Just Beginning Shorthand


I am uploading a sample practice sheet of what I have learned so far with Gregg shorthand. I probably won’t be very fast but this is something I’ve always wanted to learn to be able to do. I have been slowly developing Parkinson’s in my hands so my writing can be bad. But, I’d like to share what I have learned so far and would like to hear any suggestions (good or bad) that I can take to be a better Gregg shorthand writer.

(Original post by zoom2012)

Attachment: Practice Sheet.JPG
70 comments Add yours
  1. This is very good for starting! I see that in general you are keeping proportions well. When you trace the circles, make sure to make the A-circle very big, and the E-circle very small. In that way, it's easier to distinguish. They will become easier to write with practice. Also, are you using Gregg ruled paper? The following post will help you in the proportions and on how to write on lined paper. Also, when you write that right S, F and V, think of commas: the s a small comma, the F a medium one (starting from the middle of the space) and V a big one (starting on the top line). The base the F and V rest on the line. With the S, the consonant following the s will rest on the line. So in the word "save", the V rests on the line (instead of the S), but in the word "vase", it is also the V which rests on the line. Lastly, it looks like you write vertically. There's nothing wrong in writing vertically as long as you're able to keep the proportions and read your notes.

  2. Congratulation for that good practice!
    If you want to improve your shorthand penmanship, correct the slant of the strokes (ex. S, F, V, etc.) and they'll look like "more greggish". Remember that Gregg symbols were taken from the ellipse, not from the circle… it will help a lot.
    Besides that, you have done a great job.

  3. Read lots of shorthand. Be aware that there are several versions of Gregg. They all share the same principles. Some use more brief forms, others spell things out more. Reading really does make a difference. Reading plates from different writers is also useful. You learn the acceptable variations.

    Read ahead in your non-study time. That doesn't mean skip the writing practice! You'll learn how the strokes fit together into a system rather than seeing them in small groups. You'll learn how much you can vary the stroke without causing later problems. (My first text taught T and D, but left TED till later. I wrote T and D too long, leaving nothing left for the even longer TED stroke.)

    Which version are you doing? Some of the early ones have tiny manuals and larger separate study guides. Later ones combine the two.

  4. While the proportions are great (especially with S/F/V), you are writing certain strokes incorrectly. For example, "fame" looks more like "you seem", and the T/D strokes are too high, making "aid" look more like "jar", or "deed" look like "church" (I might slip into Anniversary outlines every now and then, but now I did this on purpose).

    Also, you do have to modify the slant of the entire outline. Because Gregg Shorthand is cursive, it is designed to be on a certain slope. Other than that, I would say you write shorthand quite well.

  5. Thank you all very much for your helpful critiques. I value every one of them. I will try and see if I can "slant" my outlines more. It's things like this that I want to know early on in my study so I can correct them now and not have difficulty later on when things get more advanced. As for writing on Gregg ruled paper, I've tried to do it on a few occasions but I've always been a "big" writer as in I've always written my longhand in large letters. Trying to write on ruled paper will be difficult for me. I'm not sure I will be able to do it.

    I have downloaded so many books and papers on Gregg shorthand. There's a lot of good stuff in them. The only physical book I have is the Gregg Shorthand Manual Simplified (2nd Edition). So far I don't see any exercises to do in the book so that is why I've made my own worksheets so I can practice writing the words I'm learning. I don't think I've learned enough words yet to actually write a real sentence — LOL. But, hopefully I'll get there soon. I am at the lesson that teaches the letter "H", but can anyone tell me if you are to write the "H" (the dot) first and then the rest of the word or is it like longhand where you go back and dot your I's and cross your T's? My book doesn't really say.

    Thank you all again for taking the time to give me your feedback. There is a lot of good stuff on this site and I love that it has a lot of active people on it.

    Have a good night.


  6. Great! Writing on ruled paper is not essential, as long as you keep your proportions. With respect to the h, the dot is written first because that's the first sound you hear. If the h occurs in the middle of the word, then it will he written last, of course.

  7. I too am working through the Shorthand Simplified book (just finished the magical lesson 53; it's all review from here on out.) In the beginning I had a very difficult time figuring out proportions, getting the curves right, and slanting. I worried about developing bad habits but kept pushing on anyway. I was quite happy to discover that some of the later lessons show how to properly form the more troublesome strokes (I can't remember which lessons off the top of my head and I don't have the book handy.) My strokes are not perfect but my outlines have definitely been improving; I feel quite proud of myself when I write something that looks very "Greggish." By comparison, I've always had poor penmanship, so this success in writing properly is a new thrill for me.

