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January 2013


New Year's Resolutions


Tonbridge Town Lock


Short Form Pairs


Shorthand Gloves


Short Form Non-Pairs Part 1


Short Form Non-Pairs Part 2


New Year's Resolutions (13 January 2013)


A whole pot of Shun Hooks just waiting to be used

I have never been at all keen on New Year’s resolutions. They do not seem to provide the solution to any condition. The New Year vacation used to be* an occasion for a session of deliberations when I would make a decision on my selection of aspirations. But after a short time* my emotional effusions were marred by slight botheration, then gradual* exhaustion of good intentions, and finally my mission turned to omission. My irrational and futile* explanations gave the illusion of insulation from failure. Initial satisfaction unfortunately turned into complete cessation of operations. My passion suffered depletion and my well-intentioned vision changed to affliction, confusion, vexation and dissipation. In short, inspiration became expiration.


* Omission phrase "use(d to) be"  "short (t)ime"


* "gradual" Not halved, so that "gradually" and "greatly" are distinguished


* "futile" See www.long-live-pitmans-shorthand.org.uk/distinguishing-outlines-list2.htm "fatal, futile, vital"


Those hooks are everywhere ...

But how is one to make a correction to this unfortunate
* condition, especially if one’s ambition is for the acquisition of shorthand notation? I offer the suggestion of taking immediate action on your decision, in order to avoid the hesitation of waiting for New Year reflections before you put your educational aspirations into operation. Having made a decision to seek tuition that suits your current situation, you must make concessions in the application of your former daily traditions, duties and other functions. You may need to curtail the incursions of television and the suppression or even cessation of other diversions and attractions. However, you may give yourself permission to use fiction as an occasion for the revision, progression, expansion and completion of your shorthand notation.


* "unfortunate" Optional contraction

... on the Christmas tree

Having firmly decided on these options for the continuation of your new educational direction, you will thus cushion yourself against sensations of tension, deprivation and depression. However, your revelation or casual mention of this addition to your future intentions may draw admonition or opposition from relations (of both the young and ancient generation) but your animation and persuasion may turn their caution eventually to complete approbation and appreciation. The precision and application of your devotion to your chosen ambition will lead finally to occasions for impassioned jubilation. Your conversational contributions will be an expression of happy celebration regarding your success in gaining this traditional and highly inspirational notational ability.

... behind the curtains

Your shorthand transcription* submissions may be required in industries such as construction, educational instruction, aviation, fashion, or political associations. You might be employed by an academician, beautician, clinician, dietician, electrician, logician, magician, mathematician*, mechanician, musician, mortician, obstetrician, optician, paediatrician, physician, politician, statistician, technician or theoretician. You might have a discretionary role with a missionary, a revolutionary, a reactionary, or perhaps a visionary working in isolation. If you work in television you will need to give attention to the correct diction and articulation of the names of Egyptian, Polynesian, Melanesian, Friesian, Persian, Caucasian and Eurasian guests – maybe even Martian ones! – although you will have to avoid confusion between Australian and Australasian appellations. There can be no permission for deviation or variation in pronunciation**.


* "transcription" Omits the second R, to avoid looking like "describe, descriptions etc"


* "mathematician" Contraction

If you have an appreciation for shorthand notation, this may be an indication of your rejection of the erosion and extinction of these functions. You will strengthen your ambition for a succession of distinctions in your shorthand examinations and eventual graduation. You can avoid complications if you develop an exceptional fixation on the unconditional correction of aberrations in the orthographic representation of your shorthand transcription. Your dedication in the transmission of communications may produce an elevation in remuneration. This would additionally result in the submission of calculations for increased taxation deductions. After a period of probation, it may also bring the expectation and satisfaction of professional promotion which may involve relocation within the nation. However, the monetary compensation for the regular completion of your obligations may enable the extension of your habitation or even the construction of a traditional mansion.

