Writing

Let there be no misunderstanding at this point. There is no attempt here to make of you a new Keneally, Winton, Amis, Dickens, Hemingway, Faulkner and certainly not a Shakespeare. You may have ambitions to be a novelist or playwright but you will have to follow a few more tabs yet and some other material to reach that stage. What is meant here is "Handwriting".

Handwriting

Some insight into handwriting will have been gained from the reading course that was suggested to you under the "Reading" tab. You will have seen letters and the "shape" of letters. Also the difference between upper case and lower case letters will now be familiar. In simple terms upper case letters are the big or capital letters that were shown first in the double-letter groupings in the list of all English characters set out in the alphabet under the "Reading" tab. For ease of reference this is repeated below.

Aa:Bb:Cc:Dd:Ee:Ff:Gg:Hh:Ii:Jj:Kk:Ll:Mm:Nn:Oo:Pp:Qq:Rr:Ss:Tt:Uu:Vv:Ww:Xx:Yy:Zz

Thus "A", "G", "M", "R" and "Y" are upper case letters whereas "a", "g", "m", "r" and "y" are lower case letters.

These letters are quite clearly generated by the machine on which this is being written. If these letters were reproduced by hand by a person using a pen, pencil, ball-point or any other writing implement the exercise would be termed "printing". The letters are separate, individual characters. The most common use for an upper case letter is for the initial character of the first word of a sentence. The lower case letters are used in most other circumstances. Under the "Grammar" tab it will be shown that there are other situations where upper case letters are used.

Uncial and Cursive Scripts

There are many styles or shapes of letters. These are known as fonts. From the first to about the tenth century the uncial style was used in Latin and Greek manuscripts. These were the languages of lawyers, doctors, the clergy and others who were well educated. The style employed a form of "printed" letters separate from each other but with a larger space separating words. After this time and still used to-day is the cursive style of running letters joined together to form words. Spacing occurs between words and not between letters.

Computers can now reproduce many thousands of different type faces or fonts. Here are three examples:-

Times New Roman

Courier New

Arial

It is also possible to represent the cursive style:-

Brush Script mt

This site, schoolfonts.com, shows many different fonts uncial and cursive. It demonstrates their appearance with all numbers, all letters of the alphabet and some punctuation marks and mathematical signs. (Note:- the sentence "The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog." contains all of the letters of the alphabet. However, if you want to use any of the fonts shown then they must be bought and installed on your machine.)

As interesting as it may be for a machine to be able to simulate writing this is not the same as being able to write even if you are operating the machine. It is possible to build model motor cars or aircraft, even full size ones, which can be operated from a keyboard or from a console with a joystick. This ability does not equate with being able to drive a car or fly an aircraft. These are skills that must be acquired and practiced to attain proficiency. It is the same with handwriting.

Style

Handwriting is a very personal attribute. This is particularly the case with cursive scripts. Most personal will be your signature. This is accepted on many documents as your unique attestation as to the validity of or agreement with the contents of the document. It does not matter if your signature is legible or not so long as you are prepared to acknowledge its genuineness and also others recognise and accept it as yours and not some similar "mark" made by another person. Although not as perfectly defining as a photograph or fingerprints a distinctive signature, one that is difficult for another person to reproduce, is a form of proof of identity. It was common many years ago when few could write for a person who needed to "sign" a document to make a "mark", usually in the form of an "X" on the document. The validity of this mark was then "confirmed" or "witnessed" by the signature of a named person, often one of some standing in the community or who held an office of trust with a government department or reliable employer, who saw the mark being made. This still happens to-day but it is now a rare procedure.

Except for a signature an important quality of handwriting is that it be legible or readable by others. This is usually easily achieved so far uncial scripts or "printing" is concerned but more difficult for cursive styles.

Because printing is inherently more legible than cursive scripts it is printing that is demanded for the completion of most forms whether they be government forms or those of other organisations. Forms are simply documents soliciting or recording information. As such they must, of course, be easily readable. (Whether or not you should supply the requested information is a matter entirely for you and could be and probably has already been the subject of a whole new article or even a book about privacy. This is not our concern here.)

Writing in a cursive script can often be done, after practice, more quickly than printing. It also affords the writer more freedom to develop an individual style, but this must be done without sacrificing legibility. Style concerns the "shape" of your handwriting and it may include, that is the constituent letters may be, small or large, vertical or sloping either forward or backward. Whatever you choose as a style or find most easily executed consistency is important. The handwriting of no two people will be identical. It may not be as distinctly defining as a signature but it can often be related to just one person.

Practice

Before putting pen or pencil to paper the first important point is to learn how to hold the implement correctly. It is suggested that initial practice should be with a pencil. An ideal grade is "HB". Anything higher in "B" grade range will be too soft and, similarly, anything higher in the "H" range will be too hard. There are as many grips as there are uses for a pencil (or a pen). Any number of examples of how to hold the pencil can be seen at this site.

The ability to write is achieved with two things, guidance and practice. Frequent and constant practice is vital in learning to write. The Home Schooling sub-site of the "About.com" site provides for plenty of pratice in both scripts of handwriting, uncial and cursive, in two different styles. For each letter there is an initial sheet showing just how the letter should be constructed. This is followed by four practice pages. Every letter is shown like this in both styles so there are eight practice pages in all after the initial instruction sheets. Also the sheets provide examples of how the letters relate to others in words. This is important in the development of a personal style of cursive handwriting. All of the sheets are printable so as much practice as is necessary can be had. If you wish to download some extra practice sheets then this site is useful if not perfect for all other purposes that it is supposed to fulfill.

An impression of the vast variety of writing styles can be seen at this site and from this site much more research on the topic of handwriting can be done if your interest persists after you have developed a competent ability in the skill of handwriting.

Writing

Writing

Handwriting

Uncial and Cursive Scripts

Style

Practice

A SHORT ENGLISH GRAMMAR

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