Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
Maes

Handwriting

Recommended Posts

I am right handed like most of the Earth's population, but ever since I was in elementary school, I always attracted attention (and sometimes teachers' observations) for "writing the wrong way". Occasionally, I still do get people staring at me when I happen to handwrite something in front of them O_o

By "writing the wrong way" they meant NOT writing down each letter with top-to-bottom strokes. This always struck me as weird, as I clearly don't recall being explicitly taught that in school. It could be because I had learned how to read or write before attending school, but apparently everyone else wrote "the correct way" and I wrote "the wrong way".

I actually don't write every letter bottom-to-top, as most people are lead to think, I just write them in the most convenient way possible, which depends where the pen/pencil was, what I was writing before that particular letter etc. however I do start isolated letters and the first letters of a word bottom-to-top 99% of the time.

Every time I tried to forcibly write every letter top-to-bottom, I just found it dumb and slow to perform consistently. What's important, is that none ever told me if there is/should be some inherent advantage in doing so, not even teachers, so I never bothered "correcting" it.

I also didn't find any online references regarding explicit stroke order/direction for everyday handwriting, except for cursive "calligraphy" guides and the such.

Anyone ever heard of that/has that "problem"?

Share this post


Link to post

This so would have mattered in the 50's.

I also write many letters bottom-up. For example, the letter P. Why would I waste time on using two motions instead of one? Ridiculous.

Share this post


Link to post

I write in cursive most of the time, but when I do print, I usually do it the "normal" way.

AndrewB said:

I also write many letters bottom-up. For example, the letter P. Why would I waste time on using two motions instead of one? Ridiculous.

I used to do that with a lot of letters until my 4's started looking like 9's.

Share this post


Link to post

Dunno, that's why I'm asking.

I've had the chance to witness different handwriting habits based on what one was told in formal education.

Since I was schooled in Greece, the characters of the Greek alphabet are for the most part quite similar to Latin ones, and at least when I was schooled we were not taught to write in cursive or "continuous" writing, even though such a script exists for Greek too. Yet, they would come up with this "top-down" rule even for clean, block letter writing, which is what most people use for daily tasks.

On the other hand, while I was in Italy, people would stare at my "vertical" way of holding a pen: since they were taught to use a fountain pen for cursive writing, that required holding it awkwardly, and everybody but me had calluses on their writing hand fingers and held even pens obliquely O_o

Oh well, seems I'll never find out what's so special about top-down handwriting. So far I only got the "because that's how it's done" kind of answer. D'oh..

Share this post


Link to post

I have this bad habit of connecting (so-to-speak) letters and using one stroke where sometimes two may be appropriate but not necessarily noticeably messy to use one. For example, writing a lowercase 't' and 'e' adjacent to each other in two strokes; one for the vertical line in the 't' and one for the horizontal segment and all of the 'e'.

Other than that, I tend to write the "wrong" way as well. I was never really told it was strange or unusual though, so I stuck with it, assuming everyone wrote that way.

Share this post


Link to post

I think it probably has something to do with how it seems more stable to pull the pencil toward you than to push it, though if you held the pencil vertically you wouldn't have that problem.

Share this post


Link to post
AndrewB said:

This so would have mattered in the 50's.

Yep. My grandpa went to school in the 30s and was left handed, so they tied his hand behind his back and made him write "correctly". He's now ambidextrous.

Anyway, more on topic, I do write some letters "wrong" or whatever, probably because I started reading and writing before elementary school. I also write with my pencil between the wrong fingers. It sometimes weirds people out that my writing callous is on my ring finger.

Share this post


Link to post

Never thought of this, but it seems I change orientation based on whether the letter has detail below the baseline or not. Except the 'i'.

Share this post


Link to post

I have doctor's handwriting. I write more a chaotic horizontal pattern than up or down.

Share this post


Link to post

Heh, I suppose I write the "normal" way. However, one strange thing about me is that I almost always tend to favor cursive writing over writing in print. It just feels quicker somehow. Of course, I have a feeling it may have more to do with a couple of teachers I had in elementary school in a row, who forced all of their students to write in cursive the entire year.