You may wish to give consideration* to these questions of your future direction, and sit in seclusion, reflection and quiet contemplation during this time at the conclusion of your New Year vacation. Your future options are entirely at your own volition, and I hope you will suffer no diversion from your devotion to a new direction. In conclusion*, I hope that by studying and practising this composition (or at least portions of it) in sessions of varying degrees of speed gradation, you will never again suffer the humiliation of hesitation or omission in your version of the transcription. You will be on your way to avoiding the temptation to shun every shorthand confrontation or situation. I am in hopeful anticipation that your preparation will lead to stenographic fruition and phonographic perfection. (741 words)

* Omission phrases "to give (con)sideration"  "in (con)clusion"

Revise your Shun Hooks here:


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Tonbridge Town Lock (13 January 2013)


I recently visited Tonbridge* in Kent and took a walk along the river path to see Town Lock on the River Medway. As there had been a lot of rain, I expected to see the river at high level and flowing vigorously through the weirs. The weir gate was partially open to release the water. It is a counterbalanced curved shutter that can be raised or lowered as required. On the upriver side, the water swirled towards the shutter and although the surface of the water was flat, you could clearly see that it was sucking down towards the gap on the river bed. On the other side* it was an entirely different story. The water surged out from under the gate with enormous force, boiling and turning over and back on itself. As the waves rode up over each other, some parts
* were flowing backwards, smashing together with the next surge before being swept further down the narrow concrete channel. Within about ten* metres, the surface flattened once* again, as the foam unfolded itself, looking like a very holey lace tablecloth spread out over the river and hiding the dangerous currents below.

* "Tonbridge" is pronounced tun-

* Omission phrase "on the oth(er) side" "wu(n)s again"


* "some parts" Outline for "parts" only written like this in phrases where convenient

* Always vocalise outlines for "ten" "eighteen"

Main lock gate. Canoe and fish pass

For sound effects, see my video of this lock in spate in Jan 2009 http://youtu.be/1IjlFB_EQdg

Next to the weir gate is a canoe and fish pass where a much smaller amount of water is allowed to race down a narrow shallow channel. Within the water are rows of fish brushes, flexible bristles that slow the current and reduce turbulence, with the canoes able to ride over the top. This is far less dramatic but is not without its dangers, as even this lesser flow would be impossible to resist. On the far side where a tributary joins, there is a wide unobstructed open weir consisting of shallow steps with the water flowing peacefully over. In front of all these structures is a long boom of floating orange cylinders, to prevent boats from approaching. On the near side is the lock for the passage of boats, with the wooden gates shut and only a slight trickle of water escaping through the tiny gaps.

I was able to view the drama of the central weir from the safety of the concrete island that supports the structures. The burst of energy produced within the short length of channel below the weir shutter is the result of force meeting constriction. Being a shorthand student
*, you will immediately recognise the fury of the water as a visual metaphor of how one feels during a high speed attempt in shorthand writing*. You start off calm, then there is the sudden surge of activity, the unstoppable rush of words and sounds, the scrabbling to deal with everything at once, and finally the relief when it is over and you realise that you have survived the encounter. In shorthand there is no threat to safety, and the discomfiture is only what you have chosen to put yourself through. In real life* drowning would be an almost certain outcome for anyone falling into those churning waters and indeed the treacherous unseen currents below weirs, twisting about beneath the surface of the outflow, can keep a person under indefinitely.


* Omission phrases "shorthand s(t)udent"  "short(hand) writing"  "real (l)ife"

The three other structures on the river at this location are also a perfect example of different types of shorthand experience. The closed lock gate is the times of controlled practising. The water flows into its allotted space, carefully and slowly so as not to rock the boat. It is then released with equal slowness and control from the second gate resulting in a smooth and successful journey along the river. The canoe pass is the dictations you take in order to
* stretch your speed, preferably passages that you have prepared and practised. They are still flowing with purposeful rapidity but they are not going to suck you under and you merely get ejected at the other end, exhausted and bedraggled but still alive. You might even sometimes feel like a fish battling upstream against the flow!


* Omission phrase "in ord(er to)"

The wide steps are like writing very easy words for the level you are at, with well-known simple material for the beginner or maybe slightly more difficult matter taken at a low comfortable speed, for the purpose of improving the accuracy and neatness of your outlines. I do not think any other
* visitors would view the weirs as an example of shorthand experiences, but the main central weir with its furious and lethal tangled currents does seem to be an apt representation of any situation where force and energy are concentrated, resulting in an eruption of chaos and turmoil upon release.