    As far as exercises, I went through each lesson 4 times. First to read, second to copy, third to transcribe, and a fourth time to recreate the original shorthand from the transcription. I used "Most Used Shorthand Words And Phases: Classified According To The Lessons In The Gregg Shorthand Manual Simplified" (by John Robert Gregg, Louis A. Leslie, and Charles E. Zoubek) as a secondary text with many more examples that matched up with the lessons in the main book.

    I wouldn't worry about being able to write your own sentences yet. I focused completely on study until I finished the last of the alphabetic strokes in lesson 31. From that point on I have been using shorthand wherever I can: notes at work, shopping lists, short narratives, etc. Lately I've been using it to start a dream journal, which is giving me near-daily practice with the added benefit of extra privacy.

  8. It does look really good for a first effort. The slant is not essential as long as you keep the proportions and can read what you wrote. If you want to increase the slant, though, the simplest way to do it is to slant the top of your paper to the left. : )

    One way to practice sentences in the early lessons is to use shorthand for the words you do know how to write mixed with longhand for the rest. I believe the Simplified manual shows examples of this, but I could have it confused with another version.

  9. Hi Everyone,

    I really am appreciating all the great tips. I will try tomorrow what Nisew wrote about slanting my paper and see if that can help give me a "slant". Unfortunately I didn't get much time this weekend to practice my shorthand as we've been focusing on tropical storm Isaac (I live in Fort Myers, FL). Looks like we're in the clear but it's been a couple of tense days listening to the news. Things should be getting back to normal tomorrow and I will get back to my studies. I am keeping an eye on Amazon for that supplemental book that goes along with the Simplified version that Lunarmagician mentioned. It looks like Amazon has a few used copies. I'm going to see if I can snatch one up.

    I think sometime this week I will feel comfortable with learning and adding the letters "R", "L" and "H" to my exercises. So far I can confidently write 46 words now in shorthand (albeit not fast) but I understand and read everywhere to not focus on speed that that will come naturally with daily practice.

    Again, thanks for all the positive comments. I'm feeling a little bit more confident with learning shorthand. It's been a lot of fun and enjoyment so far.

  10. Hi Everyone,

    We got missed from tropical storm Isaac right at the last minute. We just got a lot of strong wind and a lot of rain. But, I feel terrible for the people in New Orleans (so terrible).

    Anyway, I know it's getting late here but I just had to let everyone know that I did my BEST shorthand practice so far to date. I'm not sure why, either. I was having a real good day and didn't hardly have much shaking in my hands today. I was practicing my "R" words this evening and they all came out almost perfectly just like the examples in the book. I was really proud of myself. I also slanted my paper a little more and I think that has help a little bit with getting more of a "slant".

    Plus, I also read ahead to the end of Chapter 1 and there were about 7 or 8 Reading Practice sentences and even though I haven't actually gotten to learning and practicing "H" and "L" I was able to easily read all the sentences perfectly.

    So between my good writing day and accurately reading the practice sentences, it really gave me a nice boost in confidence with my shorthand learning.

    I know it probably sounds silly to you veterans out there but this was really important and wanted to share it.

    Hope everyone is doing well.

    Good Nite!

  11. Does anyone else find it difficult to write the letter "H" (the dot) when using a ballpoint pen? In order for my pen to make a visible dot I kind of have to draw it (for example I have to slightly move the pen to get the ink to make a dot visible on the paper). Was just wondering if anyone else has that problem. I know some people use fountain pens but I don't own one nor do I think I could write with one.

    Anyway, I am still trying to find a reasonably priced copy of "The Most Used Shorthand Words and Phrases: Classified According to the Lessons In The Gregg Shorthand Manual Simplified" to supplement my learning. eBay doesn't have it, but Amazon does (for almost $30) but Amazon does not accept Paypal (I guess because eBay is their competitor). I also checked my local library over the weekend and they didn't carry a single Gregg Shorthand book.

    I got some good practice time in during my long Labor Day weekend. I hope to practice my "H" words a little bit more (to feel more confident) before moving on to the next lesson.

