How to Explain Making Circles Between Strokes?

I use the Anniversary edition. The first lesson in unit 2 — circles between strokes — stumps me. Can anyone explain this concept in seven words or less? No, I’m not being facetious. In my opinion, the explanation in the book is too complicated.

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  1. I'm not sure about the seven words, but how about less than seven sentences? Here are the rules, with a word illustrating the principles.

    1. Circles go inside curves: ray, egg.
    2. Circles are joined clockwise at the beginning/end of straight lines (may, me, am, ate), or between two straight lines in the same direction (deed, data, enemy, mean).
    3. When a circle occurs between two strokes that join in an angle (for example, mt, tl, kk, kg, rr, etc.), the circle goes outside that angle (an angle means a point that causes a change in direction): made, meet, need, nail, make, team.
    4. Between opposite curves (kr, rk, rg, gr, etc.), the circle is placed on the back of the first curve (like the circle belonging to the second curve): rack, lake, leg.
    5. If a straight stroke and a curve join without the angle (rt, lt, rd, ld, tk, tg, etc.), the circle goes inside the curve: rate, tag, read, ticket.
    6. Some vowel sounds are faint (obscure), and for that reason, the vowel is omitted: the e is eliminated from the -er sound in maker (write only the r: m-a-k-r), the -en sound in taken (write only the n, t-a-k-n).

    If you don't understand one of them, just point out the number.

  2. I know these rules seem complicated when you first come across them, but it's really just a matter of being exposed to lots of examples. After awhile they become second nature and obvious and you'll wonder why you struggled in the first place.

  3. I agree with you—the explanations are often tough to follow. I still don't understand a lot of them, even though I now instinctively know how to construct the outlines.

    That came from other sources, most notably the Functional Method. That way, you'll learn proper outline construction through reading and repetition. It's easier to go back and learn the actual rules when you already know how to apply them instinctively.

    You might find this thread interesting and a little humorous: Gregg Shorthand Rules: A Poem. I got schooled in one of the rules, after the fact, in that one myself. 🙂

    One thing about the Anni Manual: There's much to commend it, but it has problems in the way the material was laid out and explained. There was considerable criticism of it at the time, and not just because of the numerous glitches in the first editions.

    The problem was that the overseer of the project, the great Mr. Rupert P. SoRelle, had suffered enormous personal tragedies. Here was a man with a wonderful family—blessed with a loving wife and three boys. Then one boy died of a sudden illness, followed by another. I believe the third committed suicide. All of which was too much for his wife, who passed away not long thereafter.

    Mr. SoRelle remarried, to the WRONG woman. And his health went into decline and his once great mental faculties steadily deteriorated. Dr. Gregg thought that putting him in charge of the Anni Manual project would give him something to divert his attention from his unfortunate situation and bring him back around. Alas, it couldn't. It was too late for him, and the Anni project suffered as a result, all with the very best of intentions.

    Notwithstanding, Gregg students owe a great deal to Mr. SoRelle.

    1. It's interesting that Dr. Gregg wanted a completely new manual not long after the Anniversary edition was published, but kept putting it off. Finally, when he was ready to publish that new version, he died. Talk about fate.

  4. I interpret the comments from Mystic Moon and Gregg student to mean I should follow my lessons first and apply the rule for applying circles between strokes later. Thanks for the instructions, Carlos; I find them too difficult to learn all at once.

    1. Yeah, that's pretty much how it worked for me.

      I think it really ties in to how the brain works. When you get lots of exposure and learn implicitly, you get a general sense of how things are supposed to go. You may not get it 100%, but it gives you a foundation. That's when you turn around and learn the rules. That foundation of instinct then provides the framework to build on and you have those "well, of course that's why it works that way," moments. If you try to learn the rules without anything real to compare them to, you basically end up spinning your wheels.

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