* Omission phrase "any oth(er)"

In shorthand, you cannot reduce the force of the torrent of words, as the speaker, the speed and the subject matter are not within your control. All you can do is to reduce the constriction as much as possible
*, by constant improvement of your shorthand ability. Vocabulary extension is essential, but of equal or maybe greater importance is complete familiarity with outlines for the most common words. If you hesitate over these, that will be a large percentage of the text, and so your difficulties will be multiplied in proportion to the frequency of their occurrence. There will always be encounters with new words, and knowing the commonest ones to perfection will put time in your pocket, as it were*, to deal immediately and successfully with the unknown or unusual words. “Dealing with” during dictation means getting something readable on paper, even if it is not correct. “Dealing with” afterwards means correcting and drilling that outline, so that you never trip up on it again. In this way the hesitations are slowly but surely reduced over time.


* Omission phrase "as much as poss(ible)"  "as it (w)ere"


Later on we walked through Tonbridge Castle sports ground and found the football field covered in lake-sized puddles. The braids of the river had overflowed in the previous days and the excess was rapidly draining away and the green grass emerging again. The seagulls were standing around in the shallow water, where they felt safe from predators, and no doubt were taking advantage of the glut of worms driven to the surface. If you were* unaware* of the terrain, you would not venture into the water, but the young man in the photo knows that it is all entirely flat and only inches deep, and is walking his dog along his usual path, unconcerned by shoes full of muddy water.

* Omission phrase "if you (w)ere"


* “unaware” Advisable to insert the vowel after the N, and with “unwary” to insert the last vowel, as these two have similar meanings

The river level is controlled all along its length and such flooding is allowed in order to prevent a worse scenario in other areas along the course of the River Medway. When flooding is more severe, the full extent of it can be seen by climbing the motte (the artificial mound next to the castle building). In winter when the leaves do not obscure the view you can see fields adjacent to the river streaked with long expanses of white and grey. (1134 words)


* Omission phrase "in ord(er to)"


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Short Form Pairs (18 January 2013)

The short forms being drilled are in capitals, and similar or related words are underlined

Some short forms come in sets of two or three, with identical outlines but different positions in relation to the* line. You may know the outline, but time can be lost if you hesitate over its position. The text below highlights these sets, so that you can concentrate on practising them. I have omitted the short ones that are based on vowel signs, such as “of, to, with, when” etc and any others not included here will be covered later on. The subject matter is irrelevant and has been written only to provide practice material. The short form sets are in capitals, and other related or similar words are underlined. The easiest short form sets to remember are those where the position of the outline matches exactly the first vowel of the word, as shown in the following three paragraphs.

* Omission phrase "in relation (to) the"

Shorthand is a very SPECIAL writing system, and has been SPECIALLY designed to record the sounds that people SPEAK. A SPEAKING engagement is a chance for the shorthand writer* to take down all the spoken words. You can TELL who loves their shorthand because they practise from dawn TILL dusk and do not want to stop at all. They obviously realise the ADVANTAGE to be gained and are not put off when it gets DIFFICULT. Advice to practise never falls on deaf ears, and they know it is advantageous to deal with all the difficulties. ACCORDING* to the report, the staff were all in one ACCORD in their praise of those who CARED so much about their students. The reason that I wholly concurred was that I had concrete evidence for this and I accordingly enclose the information. They CAN send me a letter, but they must not COME to the office. CAN you COME to us next week?* Please COME if you CAN. CAN you find the can opener?

* Omission phrases "short(hand) writer"  "according (to) the"  "ne(k)s(t w)eek"

The teacher CALLED on us to read back our COLD notes, and that EQUALLED about two hours of study time. The shorthand exam was a close CALL and I am not sure I was EQUAL to the task. We were all EQUALLY surprised at our results. I was on my GUARD and I had GREAT expectations of gaining a high grade. I was QUITE surprised that I really COULD do it, and so I could not remain quiet. Never being WITHOUT my shorthand pad, THAT is the secret. The result HAS come, and the student gets HIS certificate. AS you know, my interest IS shorthand. I MYSELF enjoy writing and the teacher HIMSELF encourages his students. I practise every day AS IS my habit and my shorthand IS AS described in the instruction book. HAS HIS letter arrived yet and IS HIS shorthand certificate inside? AS HAS been mentioned before, we are planning to come to you next month*.