    Well I hope everyone in this group had a wonderful Labor Day weekend (If you are in the U.S., that is). If I get to it I may upload a new scan of my words to see if there have been any improvements since my last upload.

    Have a good nite everyone.

  12. That's one reason I don't like regular ballpoint pens — sometimes it is hard to get the ink to flow well. Also, the dot is always a problem because it represents a stop, so you don't want to spend much time with it. If I were you, I would try a different pen, say like a gel pen. I have had good luck with the Pilot G2, plus you can get it in extra fine. Go to your favorite office supply store and try different pens. That's the only way you will find something that suits your writing.

    For the Most Used Shorthand Simplified book, don't pay $30 for it. If you want to own a copy, go to abebooks.com: I see it listed there for $5.00 (and frankly, I wouldn't pay any more than that). Another option is to have your library get it by interlibrary loan (ILL). According to worldcat.org, the book is in many libraries around the country. If you cannot get your library to do the loan, let me know.

  13. Thanks McBud for the info on Abebooks. I did see a bunch of those books but none of the sellers accept Paypal. I might have a solution (LOL).

    Right now I am using a Staples brand pen called Sonix (I guess it's their store brand). I like them a lot but they do have a 1.2 mm tip. I know most people who write Gregg probably use fine-tipped pens but I find that the thicker tip pens are easier for me to write – especially when my hands have bad days. Maybe there are GEL pens that come in a 1.2 mm tip? I'll have to take a look around.

    Well I have officially "graduated" from Chapter 1 in my Gregg Shorthand manual (Yay me)!!! I am now off to learning the backwards "S (Z)" and "P & B". I like how this is becoming easier. Definitely practicing every single day is the key!

  14. As long as you keep proportions, the size of the nib is not important. Be aware that the finer the nib, the higher the risk the pen will scratch on the paper. That's why one needs to test the pens until you find something that works for your style of writing. The finer nibs look nicer to me, but that's just my preference.

  15. As I was practicing my new words today I noticed something that I could not figure out. Why is it that the circle for the letter "A" in the word Name is written down while the smaller circle for the letter "E" in the word Near is written up? I can understand why the letter "E" is written up in the word Near because it flows better with the following "R" but was curious why the "A" wouldn't be written up as well as to keep everything uniform.

  16. Congratulations on your progress.

    Learning how to properly join is definitely part of the curriculum. There are specific rules for much of it, although after a bit the rules start to make sense and it becomes almost second nature. I do still have difficulty with some that could go either way, but I seem to be getting better the more examples I see.

    For instance, if a left-s is used after an r and a right-s is used before an n, how do I know to use the right-s for reason (r s n)? I have it down now, and I am becoming familiar enough with variations that I tend to get it right with others when I do what "feels" right. I figure that as time goes on and I get better, that it will all just make sense and I'll wonder why I ever struggled with it.

  17. Joining is one of the biggest reasons to stick with words you've already seen in the text, until you've finished (and reviewed) all the theory. If you really want to write words not in the text, get a Most Common Words book or dictionary for the version you use. Even that's dangerous, though, since you might miss subtle things that are important. The dictionary is more of a reminder than a lesson.

    If you join differently, you get a different word. Usually, the "normal" join is the spelled-out word and the "unusual" join is the brief form.

    The choice of "normal" direction sometimes seems arbitrary, and even awkward. Most of it fits into place in later chapters. The rest (like loop direction) are carry-overs from Anni, where changing the loop direction adds an R (usually).

    Sometimes changing a join turns it into an entire suffix or prefix.

    The more you practice (reading and writing), the more you'll internalize the common outlines and and patterns.

    The goal is you hear a word, then write the entire outline. No thinking. No sounding-out. No individual letters. No rules to go through. Just hear and write. It's a strange feeling. Concentrating too much on the rules makes it harder to skip that step.

    It reminds me of my kids learning to read. They didn't think they were allowed to just say the word rather than sound it out!

  18. The really weird, and unexpected, part for me with learning to sound out shorthand was the realization that I have no memory of learning to read. I just always remember being able to recognize words.

