Stuff that is not written in practice

Although the Gregg shorthand manual teaches you to write several dots and ticks to represent certain things, a lot of these are not written in practice (1916 and Anniversary):

  • The h dot can be omitted in most circumstances apart from certain words like “who….”
  • The diphthong “ai” can be written as an “a” in a lot of cases “quite” = “k-a-t”
  • The vowel marks are almost always never written.
  • Commas are usually omitted when they don’t change the meaning of the sentence.
  • In fact, most punctuation which is unnecessary is omitted.
  • The Z indicator, written below the s is also omitted most of the time.

Is the W indicator tick also omitted (I’m omitting it)?

Is it wise to omit the ea dot?

Is the capitalisation mark also omitted in practice (I’m omitting it)?

For words that there is no facile joining, is it wise to omit the curve between the two halves e.g. “Yahoo” =”ya/u”, “Ayah” = “a/ya”, “earthquake” = “e-r-th k-a-k”?

Is there anything that I have missed in this list?

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  1. Here are things that are not omitted in Gregg texts (I tend to follow the same conventions):

    1. h-dot (other than in "he", "him", "her", "has", "had", and "how" in Anniversary; and the same words plus "happy", "hope", "here", and "heard" in the 1916 New and Revised Edition. In Simplified, "he" and "how" do not have the h-dot because they are considered brief forms. Lastly, the h-dot for wh is omitted in S90 and Centennial. In other series and cases, the h-dot is always written.)

    2. underscore for w sounds, except for the word "quite" in Anniversary.

    3. dot (or dash) inside circles.

    4. capitalization marks (except in letter salutations, which is often omitted) and punctuation (other than the colon in letter salutations and the comma which tend to be omitted).

    5. the broken circle, other than the words covered by rule in series before Simplified ("life"-"live" and derivatives, "might" and derivatives, "quite", "line" and derivatives, and the word "eye"), or brief forms. The broken circle is not omitted in the word "eyes."

    In Anniversary and earlier series, the double circle (expressing vowels following long I) is often replaced by the broken circle, and sometimes by the large circle in reporting shortcuts.

    The ligature between two halves of the same word is not always consistently written in Gregg books. Also, the tendency in the latter series of Gregg was to join the halves if it was possible. For example, the word "output" was written separately until S90, in which "put" was instead written in full and was joined to the "ou" part.

    Lastly, in older Gregg texts (older than 1916), the disjoined t for past tenses and the -ing dot were often omitted.

    I personally add vowel markings in some words to make the sound obvious if needed.

    1. Is it possible to write the w-underscore, dot/dash inside circles and capitalisation marks at reporting speeds? I mostly base my writing off whatever I can find of Swem, Dupraw and Zoubek.

      Zoubek does write the h in "here", "who", but not hallow. He doesn't write the dash inside the circle of "create". (he does dot "here")


      Dupraw omits the w-underscore in "acquit".


      Joe Catellani did seem to write the h-dot on "hooking", but it is hard to tell


      Swem claims that you can omit "h" in most circumstances excluding "who, whole, happen"


      Can find much other material on the w-underscore and the dot-within-circle though

      1. At reporting speeds, all bets are off, and what to write or not is left to the discretion of the reporter. This is because reporters have reached such a high skill level that they won't have problems transcribing their notes, and by then they have developed their own outline vocabulary. Even then, sometimes reporters are not consistent. This depends on the circumstances under which the dictation was taken, on the frequency of the actual word, and also if the word or outline can be confused with something else.

        Taking Zoubek as an example, he sometimes omits the dash inside the circle (as in "created"), but in other high speed texts he writes "creation" with the dash. He uses the dotted circle (for example, in the word "ammonia", not a very frequent word). He writes the w underscore (an example, "quarrel"). Incidentally, the underscore is used in reporting as a shortcut for "way" and "away" without having to write the circle, and he uses that shortcut frequently. In words starting with sw-, he omits the oo-hook in sw- and uses the underscore in some outlines (for example, he writes "sweeping" as left s – underscored e – p – dot), but omits the underscore in others if the outline is distinct (example: "switch", right s – e -ch). With the examples that you provided and Zoubek’s own writing, you can see that at this stage, the level of abbreviation is highly variable, both between reporters and even with the same reporter!

        1. I wonder why Zoubek sometimes swaps the s-u- for s-_ (as in "sweeping") ? Surely the trouble of a pen lift is more than writing two connected characters?

          I guess a lot of their reason behind what they omit is 1) how far they are behind the dictation and 2) whether they can get away with it. I guess you could class it as an extension of the abbreviating principle (write only what you need in order to read it back correctly).

          I'm interested to know how fast it is possible to write Gregg Shorthand as in the style written in the manual, and whether it is possible to exceed 100wpm on a literary dictation?

          Do you know where I could find other reporting style writing other than the examples above?

          1. If you're talking about the style in the regular manual, those are written at a relatively slow speed because they are written with artistic penmanship. However, I've seen books written by Zoubek in which the writing is indeed very hasty (but very legible!) because it was coming from dictation, more than likely at 100 wpm or above. Functional Method Dictation by Louis Leslie and Speed Drills in Gregg Shorthand by Leslie and Zoubek are two of such books.

            Gregg Shorthand Reporting Course by Swem and Expert Shorthand Speed Course by Blanchard and Zoubek have good examples of reporting style. They also show actual notes at high speed.

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