Share this post


Link to post

I write letters starting from the top, in print-type that looks like "neo-cursive" because most letters are connected. My actual cursive is slower and more childish looking (you could say sloppy), as I haven't used it much after elementary school. I think I was influenced by my dad, who always used printed type, while my mom's cursive handwriting is hard to imitate. Maybe it's an in-between, as my dad's handwriting is mainly neat and separated print.

Share this post


Link to post

I hate it when someone writes capital H with just one stroke, making it look just like M.

I often use capital letters instead of cursive ones. Feels easier to read for everybody.

EDIT: myk, I thought I use capital (printed) letters because I'm immature or something, but if others are doing it, then it's just a habit like anything else...

Share this post


Link to post

I think I hold pens incorrectly based on what they taught in schools, but I seem to get by.

Sometime in 6th grade I forced myself to write the character "a" like most fonts show it instead of the "oval with a line next to it" that I was taught (i.e., the top version in this picture instead of the italic version below it). It's far less efficient to write but I can actually read the damn thing now.

Share this post


Link to post

I always thought I was weird because I have at least three distinct types of handwriting.

Share this post


Link to post

Me as well, it depends how much of a hurry I'm in. For the most part it looks like hieroglyphics

Share this post


Link to post

I have terrible handwriting, I was always getting pulled up in school for it. This has gotten worse into my 20s, as I type most things now.

I do remember being taught stroke directions when I was learning to write before I went to school. Mum had gotten me a book where you could trace letters, and numbers of where to start. For example, to write "t" you'd have a downstroke starting at the top, then a left-to-right stroke crossing it, with numbers and arrows indicating the order and direction of strokes.

It never occurred to me that there were other ways of writing letters, how interesting.

Share this post


Link to post

Heh. I always wanted to learn to write like DaVinci, since I'm left-handed and always smudge the paper. I don't do the retardo-bending arm thing that most lefties do. I'm OK at writing backwards but I could be better.

Share this post


Link to post

I write the "normal" way with my left hand and I don't do the "retardo arm bending" either. I can write with my right but, primarily due to lack of practice, it isn't as neat as with my left, but it's not bad.

I think that, probably the "right" way to do it is for the reason that DuckReconMajor suggests. It is easier to draw a pencil over the paper than to push it. I remember being taught that in technical drawing at school.

One thing I do do though is I often get letters wrong that start in a similar way. eg, a lower case b and a lower case p are written using basically the same strokes. It's just that one has most of the vertical action above the bulge and the other below it. Unless I am really concentrating, I will often get such letters mixed up. I used to think that everyone was like this and figured that it was just part of writing. However, over the last couple of years, I've mentioned it to quite a few people and they just look at me as if I'm from a different planet. Originally I would start by saying something like "you know how when you start to write one letter but it comes out as a different one", expecting them to know what I was talking about. However, it quickly became apparent that this was not such a common phenomenon as I thought and it would seem that I am perhaps doing things a bit oddly. Funny, I guess we all assume that the way we do things is "normal". Kind of interesting to find out that sometimes it isn't.

Share this post


Link to post

I write with my left hand when I do it. Usually thats limited to my signature though, which mostly looks like I had a spastic vertical fit on the dotted line.

Share this post


Link to post

I am a lefty, and I tend to drag the side of my palm across the page while I write, smudging everything. After school, more often than not, the bottom of my hands are black with whatever residue of what I was using to write with.

This is why I prefer to do as many assignments as possible typed...

Share this post


Link to post
Enjay said:

Unless I am really concentrating, I will often get such letters mixed up. I used to think that everyone was like this and figured that it was just part of writing. However, over the last couple of years, I've mentioned it to quite a few people and they just look at me as if I'm from a different planet. Originally I would start by saying something like "you know how when you start to write one letter but it comes out as a different one", expecting them to know what I was talking about. However, it quickly became apparent that this was not such a common phenomenon as I thought and it would seem that I am perhaps doing things a bit oddly. Funny, I guess we all assume that the way we do things is "normal". Kind of interesting to find out that sometimes it isn't.

When I'm doing math problems it takes me about 3 tries to write the letter 'h'. I always turn it into a 5.

Share this post


Link to post

Something prevents me from having readable handwriting, or not taking 5 minutes to write one short and clear sentence.
So I use a laptop. Kinda revokes me from this thread doesn't it?

