Considering words such as slow and sleep…..

I thought, right from when I was first learning, that it would be easier to write s-l using a right-S rather than the left-S which we use. It is much more “facile” (to use an expression commonly used in describing Gregg writing).  I quite understood at the time that it was far more “distinct” to use the left-S.

I see that the right-S could be perceived as producing a form which could morph into something else, but now, knowing other places where similar possible uncertainties could arise when reading, I wonder, again: why?  Frequent use of this joining would have made it just as distinguishable as anything else.

I’d never dream of doing such a thing, but the question remains.


Previous post:
Next post:
9 comments Add yours
  1. Left s before r or l follows the rule listed in paragraph 49 of the Anniversary Manual. By using the left s, the rule is kept simple because the same s is used before and after the consonants listed in the rule. If not, the rule would become more complicated (it would read something like, "use the right s before l and the left s after l").

    Right s is used for the suffix sub- before r or l (paragraph 184) or for the first instance of the word "as" when part of the phrase "as … as" (paragraph 85).

    Lastly, if you think of writing a cursive capital E for the left s-l or left s-r strokes, the combinations can be written very quickly.

    1. Glad you pointed out paragraph 184. Outlines for subway & sub-editor had passed me by.  I've never used sub-editor or subhead, but I'm sure I have written subway wrongly (as "sway")!  Though in context, reading sway easily reads as subway.

      So something learned here. Thanks Carlos.

      1. You're welcome. Incidentally, the sub rule was simplified in Series 90, removing the requirement of writing of the s contrary to the rule, so "sway" and "subway" would be written the same way.

  2. Besides what Carlos mentions, another reason to use left s before l is that the combination forms an acute angle, while right s before l can easily cause the joining to morph into a curve in fast writing.

    1. My description was not good.

      I meant to describe it to be that morphed curve you mentioned rather than the angle as in sub-let.  It would be similar to the F-L which is is a smooth curve.  But yes, it would probably lead to confusing outlines.

      Anyway, I take Carlos's point about it complicating the rules.

  3. Paragraph 85 was referenced.  “As…as” .

    I had marked it because I was surprised the form for the phrase “as many as” inverted the [e] in “many”.

    Why does this change happen?

    1. Since an s will follow the e, and since the men-blend and s will form an angle, then following regular shorthand rules, the e is written outside the angle (paragraph 14) and the left s is used (paragraph 51, the s belonging to the blend), as it is much easier to write it that way: the "men blend-e-left s" part of the phrase would be written with only one stroke of the pen. If instead you keep the root form of "many" and then add an s, you would be adding an additional stroke unnecessarily.

      1. In general do speed increasing rules supersede legibility rules? Does deciphering speed suffer or is there always enough information between the context and the form to decode it quickly given good familiarity with the manual? 

        Like in the “as many as” instance I can see the possibilities of “ar” and “ars” are stuck out due to the presence of the left motion [s] at the end. 


        1. Both speed and legibility are important and usually you have context to figure out what an outline means. In the later Gregg series (starting with Simplified Gregg), rules were dropped (like this particular “as … as” rule, in addition to the reversed circle) to facilitate the learning of the system and because very fast speeds were not needed in the office environment, where shorthand was still used — as a result, outlines became more legible but less speedy to write.

          In the outline of that phrase, the e-circle can't be "er" because the following consonant is not an n, an m, or the men-blend (paragraph 71.2), and it can't be "ers" either because that would be written with a loop (paragraph 74) and the final s would not be written.

Leave a Reply