Is there an exception for using the proper-noun markings for common names?

I am working through the simplified manual, and as I go, I am creating a key for all of the “Reading” sections. But today I came across a real stumper!

First of all, the first two outlines only make sense to me as “dear Tom,” but the second one doesn’t have the two little lines beneath it that I thought characterized proper nouns. Is there an exception to that rule for common names, or does it mean something else?

Here is my best effort at transcription (there is one outline on the next page that isn’t picture above, that can only mean “factory”).

“Dear Tom, there is a slight chance I can ship on or before March 18th the model with desks, which are made in our Fall River Factory.”

That reads a bit strange. First and most obviously, the two proper nouns at the bottom are a complete guess, and they don’t really make sense. Second of all, I can’t tell if the outline at the end of the second line is supposed to be “with” or a numeral 6.

I also spent a lot of time being stumped with the little dash that I translated as “chance.” It sure looked like an “it” or “at” to me–I eventually figured it out, but I wonder if there’s something other than context that should have clued me in.

The “which” on the bottom line is similarly problematic.

Thank you!

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13 comments Add yours
  1. I would read it as a 6. I would have thought 6 tends to be easier to confuse with "pay" or maybe that's just my handwriting.

    From what I understand, the general philosophy behind Gregg is don't write what you can infer from context, and here, given it is the beginning of a letter, it would obviously be "Dear (name). That's what I understand anyway.

    I think you are referring to "ship". Generally, downward straight characters are less slanted that upwards ones. Think of it like:


    The forward slashes are like the upstrokes. The downwards lines are the more vertical strokes.

    In anniversary, "which are" would probably be joined like a phrase. Phrases usually follow a pattern, and you learn to distinguish what are phrases, but it's difficult at the start. There are several "tell-tale" words which start phrases.

    In anniversary, I believe that Ch can also be translated as change. It depends on context, and that's why Shorthand is slower to read than longhand.

    When I use Gregg 1916 in the real world, to take down meetings and notes, whilst the event is still fresh in memory, I generally write in longhand in red pen above badly written outlines, critical words, or things that might throw me. I also add or circle commas etc.

    1. I can see that–I would have considered "pay" except that "with" was a brief form just given in that very chapter, so I assumed that it would make more sense to use.

      You're right, I was referring to "ship." Thanks for the catch. And thank you also for the insight into the angle of the strokes–that will be super helpful.

  2. Hi Oliver,

    I don't remember ever seeing the capitalization rule you're referring to explained and also thought it was odd at first. I noticed that in the simplified manual, the dear so and so starts to letters are never noted as being capitalized. If the name appears again, it will have the double dash. I guess it's just supposed to be obvious that it's a proper name so you can save time by skipping the marks?

    It is "model 6 desks" – in my experience, if something looks like a number, it's probably a number. "With" would be more slanted to the right.

    Besides context, the "sh" (shall/ship) and "ch" (which) strokes are generally written more steeply than that "t" (it/at) and "d" (would) strokes. 

    I would also agree with your translation of "Fall River." As you go further, it will become easier to recognize words. Also somewhere one here somebody shared recordings of dictation practice from the simplified manual, which you can use to practice dictation. Since it is the same reading practice sections read aloud, I suppose you could also use it as a sort of key. 

    1. Thanks for clearing up the capitalization issue. I am enjoying the simplified manual as being a lot easier to learn from, but I guess it's not perfect :-/

      That's a brilliant idea to use the dictation practice as a key! I will have to dig those up. 

  3. There was an article in the Gregg writer by Fred Gurtler, in 1919(?), aimed at reporters (writers which write at high speed in political or legal settings), giving a tip:

    If numbers (e.g. 1,2, etc.) are easily mixed up with shorthand marks, put a capitalisation mark beneath them.

  4. The correct transcription is:

    Dear Tom:

    There is a slight chance I can ship on or before March 18 the Model 6 desks, which are made in our Fall River …

    About the punctuation, the general convention adopted in Gregg texts for the most part is that if you start writing the letter in shorthand with the salutation (Dear Tom, Dear Mr. Brown, etc.), you don't need to write the punctuation (which includes the proper name mark and the colon). However, if you start writing the letter in shorthand with the name and address of the recipient, you need to put the proper name mark in the name and address, and the salutation contains the punctuation as well (proper name mark and colon). Lastly, if the letter starts just with the name (Tom, Mr. Brown), then you need write the colon to separate both the name and the text that follows it. Again, this is a convention: the Gregg Shorthand police is not going to come after you if you decide to put proper name marks everywhere you see a proper name!

    Fall River is a city in Massachusetts.

    1. Thank you very much–the punctuation rules are helpful as well. I'm glad I have this site to turn to to fill in any holes in the manual!

  5. Also, adding to my answer above, later on, the powers that be at the Gregg Publishing Company decided not to include names and addresses inside shorthand letters in books, because in practice, you will always have the recipient information somewhere else (the boss won't be dictating the mailing address of the person, only the salutation). However, names and addresses in letters in transcription books were included as an appendix for typing/transcription practice of the letters.

    Lastly, you were asking how different Simplified and Anniversary Gregg are in a separate post. However, I asked Mr. Rader if he could write the same letter in Anniversary for you, and he obliged (using some computer magic, of course!). Here it is — see if you can read it, smiley:

    Letter 26

    1. Holy cow! Thank you so much. That is such a great side-by-side–it's actually quite different. And I genuinely can't read it XD There are a lot of interesting abbreviations there that amaze me. "On-or-before" is particularly ingenious and different.

      We have decided to go with Simplified because, although we will miss the readily available pdfs, we feel that Simplified is a more useful version for us to know. If we later become even more infatuated with the art of shorthand, and have the time, we feel it would be appropriate to transition, but as far as personal use goes, Simplified just seems to make the most sense. I'll update the other post as well.

      1. That's great. Simplified is a great choice.

        Incidentally, you would've been able to read the above text in Anniversary after Unit 26! smiley

    2. Carlos, would it be possible to know more about that computer magic of yours? I would love to be able to produce texts like that on my computer.

      1. Not really much magic: just take a high resolution scan of the text and manipulate the outlines inside a graphics program to make it look the way it should. However, if there's interest in this topic, I'll post something about some magic I did the other day with one lesson of the French Simplified book, which was frustrating me to no end.

        Incidentally, for the record, the plates in the blog that I say I transcribe are indeed written by me, not by Rader or anyone else.  smiley I write them, scan, and pdf. If there are mistakes, I correct them just after the scan. In the old days, if there were mistakes, they would write the correct outline in a piece of paper and paste it on top of the wrong outline before photographing. Nowadays, there is no need to do that because that process can be handled electronically.

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