* Omission phrase "ne(k)s(t mon)th"

I was neither the fastest NOR the slowest in the class, but I found myself NEAR the top in this test. I seemed to have written on YARDS of paper to get all the WORDS down. Mr Ward read his notes in the backyard, where he aired the laundry, and found that his shorthand had erred with lots of weird outlines. His HAND had been UNDER a lot of strain, and it made no difference being right-handed or left-handed. His certificate was not going to be handed to him on a plate. If your actions are underhand, then you are described as being underhanded. He TRIED to think of a subject that would lead TOWARD his future TRADE. He would tread a path that no-one had trodden before. Some of the students TRIED their best to learn, but others were just plain trying! It is true that he will say nothing untoward and always utter the TRUTH. I asked the mechanic to true the bike wheels but he said they had already been trued.

Some of the pairs of short forms have their
* positions based on one of the other vowels, and not the first vowel as would be the case in a normal outline. Sometimes it is helpful to change one’s mental pronunciation of the word, putting extra emphasis on the syllable that contains the relevant vowel, so that it is obvious which position the outline goes in. I like to emphasise the third syllable of “opportunity” as that vowel is the one that matches the outline’s position. I think of the Northern English pronunciation of words like THOSE and GO which would rhyme with "pause" and "caw", and NUMBER and THUS, which would have the same vowel as "look" and that helps me place them correctly whenever hesitation threatens.

* "have their " Doubling for "their"

BE very persistent if you want TO BE a fast writer. Become attentive to your work if you want to become successful. You HAD your first lesson and were shown what you should DO, which was to write DIFFERENT shapes. Writing DIFFERENTLY made a big DIFFERENCE to your speed. The DOCTOR prescribed some very DEAR medicine DURING the illness. DR Smith is a very DEAR friend of ours who we met DURING our time at college. There was MUCH work, MUCH fun and games, and MUCH enjoyment, WHICH was just what we wanted and WHICH each and every one of us will remember for a long time
*. How much work? Did you say very much? There was much more than* we expected.


* Omission phrase "for (a) long time"  "much m(ore tha)n"

It is of course IMPORTANT that we IMPROVE our English by extensive reading and in fact* many students have already IMPROVED their knowledge of the language. The IMPORTANCE of this has been proved by a similar IMPROVEMENT in their shorthand skills. I took the customer’s PARTICULARS and gave him OPPORTUNITIES to ask questions*. I have a PARTICULAR* person in mind for this job OPPORTUNITY* to work in another part of the company. I am PARTICULARLY glad to have this OPPORTUNITY to speak to you. We are at LIBERTY to meet in the town hall, and all MEMBERS must REMEMBER to take a NUMBER of copies of the minutes. He suddenly REMEMBERED that he had not NUMBERED the pages.

* Omission phrase "in (f)act"


* "questions" Optional contraction


* Don't join "particular" or "opportunity" in phrases, as it would look like "part"


* Omission phrase "in another part (of) the company". The F/V hook for "of" is omitted so that it does not look like "number of"

I will GO to the meeting and GIVE a talk, as I have been GIVEN half an hour to speak. THOSE who attend THIS meeting will THUS learn about our courses, and I think these meetings will be very helpful. THYSELF is one of THOSE words that is not often used and might be better with a wavy line underneath as a reminder. We would like to introduce a GENTLEMAN from our club who has written a book entitled “The GENTLEMEN of New York.” His agent, a giant man, also attended. The man and woman stood up at the meeting and addressed the audience which consisted of men and some of the women from the town.

Afterwards, I settled in my CHAIR, full of Christmas CHEER. He CHAIRED a meeting of the local sports club and was CHEERED by the crowd of supporters. He will be CHAIRING the meeting and we expect there to be lots of CHEERING from the members. He is a cheery fellow. When it was OVER, he did HOWEVER THANK them and said he would THINK of them in the future. He THANKED them and said he thought highly of them. THOUGH he had finished speaking, they wanted to hear more, ALTHOUGH he had already told THEM everything. This person WAS the one WHOSE words we heard. I SHALL tell him of your WISH to see him. Thou SHALT obey the Lord thy God. "You SHALL" and "thou SHALT" always come in those exact pairs so can never be confused with each other. On its own, you would need to use a full outline: the speaker kept using the word “shalt”. This outline is not in the dictionary but is copied from sheltie, a type of Shetland
* pony.