  19. I jumped ahead and referenced the paragraphs you mentioned. It makes sense to me now. Thanks for pointing that out.

    I'm working on the letter "B" for a couple of days. You know, I know I'm still a real beginner, but I must say as I slowly progress through each sub-section of my manual it is becoming easier and starting to feel more natural even for the first time writing the words of the new letters. This is a great confidence builder for me 🙂

    Anyway, I received an email earlier today from AbeBooks that said my book "The Most Used Words And Phrases: Classified According To The Lessons In The Gregg Shorthand Manual Simplified" has shipped. I'm hoping it arrives sometime this week. Everywhere I read everyone says this is an extremely valuable resource to supplement the lessons I'm learning in my Simplified manual. I am hoping there will be more reading exercises for me to do. At this point I've only had one reading lesson which was at the very end of Chapter 1.

    Everyone, have a good night and hope everyone has a great Monday tomorrow.


  20. The Most Used Words and Phrases book is full of word lists. There aren't any reading exercises like in the manual, but there are lots and lots of words and phrases broken down into the same categories as the sections in the manual. It is a great way to expand your vocabulary (I believe there's something like 3,600 words and 1,700 phrases, all told.) I had a difficult time before I started using that book because the few examples in each section of the manual just weren't enough for me to "get it."

  21. I agree, there are only 12 words for each section (for example: the letter B). So getting exposure to more vocabulary while staying within the constrains of what I've already learned in the manual will be a really big help.

    I was hoping that there would be some reading exercises to do. Oh well. I haven't run across any Simplified-version reading material for beginners. Most everything I see is for Anniversary (which I figure is because it seems to be the most well-known version of Gregg). If anybody out there knows of where I can find beginning reading material I would greatly appreciate it if it could be posted somewhere on this great site.

  22. This is where having multiple versions of the manuals comes in handy, which is why I got them (more reading exercises for the same grade).

    As you have found, there is, in general, not a lot of reading material available for Simplified, and what there is is generally covered by copyright so it can’t be publicly distributed like the early Anniversary novels.

    There is a fair bit of Simplified material in the old “Today’s Secretary” magazines, and I’ve scanned and posted some occasionally—look for the tag “simplified” ( http://greggshorthand.multiply.com/tag/simplified ).

    However, very little of it is graded (at most one piece per issue), and those that are graded are generally for “chapters 1 through 8” or “chapters 1 through 6”, etc., so they require you to have worked through at least 48 (36, etc.) lessons. I haven’t come across anything for just chapter 1 or just chapters 1 and 2 there, yet.

    I have a number of other “Today’s Secretary” magazines which I haven’t got around to scanning and posting yet. Though again, most of the texts assume you know all the theory already; they’re not graded.

    There’s a book “Graded Drills in Gregg Shorthand Simplified” by A. E. Klein which you could try to get hold of, though most of it is for dictation practice (you have to write shorthand for a given English text). The transcription practice (which you could use for reading practice) is only for each chapter (so, every six lessons), after which there are a few transcription exercises.

    But the hands-down best way IMO to get graded reading material by chapter is simply to have multiple versions of the manual; I have 7. (For colleges 1st+2nd ed, regular manual 1st+2nd ed, functional manual 1st+2nd end, and a UK edition of the 1st ed regular manual.) Some of the material is identical between manuals or between editions of the same manual but there’s always something new.

  23. I think it’s a combination of the fact that shorthand was more popular in general back then (so there was a market for books written in shorthand, etc.) and the fact that a fair bit of the material is old enough to be out of copyright.

    Perhaps more the former than the latter, though; shorthand was more or less relegated to business dictation later and not enough people were interested in it that it was economically worthwhile to produce much material in shorthand other than the manuals.

  24. Oh lucky you Philipnewton. I will keep an eye out for that book, too. Sounds like something that may be helpful to my study of Simplified. Can you respond with the ISBN number and any other additional book/author information? I would like to set up a "Want List" on AbeBooks.

    On another note I spent a good 1 1/2 hours today working on my B's. It's late (after 11:00 PM my time) and forgot to look what is in the next lesson. I may try to bring my manual into work tomorrow if I get some quite time to read and make a new worksheet – LOL

  25. According to the ABEbooks information the seller provided, it’s by Louis Leslie. I’m not sure whether ISBNs were common in that day.

    I’m in Germany, so it’ll take the book a while to reach me, but when it does (and if I remember), I can update the post with more information.

    The title alone should be fairly distinctive, though, and I daresay it’d be sufficient for a Watch.

  26. This is the Worldcat entry for the second edition workbook. There are two editions of the workbook (corresponding to each edition of the Simplified manual), however they are virtually identical, and since the lessons in the first and second editions of the Simplified manual are the same, you can use either workbook.

