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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I really didn't know where to post this, and thought this was as good a place as any. To moderators: feel free to move this to a more appropriate place if need be.

I've been enjoying a new fountain pen and a nice set of stationary for a few weeks. After composing a letter, I began to ponder something that I've known for awhile - I have a hybrid handwriting style. Let me explain.

When I was a kid, we moved to another town between 2nd and 3rd grade. In the first town, the school taught cursive in 2nd grade. In the next town, they didn't start teach it at all. After the move, I wrote everything in cursive, and my teacher instructed me to print. Thus, I've developed this interesting hybrid of the two - some letters printed, some in cursive. It certainly isn't the most elegant-looking, so I've started to try to write everything in cursive. (though it's slow going)

I'm curious as to your experiences. Do you think the style of handwriting matters?
 

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I definitely do... depending on what you are trying to achieve.

A lot can be told by handwriting, since the thoughts, the energy, the method of organizing ideas and actions, are all conveyed quite blatantly in a person's writing style.

I wrote like utter hell until I went through a lettering course. Now I block everything aside from my signature. It takes time and effort, but you can make very unique and consistent handwriting through practice. Mine always seems to impress the ladies, whom feel men are always scribbling.
 

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I've been using journals since I was in HS. My handwriting can change from day to day, and minute to minute. I can start one entry is one style, and finish it with another. Its quite annoying honestly. I always admired my grandmother's penmanship. So very proper, and if you will, "old school".
 

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My penmanship is deplorable. It was never really taught in school - there were the ideal letters displayed above the black board, but little effort spent in showing us how to make them.
As a nurse, I have to write a lot. Toward the end of a shift, my handwriting would degrade into something I could barely read. My hospital has recently gone to electronic charting and my entries have improved significantly (that is, from a medical standpoint). My handwriting has not improved at all, however.
 

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My school taught handwriting in the first grade. I was considered advanced when I finished kindergarten and I went directly into second grade.

I can print neatly, but my cursive is a mess. When I address an envelope, I print. When I write a note, it's an odd hybrid as the original poster described.

Another factor is that I'm left-handed, and too much cursive ends up getting smeared.

Fortunately, I type 90WPM. :)
 

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At my school we learned cursive writing in grade 3, and were expected to use it exclusively thereafter until at least Grade 6 or so. At some point early in high school I realized nobody cared anymore and, being a keen draughting student who could print very well (while never having really mastered cursive writing to anyone's satisfaction), I went back to printing and haven't touched cursive writing since. (An arguable exception is my signature, but this would not be recognized as any kind of writing out of context!)
 

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While cursive is generally taught, penmanship generally is not. This is a shame, similar to learning words but not how to write prose. There is little if any emphasis on good handwriting anymore, though I notice my mother's and all of my teachers while growing up had that classic penmanship. I've been practicing mine to improve.

pbc
 

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I've noticed that the quality of my cursive penmanship depends on the quality of the pen and the paper. When writing condolence notes on Crane stationery, for example, I make sure that I use an excellent pen, no cheap ballpoints. I also compose and practice on scrap paper so there's no hesitation when I write on the good paper.
 

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If I have the time, I normally write in block letters (except for my signature). If I am in a hurry, like when I am making notes during a meeting or an interview, I write in a fairly sloppy cursive...even slipping certain lettersfor speed. Thankfully I can decipher what I wrote!

The type of pen makes a huge difference. For writing letters, thank-you notes or for signing my name, I normally use a well-worn Schaffer fountain pen. For everyday use, my current favorite is the Uni-Ball Signo medium point (with black ink).
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Interesting responses so far.

It seems I'm a little backward: my speed is slower while writing cursive and faster while printing. Maybe it's psychological: trying to keep my penminship neat and elegant like my grandmother's.
 

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I hadn't thought about handwriting in years, but two events recently have made me reconsider the question. A discussion of the movie, "Doubt" brought up the issue raised by the nun played by Meryl Streep, who said that the loss of quality in handwriting was a sign of a greater loss in society and culture, or something to that effect. The second was a Christmas card from a friend, who is one of the few people I know with good penmanship. It was a pleasure to read his note. Later I thought of my late father, who was not a stylish man in any way, but he had beautiful penmanship, taught him by the Sisters of Mercy, long ago. I am reconsidering penmanship as a lost art, like so many lost arts today, and the lack of it being something that diminishes our society and culture. Maybe that was Sister was alluding to in the reference above.

My own handwriting was bad to mediocre, I am trying to improve it.
 

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When I was in grammar school it seemed that we spent an inordinate amount of time being drilled in the Palmer Method. I think it must have been at least through sixth grade. For me, and probably most of the people I know, it didn't take.

Just think of the useful instruction they could have used that time for.
 

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As a nurse, I have to write a lot. Toward the end of a shift, my handwriting would degrade into something I could barely read. My hospital has recently gone to electronic charting and my entries have improved significantly (that is, from a medical standpoint). My handwriting has not improved at all, however.
Excellent. In my work I have to review hundreds, or even thousands, of pages of patient charts. Some of them are so badly written as to be ineligible, which poses a serious risk to patient care.

Electronic charting carries its own risks, particularly the tendency to just change the date and print out the same note, but at least the notes can be read when necessary.
 

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Spencerian?

I trained myself in the Spencerian style as an adult.
Tell us more about Spencerian style versus Palmer and italic. This intrigues me....

By the way, I meant to mention this earlier. I think a discussion of penmanship is appropriate in the etiquette forum and good or at least legible handwriting is an issue of etiquette in that it deals with care and concern for others and the way in which one communicates.
 

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Tell us more about Spencerian style versus Palmer and italic. This intrigues me....
From the web site spencerian.com, I get the impression that Spencerian is an ornamental writing style based on American Cursive, with more elaborate capitals.

I need to learn proper cursive. This discussion might have inspired me to go to a bookstore tomorrow and get something from the children's section so I can practice...
 

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Yes, I think nice handwriting matters. I realise that I have it easier as a woman, since most men I know struggle with the art of handwriting. Sooner or later, there will come a point in life where one will have to write invitations, notes or respond to a letter by hand. Nice penmanship instantly creates a good first impression, and shows that the correspondence is important. Handwritten letters stand out among the sea of computer-generated and printed materials one receives on a daily basis.

I always use a fountain pen, and my handwriting is a personalised and more grown-up version of the cursive I learned in school in first grade.
 

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I actually have a similar style. For instance, I often connect h's to the next letter, sometimes t's as well. The result is pretty awful.

A while ago, when explaining to someone just how bad my handwriting was, I used the word "cacography", which I thought I'd created on my own. Calligraphy comes from the Greek kalos (beautiful/good) + graphe (writing), so I figured I could add to the English language by describing my own as cacography (kakos is the opposite of kalos, it's unpleasant or bad). I just discovered yesterday that it is actually a word. Unsurprising, but disappointing nonetheless.
 

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I write letters, envelopes and the like in copperplate script, we were taught to do so in primary school though I am often told that I write like a Victorian. I think it's nice to use a fountain pen and make it look like you have put lots of effort into your correspondence.
 
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