened forms of the original word, they stay in your memory well.   If you have anything specific about starting the process, ask!    

  3. c-higginson:  Nice to see other new people on here!  How long have you been studying Gregg?  Do you have a tutor or are you teaching yourself?  Penpals sound like a cool idea to practice!  I like letter writing and postcarding anyways, so it'd be a nice way to blend some interests and connect w/ other shorthanders.  😛   MICHAEL_LISITSA:  Thanks for the reply!  How's it gone for you over the last two months?    For anyone:  How vital is it that you draw a photographically exact replica of the outline?  I fret a bit about how similar they may be and how much trouble it will be for me down the line.  Is photographic accuracy a must for shorthand?  It seems like one could never attain such precision, especially w/ the symbols being as similar as they are (e.g. the T/D and the ch/J; the upwards S and the F and the V; the "I" as in Isle and the A w/ a smiley curve above it)  Do these areas give you all trouble?

  4. Photographic isn't required. I've read stuff by the contest winners that's quite far off standard.

    You do have to be able to distinguish between shapes that should be distinct. T/D are more slanted than ch/J. There is no such thing as upwards S, F and V in Gregg.

    A lot of the rules which seem arbitrary actually help here. Even if your M slopes upwards you know it's not D because of how you did the vowels around it.

    Also, the system is made to blend. Quite often, two letters will blend quite nicely into a compound shape.

    But, while starting out it's best to follow the model more closely, until you learn the entire system. My first book didn't mention the existence of TD. I wrote my T and D too long; I had to relearn the entire T-D-TD family.

    This is one of the reasons a quick overview of the entire system is nice. Some of the books have one in the early pages.

    I found that writing quickly helped. My F's twisted backwards, but when I wrote quickly my wrist got involved as well as my fingers, and the shape was much better.

    In the end, what matters is whether you can look at a line and know what it represents. That's why it's very important to reread your own writing before the wrong habits set in.


  5. Okay folks – I think you’re getting too obsessed with making exact duplicates.  Learn the theory, learn the strokes, but they are YOUR strokes.  If you can read them, that’s all that really matters.  If you learn the forms then anyone that can read Gregg shorthand will most likely be able to read yours whether they are scribbles or not.  I used to have to transcribe other secretaries notes if they didn’t have time and they transcribed mine.  You/they may need to read the context of the sentence if a form is not clear, but by reading the sentence, that form becomes known most of the time.    If you have a penpal I will suggest what one of mine suggested to me (since we wrote different versions) â€“ write your note or letter in shorthand but then on a separate page, write the words so that your penpal will start to learn your way of writing and, if it’s a different version, ie. Anni, Simplified, etc. to my DJS, by including the second page they will be about to translate the entire letter and perhaps learn some new forms in the process and vice versa.  In fact, I am still trying to decipher two forms from one of my penpals that writes in Simplified (but doesn’t send that second page) that just hasn’t jumped out at me yet.  (It’s a name of an organization so I may have to ask what the words are.)  But those two words haven’t ruined the entire letter.  Even though I write DJS, I’m still reading her Simplified.  Some of the forms are different but by reading the entire sentence, I can figure out what those forms usually are.  It’s slow go sometimes but hey, just keep plugging away.    So learn your lessons, try to make your forms as close to the ones in the book that you can, but stop worrying about whether it is exactly so high or so long, etc.  As  you practice, your forms will start to become more natural to you and, trust me, over time you won’t even think about whether or not it duplicates the form in the book.  I think others have mentioned that they write large, or they write small – that’s all okay.  As long as you write the form as best you can, everything will fall into place.   I didn’t mean to be a schoolmarm preaching to you (no offense Ms. Letha) but there just seems to be too much worrying going on.  Showing my ignorance here, I didn’t even know there were any other versions/systems of shorthand than DJS until I stumbled upon Andrew’s site.  I had seen writings in shorthand which I now know to be Anni. or Simplified and couldn’t figure out why some of the forms seemed “off” but now I know and it’s okay.   Have a nice day, and keep writing. Joanne

  6. Thanks for your words of wisdom, JoannaK8. Although I learned Simplified in school, I taught myself (and used professionally) Anniversary. I've also discovered despite the extended abbreviations and phrasing, it's not difficult to read pre-Anniversary texts as long as you're somewhat familiar with the subject matter. My copies of Alice in Wonderland and The Sign of the Four are written in pre-Anniversary. Simplified and DJS outlines are fairly easy to read. It's the proportion you're writing that matters, not precise measurements of the letters. Someone else's shorthand gives difficulty if "sloppily" delineated. To learn any version of Gregg, it is important to read your lessons and write all the drills. When I took shorthand as a school subject, the teacher emphasized the language art concept … we not only studied the outlines but also correct syntax and grammar so that we could transcribe our notes accurately. Read and do the drills and exercises and you'll find yourself writing the outlines automatically … although it takes time. If you're learning without a teacher, I would believe the Functional Manuals are your most sound way to study the system. And it's important you actually complete each lesson and are familiar with it before proceeding to the next lesson, as the Manuals are very thoughtfully arraanged with each lesson either reviewing theory or adding to what you have learned. Charles Swem advised using shorthand for personal use, perhaps keeping a journal, as an aid in vocabulary building. Enjoy!

  7. Hi, all …

    I am new, too. In fact, I cannot believe that I only today found this site. I did not know that there were other lovers of shorthand out there. Do they even teach it anymore in high school?

    Forty years ago, when I was in college, I expressed an interest in shorthand to a girl that I knew who was a fantastic shorthand writer (her mother had taught it where my friend went to high school). She obtained an old copy of Gregg Simplified for me (the school had changed over to Jubilee by that time), and I started teaching myself. I have enjoyed writing shorthand ever since.

    Anyway, I am glad to have discovered this place, and I will visit here frequently.

    Best …


  8. Hi Roland, I've been self-teaching myself Simplified since January this year, and was truly excited to find this site round May.  Everyone here is so kind and helpful.   I'm happy to meet another Simplified writer, though I'm only a beginner. I hope you enjoy it here too.   Martha    

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