  27. Hi everyone… It's me again with another question. 🙂

    This evening I was browsing ahead a few pages in my Simplified manual and came across something that is totally confusing and baffling me. I've felt I've been doing pretty good so far in teaching myself shorthand and I hope this won't be a stumbling block for me.

    Anyway, I was reading over page 17 (section 16) of my manual (the section that explains the long "I" as in the word Smile). As I was looking over these forms I just don't understand how they are to be properly written. The "I" almost appears as if it's dis-joined but I'm pretty sure that isn't the case. I Googled everything I could to try and find a VISUAL example of how to write "I" in a word but I came up empty handed.

    I was wondering if anyone out there would be so kind as to maybe writing these new words (Mile, Sign, My, Price, Fine, Try, Life, File, High) but with arrows alongside showing how the pen should move in order to properly write these words?

    I completely understand if it's a lot of work to write and draw arrows and then scan/upload. But anything that anyone can do to help explain and guide me I would be most grateful.

    Thanks so much everyone for all the help you've given me.


  28. Hi Lunar,

    Thank you very much for pointing me to that section of my manual. I think I now understand how "I" is written in a word. Allow myself to try and explain it back to you to see if I understand it: You are basically writing the word just like you would if you were writing an "A" in a word but instead of making a perfect circle, you're making that little line inside that circle and then joining the next stroke off that little "tail" that is made inside the circle. Am I explaining it right? Is that what they're trying to show me on page 193? If so then I think I understand and that will make me relieved. I feel very lucky so far that I haven't hit any major brick walls yet in my study of Gregg. I just wonder why they waited until page 193 to explain it instead of showing me that in the very beginning when "I" is first introduced? (LOL).

  29. Correct. That's what they mean by a broken circle: "a circle that has an indentation, resembling a combination of a and e, which if uttered in rapid succession, yield a sound almost equivalent to i" (paragraph 112 of the anniversary manual).

    The key word here is "resembles." It is not actually a combination of large and small circles. There is a stroke in shorthand that you will later learn that indeed is a small circle inscribed inside a large one, used for words like "lion" that contain the diphthong i and an additional vowel.

    One of the reasons for telling you about the penmanship of the broken circle later may be because the stroke used to be introduced much later in the study of shorthand. Plus, Dr. Gregg's advice was not to dwell on theory too much in the first lessons because students could be confused by theoretical explanations. But I see that by bringing it up front in Simplified, the question could have been asked by a student, and in the end, the forgot to tell you the reasoning for that stroke.

  30. Ok, quick question before bed: Is the section in the manual that starts teaching the Sh and Ch strokes is where it starts getting a little hard? For some reason I seem to be having a little bit of a hard time. I know keeping proportion is key and it's something that I constantly work on, but for some reason writing words that start with Sh-a, Ch-a and now also words ending with P are starting to frustrate me because I can't seem to keep my proportions right. It is hard to write the small slanting Sh stroke (or Ch stroke for that matter) and then make the right proportion for the following letter A (ie. Shade). They seem to always turn out to look like an E instead of an A. Is this a common struggle/issue for beginner shorthanders? And, I don't know — now even my words ending with P seem to not look right to me. It looks like my tail ends of my P's are starting to look like the small hook like in the stroke for the letter O.

    I so don't want to get frustrated with learning these new stroke combinations. I am SO completely open to words of encouragement right about now. :-

    Anyway on the other hand my book, "The Most Used Words And Phrases: Classified According To The Lessons In The Gregg Shorthand Manual Simplified" arrived today in the mail. I paged through it real quick and it looks like it's going to be a great addition to go along with my Simplified Manual.

    Well I can't keep my eyes open any longer. Work comes early in the AM for me – LOL.

    (by zoom1012 for group greggshorthand)

    1. Vertical letters are easy (in theory — my hand disagrees). Each has three lengths. The book recommends that the tallest is the entire line. The middle is 1/2. The shortest is 1/4. I find 1/3, 2/3 and 1 works reasonably well, but live in fear of discovering a problem in a later chapter.

      Horizontal letters get roughly the same size and ratio. U is as short as you can still recognize it. R is 2x that. L is 4x. Using graph paper to give horizontal spacing didn't feel natural. I suspect horizontal lines should be longer than the vertical lines. It did show me several places I needed to work on.