* "Shetland" Has full T stroke, and not a halved Ish, clarity and to make it possible to insert the first vowel

If you inform ME about HIM I think you might also inform HIM about ME! Can you remember MORE of MR Smith’s REMARKS, has he INFLUENCED those who will be at the NEXT meeting? Is he IN town, does he have ANY place to stay, and does he OWN a car? He is not the owner of a car. What LANGUAGE does he speak and is there a fee OWING? What is his favourite THING to talk about, and how YOUNG is he? ARE you able to read OUR report within the next HOUR, and can we have YOUR report for the whole YEAR?

I suggest you practise each sentence, repeating it all down one page at a time
*, as well as creating your own variations of sentences. If you keep the separate sentences on one pad, you can then copy them onto your practice pad. The practice pad can be thrown away when full, but the pad with the sample sentences can be kept for repeated use and filled with extra material from your lessons. In this way you can create a master drill pad from which to copy out the sentences. This avoids the expense of buying facility drill books, which can only be* used a few times. Practice pads should be filled at “ten to the dozen” and not treated as an expensive item that you try to make last as long as possible*.


* Omission phrases "at (a) time"  "as long as poss(ible)


* "can only be" The outline for "only" on its own uses full strokes N and L

If you can write all the paragraphs above without hesitation, you will have demolished a serious threat to your speed. I cannot award you a certificate, a pat on the back, a row of silver stars on the page, or a golden chocolate coin as a reward. However, your improvement and greater confidence should be all that you need in the way of encouragement to continue working towards faster, smoother, more reliable and more enjoyable shorthand writing
*. (1616 words)


* Omission phrase "short(hand) writing"

Practice Makes Perfect: fill 'em up, throw 'em out, as fast as possible, smooth ones for fast classroom work, cheap low-quality ones for home practising

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Shorthand Gloves (21 January 2013)

I wish I could inform you of some special gloves that, when you put them on, mysteriously enable you to write shorthand at great speed without effort. I’ll let you know when I find them, but meanwhile here is a suggestion to help you continue writing in the cold. Years ago I used to sit in my garden to paint pictures in my sketchbook. This was long before I had a shorthand website or blog to consume my time. In chilly
* weather I would sometimes be brave enough to wrap up warmly and spend time outside with the paints and paper. I could* put on layers of clothing and stay perfectly warm, at least* for a while, but keeping my hands warm was another matter. I needed to hold the pencils and brushes but with gloves on they kept slipping. I tried tape and elastic bands round the pencils and brush handles, but this was impractical with so many different ones in use at one time*.

* "I could" Not phrased, as that would look too much like "I can"


* "chilly" Helpful to insert vowels, as "July weather" could also make sense here


* "at least" and "at last" Always insert the vowel


* "at one time" Halving to represent the T of "time"

I decided to knit myself some “painting gloves” using thin four-ply yarn, with good-sized holes in the places where the skin needed to touch the pencil. In this way the fingers stayed warm, which would not have been the case if I had worn fingerless mittens. I made the gloves in circular knitting, changing to back-and-forth knitting for the holes, and then resuming circular knitting above the holes. The slits are just large enough to poke the fingertips through if more control is needed. It is even easier to just cut holes in existing gloves and sew round the edges with normal sewing thread, loosely so that the hole can still stretch.

Skin can contact the pen or screen while remaining inside, or poke fingertips through

Cold hands are useless for shorthand, and it is frustrating trying to form readable outlines with movements that originate from the elbow, because the hands are stiff and sluggish. If you need to write shorthand on the go, outside in the cold, you might find the painting gloves useful. They can double as normal gloves, as the slits close up fairly well when not in use, although for really bitter cold it would be better to revert to conventional gloves and use rubber bands round the pen barrel to maintain grip. You might not need a hole on every finger, but they definitely need holes in both gloves, as the other hand will need to grasp and turn the page.

Shop-bought cheap one-size gloves with the thread sewn in. One metre of the correct conductive thread will do 3 fingertips generously, as in picture, or 6 more sparsely. This is soft silky grey thread that sews easily, and splits into plies for easier tying off. Gloves do not have to be knit material, a few stitches inside and out on any fabric will suffice.

