Gregg Shorthand Simplified – Third Edition

As I mentioned before, among the UK versions of the Gregg Simplified manual, a third edition was published by McGraw-Hill in the UK in 1991 authored by Gerard O’Kennedy. The third edition is not merely a manual with new practice material. It is a revision of the system which incorporates elements from DJS and S90. In this post, I present the differences with the regular Simplified manual.

The book’s preface exposes the motivation for the revision of the manual: “The present edition, adapted to
suit Irish and United Kingdom conditions and requirements, retains the
popular innovations introduced in the Simplified Manual and also
incorporates many of the changes in the Gregg Shorthand, Diamond
Jubilee Series and in Gregg Shorthand Series 90.” In the acknowledgment, the author thanked “the staff of both second and third level schools and
colleges for their useful suggestions before and during the preparation
of the book, and in particular I owe a special word of thanks to Mr.
Sean og Sheehey, School of Business Studies, Regional Technical College,
Tralee, County Kerry for the great and continuing interest he took in
the book and the help he gave.”

Below are some of the notable changes from the original Simplified editions.

1. Manual and Lessons
– This is the book cover:

The theory is presented in 38 lessons: seven chapters of six lessons
each (except Chapter 7). There are no review lessons so all lessons are
theory (including the sixth lesson of every chapter).
– The manual has an accompanying workbook as in the regular manuals.

All reading/writing practice is composed of sentences or groups of
sentences. Letters are few and far in between. There are no articles or
short-subject selections.
– The key is included in the back of the book.
– Penmanship is legible but not very artistic. I’m including a small sample here:

2. Writing and Rule Changes

– The o before r and l is not turned to the side, adopting the DJS/S90 standard.
– Pent/Jent blend was eliminated (as in DJS/S90).
– The h dot to represent the wh- sound is eliminated (as in S90). So words like “white” do not need the dot anymore.
– Months of the year: April, June, and July are written in full. November is written n-o-v.
– Geographical name changes. Countries/cities in Europe are written in abbreviated form and some outlines have been modified, such as Scotland
(right s-k-t), Germany (j-e-r), Belgium (b-e-l-j), Belfast (b-e-l-f or
b-l-f-a-right s-t, more than likely a plate writer oversight), Glasgow (g-l-a-left s), Denmark (written in full, without
the dn blend), Copenhagen (h dot omitted), Luxembourg (l-oo hook-x), Netherlands
(r omitted), Norway (o not joined to r), Amsterdam (a-m-left s-t-rd-m), Russia
(written with ia circle), Spain (a circle omitted), Stockholm (right s-t-o hook-k-l-m),
and Banbridge (b-a-n-b).
– Weights and measures: After numbers, meters is abbreviated m-e-t-left s and kilometers as k-right s.
– The rule for omission of t from -kt/-st was eliminated (as in DJS/S90).
– The rule for disjoined st for -ist/-est was eliminated (as in DJS/S90).
– The rule for disjoined r for -er/-or was eliminated (as in DJS/S90).
– The rule for expressing mem with the men blend was eliminated, so it is written m-e-m (as in DJS/S90).
– Ye/ya now expressed by the e and a circles, respectively (as in DJS/S90).

3. Word Beginnings
– Agr-/Aggr-: expressed by a disjoined loop (as in Anniversary).
– After-: eliminated
– Incl-: eliminated
– Post-: eliminated
– Pro-: eliminated
– Ship-: eliminated
– Short-: eliminated
– Supr-: eliminated, but Super- was retained as disjoined right s.
– Although per- is normally written as pr-, per in the word “period” is written in full (probably an oversight/error of the plate writer).

4. Word Endings
– ally: eliminated
– borough: joined b (as in -burg)
– ify: eliminated
– less: eliminated
– pose: eliminated
– position: eliminated
– sume: eliminated
– sumption: eliminated
– sure: sh-oo hook (like Anniversary)
– ville: eliminated

5. Phrases
– Away – disjoined w dash (for example, ran away: r-a-n-disjoined w dash).
– Is is not/It was not – Blend was eliminated, so those phrases are now written as two separate outlines (for example, t-left s n).
– Isn’t/Wasn’t – written without the apostrophe
– Department – disjoined d (as in Anniversary)
– Secretary – joined s-e-k
– Understand/understood/misunder- eliminated