      IIRC, A loops should be 1/2 the line spacing and E loops should be 1/4 or smaller. There's a diagram somewhere. Since there's no middle loop, you can go as large as fits with the letter and as small as you can still see it. My Es are always too large and it's hard to read.

      Those proportions are different for the R/L/C/G blends. Some of the manuals have enlarged samples which highlight the important parts.

      (by Cricket for group greggshorthand)

  31. (by zoom1012 for group greggshorthand)

    McBud or anyone else, are there any examples of your shorthand writing posted anywhere on the site? I would be curious to see what other people's writing looks like (because, I mean, the plates used in the manuals are so perfectly written – LOL). I know I'm probably writing all my shorthand way too big, but I've always been a big writer all my life (as in size of my writing).

    1. (by Cricket for group greggshorthand)

      Size doesn't matter (much). Proportion does.

      Some writers like small, so the pen travels less and they turn pages less often. Others find that very cramped.

      Some writers like big, so they can use larger muscles and not have to worry about subtle differences between tiny shapes. Others find that hard on the shoulder and too much page turning. One famous writer had custom, larger pads made. (Actually, many reporters had custom pads made — at their speeds, the right pen, nib, ink and paper made a difference. Then we have the speed-winner who broke his fingers the day before and jammed the pen through a potato so he could hold it.)

      Check http://gregg.angelfishy.net/dupraw.shtml
      (There are many good articles and examples on that site. The samples from other versions will still give you a good idea of different styles, even if you can't read them.)

  32. (by zoom1012 for group greggshorthand)

    Wow, McBud, your shorthand is absolutely beautiful. They look just like the plates used in the manuals. They really do!!! 🙂

    Thanks Cricket for the good description with regards to writing small or big. I guess I fall under the category with regards to the subtle differences in some of the shapes that I've learned so far. That does make a lot of sense.

    I am excited to move on to the long I this weekend. I did more practicing last night and today at work (it was a slow day) of Sh, Ch and J and think I'm writing them better.

    Oh BTW, before I forget… Is or has there ever been a dictionary published for Simplified? The only dictionary I've been able to find on the internet is for Anniversary. While I'm sure a lot of it is probably the same for both versions of Gregg, I was just curious.

    Hope everyone has a nice weekend. I need to make my Google account, too, so I can be transferred to the new site.

    1. Thanks! It takes practice. I think I may have some old writings of my own so if I find them I'll post so that you can compare.

      There is a Simplified dictionary, absolutely! It is relatively common and you can get it on eBay. You can find it under "Word List of Gregg Shorthand Simplified" (the 1948 edition) or under "Gregg Shorthand Dictionary Simplified" (the 1952 edition). Both editions are identical; they just decided to rename the later edition.

    2. (by philipnewton for group greggshorthand)

      zoom1012 said: "While I'm sure a lot of it is probably the same for both versions of Gregg"

      I think that a Simplified dictionary would have a lot more in common with a Diamond Jubilee or a Series 90 one than with an Anniversary one!

      At least, that’s the impression I got—that the simplifications (words getting longer) from Anni to Simplified were quite a bit more extensive than in subsequent revisions. (Not least because of the abbreviating principle.)

      Or to turn it around, someone who learned S90 could probably read Simplified more easily than someone who learned Simplified could read Anniversary.

  33. (by zoom1012 for group greggshorthand)

    I would definitely love to see your early shorthand writing. I think it would be interesting to see how your penmanship changed over the years. I know you have a lot to do with getting the new site up and running so don't worry if you can't get to it.

    On another note, WOW, the diphthong I is really A LOT harder than I thought it was going to be. I made me a practice sheet (like I do for all my new lessons) and started practicing with the words in the manual and didn't realize that it's a little more difficult than I imagined. Especially for some reason the word Price just doesn't want to flow right for me. All these words don't seem to flow right. Does anyone have any pointers?

  34. (by Cricket for group greggshorthand)

    Anni uses the reversed-R technique, which they dropped for Simplified. Therefore, don't use an Anni as your main dictionary. They dropped other features, too.

    Sometimes, though, the Anni version works with Simplified, but they felt it wasn't spelled out enough for Simplified. Anni encourages shortening in earlier lessons. I sometimes look up long or awkward words in Anni. If I can read it, then I might use it.

