Tactful in Simplified

Does anyone know why “tactful” (and by extension, “tact”) keeps the ending -t in Simplified? This seems to contradict the rule about dropping the final -t. Thanks.

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  1. That is because t-a-k is taken by "take" (pun intended), so they keep the final t in "tact" for legibility. "Take" is such a frequent word that the distinction with "tact" is necessary. "Tactful" is the derivative, so it retains the t.

  2. So is it fair to say that, in contrast, "act" can drop the -t because "ache" is not a frequent word, and the distinction is considered unimportant?

    Does this sort of thing just become absorbed over time? I'm hoping that will be the case as I continue through the FM.

    I also had a question for you, Carlos, about "tedious" and the rules regarding the "ted" stroke, in response to your comment on my post about switching versions. If you have time to respond, I'd appreciate it.

    1. You are correct about "act." "Tedious" is written with the e to distinguish from "deduce."

      These inconsistencies in the application of points are really minor, and for students in the learning phase, it is better to get the big picture about the general rules. Later on you will find the exceptions (unless the exception is so important that it will be pointed out right from the start). Eventually you will know if a certain rule applies to a word because you will have read so much shorthand that you will remember. Further, like I pointed out before, as long as you can read your outlines and transcribe them correctly, it doesn't really matter if you write "tedious" with the e or not. The shorthand police is not going to arrest you … yet, :-).

    2. There may be another reason "tedious" and "deduce" are distinguished: "Tedious" has a long e, while the e in "deduce" is a schwa. It's pretty common in Gregg to write the long vowels, and also pretty common to omit the schwas.

    3. True, but unfortunately that's not always the case and we cannot generalize the trend as a rule. Words like "canteen" and "redeem" and written with the ten and dem blends in Simplified, respectively. The good thing though is that there are so few of these strong vowel words that learning their outlines is not a chore.

      Incidentally, "canteen" is written k-t-e-n in Anniversary. But since the "can" prefix was canned in Simplified (pun intended), they changed the outline to k-a-n-ten blend.

  3. Is it arbitrary to take special measures to distinguish between "tedious" and "deduce," or "take" and "tact," when the system is already overflowing with ambiguity: east, yeast and yesterday are written with the same outline, a-k might mean "I can" or "acknowledge" or "ache" or "act," and so forth?

    I think we just have to accept that a *lot* of arbitrary decisions have been made for us in the design of most Gregg versions. John Robert Gregg, in the September 1936 Gregg Writer (page 9):

    "In the early learning stage, your progress in shorthand will be much more rapid if you do not interrupt your skill-forming period with too many questions. If you keep keenly alert during the course of instruction, each step will be made clear to you as you progress– even those points that are momentarily hazy.

    "When you are tempted impulsively to waste time, just say to yourself: `Yours not to reason why; yours but to do or die.' The instructions in your textbooks are clear if you read them carefully."

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