6. Brief forms
– Eliminated: agent,
all, allow, among, automobile, been, belief, believe, big, bill, body, circle,
conclude, conclusion, date, desire, did, else, enable, end, enough, etc., go,
gone, got, he, house, individual, keep, let, letter, like, likewise, long, market,
matter, merchandise, merchant, most, nevertheless, office, otherwise, please, prosecute,
purchase, railroad, remit, remittance, ship, side, stand, then, unable, upon,
use, want, weak, week, wonder, write 
– Added: behind
(b-ai), change (ch-j), circular (left s-e-r-k), committee (k-e-t-e), course
(k-r-left s), employ (m-p-l), executive (e-right s-e-k-v), first (f-e-right s),
friend (f-r blended), gentlemen (j-mn), influence (n-f), industry (nd blend-s),
manufacture (men blend-f), Ms (as must, m-left s), people (p-e-p), perfect
(p-r-f), prepare (p-r-e-p), record (r-k-d), request (r-k-e-right s-t), require
(r-k-ai), responsible (r-left s-p), secretary (left s-e-k-r-e), short (sh-t), small
(right s-m-o hook), sure (sh-oo hook), system (ses blend) 
– Changed: suggest (s-oo hook-g), always (written without the o-hook –
l blend), remember (r-e-m-e-m), satisfy/satisfactory (right s-a-t-i-left s), usual
(e-oo hook-sh), object (o hook-b-k), throughout (under th-r-a-oo hook)

– Moved because of a rule change: how (written without h dot according to rule), why (no h dot
rule), year (ye written as e), yet (ye written as e), represent (it is now a
brief form, not sure why because it is just a derivative), etc (now an
abbreviated word)
7. Abbreviated Words
– Eliminated: -use, -cate
– Added: approximate
(a-p-r-o hook-x), statistics (right s-t-a-t-left s), elaborate (e-l-a-b),
develop (dev blend-l), original (o hook-r-e-j), popular (p-o hook-p), et cetera
(e-t-left s), cooperate (k-o hook-o hook-p)
– Changed: memorandum (m-e-m-o hook) 
– The word family -gate is not mentioned in the text but it is abbreviated in the plates with a g (as in regular Simplified).
– The word families -ology and -ntic are not mentioned in the text, and no examples are presented in the plates either.
8. Compound Words
– Changed: notwithstanding (written with the final d), anybody (e-n-e-b-o-d-e)
– “Everybody” is written abbreviated (e-v-b-o).
These are the major changes that I have picked up from my review. It is interesting that even though this edition came after the Centennial edition was published, there is no reference to Centennial at all in this book.
Is this edition an improvement over the regular Simplified manual? I would like to read your comments.
19 comments Add yours
  1. I ordered a copy too. Just arrived in the mail from Great Britain. In decent shape for a paperback book that's been around for more than 20 years. Interesting to note that it was printed and bound at the University Press, Cambridge. The shorthand penmanship is really pretty crude . . . nothing like the usual Gregg standards. Rough even in comparison to the Centennial texts.

  2. My copy arrived today. I had already started making some notes based on Carlos’ post, so have mostly kept to these.

    Features I like:

    The o before r and l is not turned to the side: I didn’t like this at first when I saw it in DJS, but it’s grown on me; I think it looks more attractive, and when I write quickly, my rs and ls look like they have a sideways o attached to them anyway. Also, Simplified got rid of the sideways oo before r and l so it’s more consistant.

    The h dot to represent the wh- sound is eliminated: I don’t know anybody who pronounces these words hw. This gets rid of a disjoin, so is quicker to write.

    The rule for omission of t from -kt/-st was eliminated; the rule for disjoined st for -ist/-est was eliminated; the rule for disjoined r for -er/-or was eliminated: more disjoining gone; also, Leslie & Zoubek say that little is to be gained by omitting the t, and so put the t back in after p & den in the Simplified Manual, but then they continue to omit it after k and s. Why the inconsistancy?

    Ye/ya now expressed by the e and a circles: there are so few of these anyway; also makes consistant with ‘yet’ and ‘yesterday’.

    Post-: eliminated: easy to write (and another disjoin gone).

    Ship-: eliminated; not very useful today

    Features I dislike:

    Pent/Jent blend was eliminated: why?

    The rule for expressing mem with the men blend was eliminated: why?

    Agr-/Aggr-: expressed by a disjoined loop (as in Anniversary): Dr Gregg didn’t like arbritary symbols, so why did he create this one?

    After-: eliminated: but fortunately restored as a Brief Form. Incl-: eliminated: although Incl- is disjoined, it is very useful and not arbitrary as it Incl- begins with the small circle.

    Pro-: eliminated: why?

    Short-: eliminated: although Short- is disjoined, it is very useful and not arbitrary as Short- begins with Sh.

    Supr-: eliminated, but Super- was retained as disjoined right s: both should have been retained for the same reasons as Incl- and Short-.

    Away – disjoined w dash (for example, ran away: r-a-n-disjoined w dash): no, looks like a disjoined n.