Share this post


Link to post

I have something like that, when working with strings of digits like telephone numbers or numeric software registration keys, I get them mixed up. It's even worse if they repeat.

My mum's phone number at the moment is something like 66288688. She says it's the easiest phone number she's ever had, whilst I am thankful for speed dial.

This used to manifest itself as a recurring nightmare as a child, where I was being chased in a closed supermarket by some sort of antagonist, and would constantly mess up dialing the wrong number, until the monster caught me. Scary shit :P

Share this post


Link to post

The easiest phone number to memorize is that of the "Service Champions" which is 444-4444


Oh yeah, my handwriting sucks, and I think I do it mainly the "normal" way. Most letters I write are top-down, but sometimes, depending on the word or letter I go bottom-up.

K, I just tested this out, and my only letters that go bottom-up are sometimes lower case I, N, T, and L, always lower case F and D, always R.

Share this post


Link to post

Hmm, that is different. For the first time in my life I really thought about how I write, then wrote the alphabet down to see how I write each letter. Of the lowercase, I write all of them from the top down. Of the uppercase, I write ABDEFMNOP and R from the bottom up. Whatever works best for you though, I never actually notice how people write as it doesn't matter. I've never gotten cursive though, as I can kind of write it, but it seems for the most part it's only legible to the person who wrote it. Hell, I can barely read my own cursive, whenever I read someone else's I have to ask them what they meant. I'm glad it's been almost done away with. Oddly enough, when I was a kid in school I was always told I had horrible printing, and once I turned 18 people started saying I had the most readable print they'd seen. I think teachers are just biased and they want people to use illegible cursive.

Share this post


Link to post

As another leftie my first experience of writing resulted in several lines of gibberish, since I insisted on going right-to-left - printing each word backwards as I went. It made perfect sense to me at the time but my teacher insisted I write left-to-right and I've had ink stains on my fingers ever since.

Share this post


Link to post
myk said:

My actual cursive is slower and more childish looking (you could say sloppy), as I haven't used it much after elementary school

Yeah, I ended up completely dropping cursive some time after elementary school, aside from writing my signature. I could never write capital letters in cursive very well, though, so I use print letters for the D and W instead. No one has ever complained.

I'd also like to note that I realized some time in high school that I couldn't print lowercase letters for shit. There were about 5 groups of letters that all looked nearly identical to each other and so forth (like my n's looked like r's and my m's looked like rr). I gave up and switched to only writing in capital letters, though I use lowercase caps for lowercase letters. What confuses me is when people can't read my handwriting despite it being basically block print.

Share this post


Link to post
Enjay said:

One thing I do do though is I often get letters wrong that start in a similar way. eg, a lower case b and a lower case p are written using basically the same strokes.


I do this. I have the biggest issue with Capital Ps and Rs. I'll mean to write a P, and then just keep going and end up with an R.

My handwriting overall is awful though.

Share this post


Link to post

I do a lot of letters top-to-bottom, but I also do some the other way as well, and depending upon what's being written, may alternate. If a letter ends at the top, I might start the next one at the top and go down. (If a letter ends at the bottom, I start the next one at the bottom.)
The best way to visualize this is how the old dot-matrix printers worked. They'd start printing left-to-right, then when the next line comes, it prints right-to-left. Kind of the same idea, with individual letters/numbers. Speed went way up doing it this way. Can almost "print" as fast as those who write.

During college, in both Physics and Basic Programming class (Can't program worth a shit, so I took the easy way out), we had to print out our journals (Physics) and programming code on blocked paper, so we were forced to have this neat row/column appearance. Didn't matter so much in Physics, but since my writing isn't so hot, and it's part of the grade, I took each square, and alloted 2 characters per square (spaces included), so the clearity wasn't the best, but it looked very neat in terms of allignment.
Ultimately, this carried on in my current job. When I write data sheets on the job, the numbers and letters usually line up, and most of the time, the end of each reading would line up on all rows, so if you looked at the paper eye-level, everything appears straight. I get picked on for having sheets that my numbers don't end at random points on the right-hand side of the data columns.. Let's say my big boss said that nobody needs a straightedge, when they can use my data sheets for a straight line. :)

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×