Gregg Shorthand Rules – a poem


Gregg circles nestle inside curves
   Or hang outside of angles;
They make a right turn on straight lines
   To keep from traffic tangles.

If one should come ’twixt curves reverse,
   Like “lake” or “gale” or “pave,”
Just write it on the first one’s back,
 The word’s identity to save.

To place it on the writing line,
   The shorthand word, I mean,
Be sure the first real consonant
   Right on the line is seen;

Unless an s should come before
   A down stroke as in “spine,”
In such a case, s is above,
   While p rests on the line.

Before n, m, and r and l,
   The o-hook’s on its side,
Unless a down stroke comes before,
   Then it’s not modified.

The oo-hook’s always on its side
   When after n or m;
And also after k(ay) or g(ay)
   When r, l, follow them.

In front of p, b, r, and l,
   And after them also,
The left s goes—it follows, too,
   T, d, n, m and o.

The other s, the right-hand s,
   Is used in other cases;
It’s quite a game to see how well
   Those s’s know their places.

At first of words, or after strokes
   Made down, or k(ay) or g(ay),
The is no angle in oo-s,
   It seems it doesn’t pay.

When s between two consonants
   And circle both are needed,
We have two strokes controlling s,
   And one must go unheeded.

Now, listen carefully to this,
   The way that we decide it,
S goes with one it’s farthest from
   To agree with that one write it.

Use backward (i)th with o, r, l,
   Also in thumb, thump, thunder;
If you will keep this rule in mind
   You’ll never need to blunder.

In every other case, of course,
   We’ll use the clockwise letter;
(I)th stands for ther and also thir,
   Whichever (i)th is better.

You’ll play the game with ease and poise,
   More steadily and faster,
When of these few short, simple rules
   You’ve proved yourself the master.

From Correlated Studies in Stenography, 1932.

Reminiscent of Mr. Rutherford’s “A Song of Light-Line.”  🙂

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7 comments Add yours
  1. I'm glad others enjoyed this!

    There's just one part that I don't get, and I'm sure it's no coincidence. It's these lines here:

    When s between two consonants
    And circle both are needed,
    We have two strokes controlling s,
    And one must go unheeded.

    Now, listen carefully to this,
    The way that we decide it,
    S goes with one it’s farthest from
    To agree with that one write it.

    I still have some difficulties with right-s versus left-s, between two consonants (and even more so after d.) I mean where the preceding consonant would place s in one direction but the succeeding consonant would place it the other way. Which one wins?

    Lately I've been thinking of it in terms of which syllable it belongs to, and that seems to work much of the time.

    I'm probably missing something obvious, but what does this mean: "S goes with one it’s farthest from . . ."

    If anyone could shed some light, I would be most grateful!

    1. Those stanzas refer to paragraph 51 of the Anniversary Manual. There are some specific words that you need to memorize (like "desertion" vs "decision"), but for the most part it follows the rule of the paragraph.

      As to what you're talking about, that's something different altogether. The guide is to think which syllable does the s belong, as there is no specific rule. Any specific words that you have difficulty?

    2. Remarkable! I think I've just grasped para 51 better from the poem than from the paragraph. 🙂

      So the consonant on the other side of the circle vowel is the "one it's farthest from." Seems like it's always the most obvious points that are the most easily overlooked.

      As far as the other question, you've confirmed the direction I've been tending toward (which helps!) and seems to be working. I should have the good sense to write some of these down when I see them.

      The direction of s (and particularly the s-after-d) would have presented a good subject for a more extended study, as the Gregg folks did with prefixes & suffixes and the like. Perhaps that's another one for the always growing projects list.

      Anyway, thanks for the clarification. That was helpful. 🙂

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