I made my gloves long before the arrival of touchscreen devices and that is another unforeseen use for them. You can make your own touchscreen gloves by sewing conductive thread into some of the fingertips, ensuring that the thread touches the skin inside the glove as well as the screen on your Ipod*, Iphone or tablet. It has to be the correct conductive thread, as so-called* “metallic* threads” for decorative* sewing work may be made of shiny polyester to resemble metal, and that will not do the job. You can then have gloves in your chosen design, colour and size, rather than the ubiquitous grey offerings one sees for sale.

* "Ipod" and "Ipad" Always insert the second vowel, to differentiate


* "so-called" Note that "called" on its own is a short form


* "metallic" Ensure the K is long and clear, as "metal" could also make sence, helpful also to insert the last vowel

* Make the hook on the Kay very clear, so that it does not look like "conductive"


Icy fingers, but not mine

If you suffer from cold hands even when indoors, wearing gloves of any sort is not really practical or comfortable. I have found that just covering the backs of the hands is very effective, as the heat loss there can trigger the shutting down of the fingertips. I have on occasion used cut-off cuffs from summer ankle socks, with slits for the thumb to go through, to provide a very thin covering to prevent heat loss, with no sewing of any kind necessary. This made a huge difference in comfort, with no hindrance to movement, or the feeling that my hands were over-wrapped. There was no expense at all, as sock feet wear out anyway, with the cuff part still perfectly usable. It provided just enough protection to persuade the fingers that all is under control and they need not shut down and leave me and my typing in the lurch. My main weapon against cold fingers, however, is exercise and a trip on foot to the shops improves general circulation for the remainder of the day.


Crunch time for the old socks: Cut-off cuffs from jumpers, or any rectangle of suitable fabric sewn into a tube, with hole left for thumb.

It seems to me* unlikely that shorthanders will want to spend time knitting, but there might be a friend or relative interested in sewing and yarn crafts who is just looking for an excuse to make something easy, inexpensive and different for a “surprise” birthday gift. As a knitter, I can assure you that other knitters are always on the lookout for unusual or creative projects to solve a problem with their fibre skills. They are also probably a bit bored with only making things for themselves and would enjoy some appreciation from someone other than the person in the mirror.


* Omission phrase "it seems (to) me" Helpful to insert the last vowel, as there are two similar phrases "it seems important" (no vowel needed) and "it is mos(t) important" (insert vowel in "most")


Grey not compulsory

If you do decide to knit or modify your own gloves, you would be eating into your shorthand practising time, and I think you can guess what I will suggest in order to
* avoid that delay in your progress. All you need to do is listen to the radio or a talk, and while you are visualising the outlines, the gloves will appear to knit or sew themselves very quickly indeed. At the same time* you will keep your fingers nicely supple for their more important job of producing the other type of loops and circles – shorthand ones. Once your fingers know how to knit, they seem to do it of their own accord automatically, leaving your mind free for what is coming next, and that is exactly what you are aiming for in shorthand – automaticity, which is the purpose and the very gratifying result of all your hours spent practising writing and reading. (940 words)


* Omission phrase "in ord(er to)"

www.ravelry.com Online knitting community with advice, blogs and patterns submitted by members. Get your knitting-mad friend to search "glove patterns" and sit back and wait for the summons to a fitting session or a request for a tracing of your hand size!

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Short Forms Non-Pairs Part 1 (29 January 2013)


The short forms being drilled are in capitals, and similar or related words are underlined

This article is for revising the remainder of the stroke short forms, the ones that do not come in pairs or sets. I have divided them into those whose position follows the first vowel, which makes them easier to learn, and those which do not, which need somewhat more practice to become automatic. Vowel short forms will follow later.

Where have I PUT my shorthand pen? Did I PUT it on the desk? Please PUT the book back on the table. He was very PUT out when he lost his keys. Are you PUTTING your name on the list? I will be PUTTING the list on the noticeboard. I will pay by cheque and PUT it in the post. The golfing terms putt and putting are pronounced differently and have normal outlines. I am sure you are enjoying learning the PRINCIPLES of shorthand. He kept to his PRINCIPLES and did not behave like the others. PRINCIPLE is a noun that means a main component, item or theory of a SUBJECT. The adjective that goes with it is spelled PRINCIPAL and means main, chief or primary. My PRINCIPAL job is secretary, but sometimes I help the PEOPLE in the accounts department. His PRINCIPAL reason for studying shorthand was to take notes of what PEOPLE say. The head or PRINCIPAL teacher in a college is called the PRINCIPAL for short, and this is known as an adjectival noun, in the same way as one says “the rich” “the poor” or “the French” as nouns. We are PRINCIPALLY concerned with learning shorthand.