  35. (by Cricket for group greggshorthand)

    For difficult outlines, make a photocopy and trace it. Over and over. Slowly at first.

    My son's occupational therapist had him do letters large on a blackboard (shoulder movement) then 6" high with his finger (elbow) then finally with a pen in fingers.

    Overlearn. Repeat even after you know it.

    Test with eyes closed. Does your hand know the outline?

    For penmanship, never go faster than you can stay tidy, especially at the end of a session. This applies to sports and music as well. Your body remembers the last pass best. It's easier to do accuracy first, then build speed than to get speed then go back and correct accuracy.

    After a long session, take a day off. Give your mind and body a chance to consolidate the skill. My voice teacher's students clean up at the festivals and exams. She works with them very hard two days before, then tells them to take a day off. That's a balance — with no festival or exam, the day off might lead to more days off.

  36. (by zoom1012 for group greggshorthand)

    Hi Cricket – That's interesting that you said that about the reverse-s (I never gave it a thought). See, to me writing the ending S as a reverse S would flow more smoothly instead of making the pen stop abruptly to make the regular S. I will probably spend a bit more time on this last section of the lesson so I have it ingrained in my head until it feels right to write 🙂

    What system do you write in? Are you Anni or Simplified? Are you still learning?

    Even though I'm a beginner I have learned so much from everybody here (even if it's just chatting about general shorthand stuff). I have actually referred 3 people to check out this website from my UniversalClass that I now regret signing up for – LOL. Oh well, at least I use the images on there to make my practice worksheets 😀 I take them to work and I practice during my downtime.

    1. What cricket is referring to is a specific rule in Anniversary about the omission of r. Don't worry about it. Her point was that the Anniversary dictionary would be very different from the Simplified dictionary, because some words will look very different.

      About the s, on Lesson 18 they will tell you how to decide which s to use. For the time being, just study the examples from the book and perhaps you will get the general idea of which one should be used in a word.

  37. (by Cricket for group greggshorthand)

    Not reverse-S, reverse-R . The S rules don't change between systems. What McBud said is correct. As far as I know, the rules for S direction are the same in both versions.

    I'm studying Simplified, but read half the Anni book, and actually finished DJS ages ago. I used to switch systems whenever I reached a tough bit. I don't recommend that method.

  38. (by zoom1012 for group greggshorthand)

    Oh, my apologies. I completely misread what you originally said Cricket 🙂 I guess my head was still focused on wanting to get the word Price down pat. I did some more practicing today, however my hands were having a not so good day (I got a little bit frustrated).

    I just took a look just now in my Most Used Shorthand Phrases book and looked up the word Price in the index. They had the word Prices (plural) listed so I looked that up and low and behold the plural version of that word looks like it's using the reverse S.

    Hypothetically speaking: when writing the singular version of Price, how much of a difference does it make if the little stroke inside the circle of "I" is not hardly visible (if at all)? Does it change the word? Since I don't know all the strokes and rules yet… down the road I am wondering if it makes a completely different word?

    1. For the word "prices", the ending -ces is expressed by something called the "ses" stroke, which looks like a longhand s. You will learn this later.

      If you don't indent the large circle, instead of "price" it would read "praise."

  39. (by zoom1012 for group greggshorthand)

    Thanks McBud for the info about this "ses" stroke.

    I worked a good bit again today with my long I words. I'm trying my best to not get hung up by this one little word "price". I'm just writing it over and over and over again. I'm going to get it right, I swear. Has anyone else in this group ever had a word(s) that have just given them fits? — LOL.

    Well tomorrow is another day 🙂 And another day equals more practice!

    Thanks everybody!!!

  40. (by lunarmagician for group greggshorthand)

    I have difficulty with my l's and r's. My natural tendency is to make the belly in the middle rather than on the left side. If I concentrate I can write them correctly, it just doesn't come naturally to me.

    My own style of learning is to just keep pressing forward and not get caught up in the things that don't come easy. I know that my penmanship could be better, but I also know that I wouldn't be using it on a daily basis by now if I hadn't just plowed through. We all have our own styles and goals, though; this is just my own.

  41. (by Cricket for group greggshorthand)

    I remember having problems with "drive". I wrote many lines of it before deciding enough was enough. A year later, I wrote it and then hesitated. Did I really just write it smoothly without thinking?

