How do you write….?

I’ve been googling whether there was a “how do you write…?” thread, and there doesn’t seem to be one, so I decided to start one. Apologies if there already is one that didn’t appear on my searches.

There have been a few words that I have been trying to work out what is the “proper” way to write the outline:

“psychosomatic” – sikosom (using the abbreviating principle) ?

”throwaway” – thro(underline)a (I’m not sure if it should be thro(dot)ua)? In fact I’m really not sure how to write any of the -away words.

I use the Gregg 1916 manual.




10 comments Add yours
      1. Not according to theory, because you have a word with a suffix that can be modified with derivatives. (For example, how would you write psychosomatically? ) That's one of the reasons the disjoined ending is used.

        However, you can always write it anyway you want, as long as you can transcribe it.

        1. Hmm.. reading through the Gregg manuals I thought that the abbreviating principle disregards  whether there are any further derivatives:


          1888 – Drop the terminations of words, i.e., write so much of the outline as will, with the aid of the subject matter and vocalized context , suggest the whole word, as "unan" for "unanimously," "diplom" for "diplomacy."

          This appears to disregard the fact diplomat could represent diploma, diplomat, diplomatic, diplomatically, diplomacies

          1916 – Many long words may be abbreviated by dropping the terminations. It would be a waste of time and effort to write more of a word than is necessary to suggest it when transcribing. This principle is already familiar in longhand, as Rev. for Reverend, ans. for answer, Jan. for January, Phila. forPhiladelphia, etc.

          The extent to which the principle may be applied depends upon the familiarity of the writer with the words and subject matter. Every writer can apply it easily and naturally to familiar words, and adapt it to the special requirements of the line ofworkin which he may be engaged.

          Seems rather vague

          Gregg shorthand dictionary 1916 – Almost all -atic entries use the disjointed ending. Exception to this is “democratic” dmk

          So really, the abbreviating principle should be “drop the terminations of words, if there are no further derivatives”?  Or maybe “drop terminations, as long as there are no joined or disjointed endings”?

          1. Think of analogical endings (whether disjoined or not) as applications of the abbreviating principle — you're still writing what is sufficient to reconstruct the word. It is just that in the case of "psychosomatic", if you stop at the "m" instead of the disjoined "a", you're stopping too soon according to theory. That's all. The advantage of using the analogical ending is that you can easily modify it for derivatives — that’s what I meant in my previous post. Anyway, as I pointed out, you can write the word anyway you want, as long as you can transcribe it.

  1. "Anyway, as I pointed out, you can write the word anyway you want, as long as you can transcribe it."

    Yes, Carlos! Now this might seem weird, but in my professional notes I use r-e-k for "computable" and r-e for "computably enumerable". There's a rationale, of course. In my field of study, these terms used to be "recursive" and "recursively enumerable", with a standard abbreviation of r.e. for "recursively enumerable". In the 1980s there was a shift in the terminology, but I've kept writing the abbreviations I started with before that happened. It causes no problem for me to transcribe these short forms, but it would probably seriously confuse anyone except a rather elderly person in my field.

    1. Your example reminded me of "hundredweight" in Anni, which is expressed as subscript n-u. (But then how many of us have ever used that word?)  🙂

      Dr. Gregg's assertion that "the correct outline is the the one you can correctly transcribe" was offered in a very general context, but I think his point has particular relevance to actual writing.

      Obviously, when you're engaged in rapid writing there's simply no time to stop and look things up. The point is that one should be adequately familiar with the principles of outline construction to come up with an acceptable outline on the fly–don't allow the scourge of hesitation to creep in!

      Dr. Gregg also said that if you're unsure the outline you've written is technically correct, "put a ring around it" and check it later. I follow this advice for three reasons:

      1. There may be a more compact way to form the outline.

      2. There may be rules that should have taken priority over the rule(s) I relied on at the time.

      3. There may be additional reasons why an official outline was adopted, such as avoiding conflict with another word.

      1. Actually, it seems to me that the Gregg short form for "hundredweight" is reasonable, given that "hundred" is subscript n and "weight" begins with u. The strange one is the standard longhand abbreviation for it, which is cwt. I suspect the c comes from Latin centum. I guess "hundredweight" must have been a common word at one time.

  2. Here's another theory question: when reading the Gregg books, "left" is written l-f-t . But "lift" is written l-e-f-t. Is there any reason why the vowel is omitted in the first case but not the second?

    1. There is no hard and fast rule for the omission of circle vowels. In this case, "left" is more common than "lift", so the vowel is omitted from the most common word for convenience, and is included in "lift" to make a positive distinction.

      In Simplified and later series, both words are written exactly the same, with the circle vowel.

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