    Is is not/It was not – Blend was eliminated, so those phrases are now written as two separate outlines (for example, t-left s n): why?

    Department – disjoined d (as in Anniversary): no, it looks like –hood/-ward.

    Understand/understood/misunder- eliminated: why would you get rid of this?


    – ally: eliminated; -ify: eliminated; -less: eliminated; -pose: eliminated; -position: eliminated; -sume: eliminated; -sumption: eliminated; -sure: sh-oo hook (like Anniversary)

    Isn't/Wasn't – written without the apostrophe

    Secretary – joined s-e-k

    Brief Forms:

    Most of those eliminated should have been kept (except automobile; do Americans really say automobile?) I like a lot of the new ones (some of which are Anniversary forms) but not ‘behind’ (looks like ‘buy’; the Simplified form is better; I know it originally represented ‘behindhand’, but who even knows what that means?). I also dislike ‘change’ as it looks too much like ‘judge’, and ‘suggest’ (this meant to be a phonetic/phonographic system; whoever came up with this one should be shot).

    Finally: My first thought was that the writing was atrocious, and in places it truly is, but it does show the reader what real, high speed shorthand looks like. Perhaps a better format would have been to write the book Charles Rader style but add a section at the end of each lesson showing ‘real’ shorthand?

    Is this edition an improvement over the regular Simplified manual? Undecided.

    1. The aggr- was assigned a loop because when you write a-g-r in full the a circle takes the form of a loop.

      Department phrases are written with the disjoined d, which is the same principle as -hood/-ward.

      The rules for omission of t/d are one of the things that in Anniversary and in Simplified manuals are not well explained. It is easier to learn those words by analogical endings instead — in doing so, the rule makes sense. One of the reasons why those endings (t/d, -or/-er) were added in DJS is because in DJS all past tenses are joined, and when those words are written with the final t it is easier to make the past tense (-ted, -ded, -red).

      In general, I don't write h dots, unless absolutely necessary, so to me not writing the dot in wh- makes sense. Plus every time you write a dot it slows writing down a bit because it is a pause.

      The pent-/jent- is one of those things in which I disagree with the official reason for its elimination: the blend "occurs so rarely that it is difficult even to find examples for proper teaching." Besides, words look much nicer and written much rapidly without the unnecessary angles and intervening circle vowel.

    2. I assumed that that the aggr- prefix came from the ya- loop which is why I thought it was arbitrary; now I know better!

      I have also noticed that ul- (as in result, consult) is gone, which I think is a mistake.

  3. I borrowed this from my library and I think the shorthand is appalling compared to my other manuals. It is sometimes hard to distinguish between S and P, and other similar strokes. As a begineer, this isn't a good book!

    1. This book could have benefited from an artistic writer, that's for sure! That's one of the reasons I insist on good penmanship and provide those small practice selections every month. That kind of artistic penmanship should be emulated, regardless of the series of shorthand you're writing. Unfortunately, after Dr. Gregg's death, the teaching of good shorthand penmanship was relegated.

    2. If you look at Gregg texts, after Diamond Jubilee, things start to get a little less precise in terms of penmanship. Series 90 isn't bad, in many respects is indistinguishable from DJS, but the outlines presented in Centennial are thick and much less precise than the older Gregg standard.

      This British edition, though, is a complete anomaly. It stands outside the progression of series, and the penmanship is not anything that should be in a shorthand textbook.

    3. It's bizarre, isn't it, that McGraw-Hill took that approach for a series of books that's supposed to teach a writing skill. What in the world were they thinking? If the people producing the texts can't even write the material effectively, why would they think anyone would/could learn to do so?

      A dark day in the history of shorthand when they made that decision.

    4. You'd think cut-and-pasting all those outlines would be far more work (and tedious) than just hiring a shorthand plate writer to write them out. It's too bad, because I love the look and layout of the Centennial books, otherwise.

  4. In fact, the pronunciation /hw/ is not historically correct anyway. People who use it are trying to emulate what they've been told in school is the correct pronunciation of wh. But what they've been told isn't right. The proper pronunciation of wh, when not pronounced as just plain /w/, is a voiceless /w/. The English language has adopted the spelling wh, just as it has adopted th and sh, to stand for a sound that has no single letter of the alphabet assigned to it. In very old text the spelling hw is sometimes used; but this means nothing more than the use of y to stand for the th sounds (as in Ye Olde Country Store). So good riddance to the h in the Gregg spelling!

  5. I have borrowed this book again. Still lamenting at the terribly written shorthand outlines, but I like the fact the text is not just boring business letters, and it is more modern.

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