    If it's just one word, don't sweat it. That's not to say ignore it. Give it some good work, then move on. When it comes up again, give it another few good sessions. You'll naturally get more practice with common words than uncommon ones, once you learn the entire alphabet.

    In music you learn a variety of songs rather than spend all year on the three for your exam. It's the same with shorthand. The muscles and nerves and habits and such you develop with other words will help with the rough one.

    As for the belly in the wrong place, this bit's counter-intuitive. Write faster! Really swing your hand around. Race into the letter and zip through the take-off stroke. Aim for fluidity, not accuracy. Write larger if you need to. Writing slowly encourages drawing and thinking about each bit of each letter. Writing quickly encourages a natural, easy flow. Gregg was designed for speed, not careful drawing. The shapes work best at speed.

    After a bit of that, slow down again and see the difference. You'll probably hold your pen slightly differently and shapes will flow differently. Most of your penmanship work should be as fast as you can and still be accurate. Not all of it, though. Spend time on both sides of that speed.

    Look at Pitman samples. The plates could be done by a machine! Advanced teachers hate that. Students think their work should look like it was done with a ruler, and can't develop speed. Then go to Andrews site, http://www.gregg.angelfishy.net and see samples by champion writers. It's looks like it's written quickly, but it's still legible. That's not to say you should ignore all the fine points just yet. You don't know which will be important. Eventually, though, you will.

  42. (by zoom1012 for group greggshorthand)

    That's some great advice Cricket. I've decided that today was the last day working on the I words for now. I'm now moving on to Lesson 3 with some more A words and a few with the new -ing ending. Plus I have all the extra words in the Most Used Words book, too. I really like having that book for the extra stuff to practice. Can't believe that I'm already on Lesson 3… Woo-Hoo 🙂

  43. (by zoom1012 for group greggshorthand)

    Hi Everyone — I have a quick question. If anyone has the Simplified manual near by, does anyone know why the word "Calm" on page 19 is written without an "L"? It looks like it's spelled c-a-m. As far as I know I haven't been taught any type of abbreviation rules so far.

    Thanks everybody. Have a good nite (yay tomorrow's Friday) 🙂

    1. Phonetically, according to Merrian-Webster, the preferred pronunciation of "calm" is ˈkäm. So the "l" is dropped from the outline. It only happens with the combination -alm-, as in "almond", "palm", "calm", "salmon", "psalm", "alms', "balm", etc. None of those words have an "l" after the "a."

      The combination -elm is written in full, as well as -ark-.

    2. (by zoom1012 for group greggshorthand)

      I guess that makes sense. When I pronounce it out loud I guess you really don't pronounce the "L" (Unless you're purposefully enunciating the word for whatever reason).

      Only had a little bit of free time at work today (it was busy) but I did work a little bit on the beginning of Lesson 3. So far the outlines have been easy to practice. Maybe in a week I may revisit the long "I" words briefly to see if they come a bit easier.

  44. Just finishing up the lesson on "obscure vowels". Next I believe is the Over and Under "Th". I'm getting really close to starting Chapter 3 which I am proud of. 🙂 I think I'm getting better and better. I mean, when a new word is presented it doesn't seem as "foreign" to me as it was back in the very beginning (which I think is really cool). And if I flip the manual randomly towards the back I am able to actually pick out words that I can read. Even words I haven't "officially" learned I can figure them out just by sounding them.


  45. Hi Everyone,

    Today I started practicing my over and under "th" sounds. I thought at first it was going to be quite easy, but as I'm practicing the words that are given to me in the Simplified Manual I'm finding it difficult in distinguishing between the over "th" with the "k" sound and likewise, the under "th" with the "r" sound. Is this something easily mistaken? Any words of advice from you experienced simplified shorthand writers?

    Also, on another quick note before bed, would there be anyone out there who (if I were to send them to personally) would be able to look at some individual words that I've written to see if they are easily read or if I'm way off on some of my strokes (my handwriting isn't the best mind you). I think that it would be a little helpful to me.

    Anyway I hope everyone had a great Monday — Take care.


    1. The k starts and ends on the line, while the over th starts up and bends to the right, above the line. For the under th, start writing to the right, on the line and finish it vertical; the stroke will naturally curve. The height of that stroke shouldn't be more than 1/3 of the space between the lines.

      You can post your handwriting here or you can send it to me. Just start a new post with a scan of your images.

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