Many PEOPLE study the SUBJECT of English. The students often SUBJECT themselves to many hours of practising. The city was full of PEOPLE from the country. The town was peopled with men and women
* from another area. The peopling of the region is continuing and this is the SUBJECT of my new book. I BELIEVE he SUBJECTED himself to weeks of training, in the BELIEF that he would win the race. Nobody BELIEVED what he said, as everyone thought his views were too SUBJECTIVE. I will continue BELIEVING that I can pass the necessary exam. The labourers were kept in SUBJECTION but their BELIEFS enabled them to survive. It is quite BELIEVABLE that he will succeed. It is absolutely UNBELIEVABLE that we have been asked to do this. I am a great believer in regular exercise. All the PEOPLE in the church were believers. Many PEOPLE in the BUILDING are trying to BALANCE their work and home lives. BALANCING the two SUBJECTS is not always easy. The PEOPLE in the sales department are working on the BALANCE-sheets. This person has a very BALANCED view of life.


* Omission phrase "men (and) women"

The salesman worked hard to BUILD a successful career. He has been able to BUILD it in a very short time
* indeed. Ask the builder how many houses he has built and whether he will be BUILDING any more. Due to unforeseen CIRCUMSTANCES everyone must leave the BUILDING. We must consider every CIRCUMSTANCE before making our decision. We will not give in under any CIRCUMSTANCES. Under no CIRCUMSTANCES will they surrender. Things are very difficult in these CIRCUMSTANCES. The judge said that circumstantial evidence is not enough. In this instance, we found his stance on the new situation to be quite acceptable. We will be able to make DELIVERIES tomorrow. He DELIVERED his speech to a LARGE crowd. He spoke regarding the DELIVERANCE of the prisoners. The postman* will DELIVER the letters this morning.


* Omission phrase "short (t)ime"


* "Postman" Omits the lightly sounded T

The parcel was quite LARGE, very much LARGER than the previous one. A LARGE part of the
* job is to take shorthand notes at meetings. If you write very LARGE outlines your shorthand is likely to be slower. The CHILD is LARGELY responsible for this situation. His behaviour is more CHILDish than CHILDlike*, and he has obviously not left his CHILDhood behind. The children are in the LARGEST classroom. Our SCHOOLmasters were called Mr Childs* and Mr Rothschild*. The SCHOOLboys and SCHOOLgirls were taught by the SCHOOLteachers. The scholars had been very well* SCHOOLED in the SUBJECTS of reading and writing. The children went to the pre-SCHOOL and remained in the CARE of the teachers. If you are CARING for someone, you are giving them succour, an outline that looks very similar if hastily written. We want to be CAREful but we do not want to be full of CARES. CAREless outlines will be misread so it is better to write them CAREfully. CARElessness may very well* be a LARGE part of the* current problem, if not the LARGEST in our opinion. Here is an optional contraction for both CAREful and CAREfully.

* Omission phrase "large part (of) the" Omits the F/V hook for "of" to avoid looking like "large number of the"


* "childlike" The dictionary outline can only be written somewhat squashed, write disjoined if preferred


* "Childs" "Rothschild" Short forms are not used in names


* Omission phrase "very (w)ell" although you could insert the semicircle W sign if necessary

The GENERAL public CANNOT find any JUSTIFICATION for this decision. There is generally no JUSTIFICATION for this type of behaviour. The court is not justified in taking this action. The GENERAL Manager contacted the office staff regarding the visit by the Major GENERAL. I CANNOT find a book on the GENERAL PRINCIPLES of physics. The librarian could not help either, although he is GENERALLY very helpful. They replied to the questions
* with vague answers and GENERALISATIONS. One should only generalise after discussing the SUBJECT in depth FIRST. You CANNOT fail if you follow all the GENERAL PRINCIPLES of theory. I CANNOT find a LARGE course book on my SUBJECT. I can’t seem to find any GENERAL knowledge books. We can’t find them either.


* "questions" Optional contraction


I called at the valuers for a VALUATION of the GOLD items. There was a GOLD watch, a GOLD necklace, some GOLD coins and a gilded ornament in the shape of a golden eagle. He said that the ornament was not made of GOLD but of clay, which someone had TRIED to gild to make it less ugly. I have had SEVERAL VALUATIONS with which I am VERY pleased. He was VERY happy BECAUSE a THIRD of the PEOPLE voted for him. SEVERAL of the PEOPLE however did not vote for anyone. If you divide the cake into THIRDS, that means that three PEOPLE will be VERY pleased indeed. The driver did not have any THIRD party insurance
*. A THIRD of the population were under the age of thirty. A THIRD of the children were under the age of three. The group was divided into threes and the money into THIRDS. I used a THIRD of the sewing thread. This is the THIRD threat that we have had against us this year through the Internet.


* "insurance" Can also be written as an intersection Stroke Ns


* "population" Keep the Shun hook large and clear, as "populace" is similar in outline and meaning

I am here BECAUSE you asked me to come. He was delighted BECAUSE of the letter he received. I did not come BECAUSE it was raining. That was the cause of my absence. I am VERY happy BECAUSE it is payday today. If someone abbreviates this word to ‘cos, you need to PUT the vowel in. The song was entitled “Cos Of You.” I lost weight BECAUSE all I had to eat were Kos lettuces. She got the job BECAUSE she could write shorthand. There are visitors from SOUTHERN counties WITHIN this group. Everyone spoke with a SOUTHERN accent and they all wore SOUTHERN style clothes. We get our power from the SOUTHERN Electric Company. These southerners had bags that were not WITHIN the weight limits. Southerly winds affected the south of the country. The heating WITHIN the factory was very expensive. We are WITHIN our rights to complain. Is there anything WITHIN the envelope? Everything has been cleaned WITHIN and WITHOUT. What is your OPINION on this report? The manager asked for our OPINIONS. Everyone has an OPINION but some PEOPLE are just opinionated. Many PEOPLE change their minds when there are new facts.

FOR and off are the same so it is advisable to put the vowel in the latter. His remarks to Mr Smith are FOR the record*, but his remarks to Mr Jones are off the record*. The items on page one are FOR the list, but those on page two are off the list. I took off my coat and looked FOR my slippers. FOR your convenience, I will take this item off the bill. I am looking FOR the mistakes; if I find any, I will then be looking over the mistakes and making corrections. He threw the ball FOR the team and it seems he threw the ball over the team as well. The personnel manager was looking FOR the application forms. The secretary was looking over the application forms. Keep the outline FOR at its correct angle so that it does not look like "in"*. I am working in another country but I am not working FOR another country. I shall be coming FOR a day or two. I shall be coming in a day or two. I am searching FOR my shorthand dictionary. When I find it, I will be searching in the dictionary. We will meet with you FOR a while. We will meet with you in a while.

* "in" Insert the vowel, even though the short form does not have one, because there is no context when you are describing a word in isolation, and this is also the outline for "any"


* "off the record" Essential to insert the vowel in "off", as this has opposite meaning to "for the record" See www.long-live-pitmans-shorthand.org.uk/phrasing6-misc.htm#DistinguishingPairs

THERE are ten young people in the shorthand class. THERE are desks and chairs and THERE are pads and paper everywhere. THERE are strokes to learn and THERE are lines to copy. THERE are exams to pass and THERE are certificates to gain. They have filled THEIR pens and sharpened THEIR pencils. THERE may be more PEOPLE interested in adding to THEIR skills. We are THEREFORE PUTTING an advertisement in the paper. We hope that* THERE is a good response. They are all very good learners and THEREFORE they are not going to fail THEIR exams.


* Omission phrase "we (ho)pe that"

Write the FIRST sentence neatly then copy it down the page. With this method you will have FIRSTclass shorthand. I know from FIRSTHAND experience that he always does a FIRSTrate job
*. FIRSTLY* I would like to thank all those who WISHED me well. He WISHED he had washed the car before going out. He WISHED to pass the exam but came SHORT in his marks. He was a wisher but not a doer*. His results fell SHORT of what he had hoped, and he will SHORTLY be doing the work again. What is the shortest outline you can think of? There is nothing shorter than writing a tick or a dot, except omitting a word altogether. It is very apt that the outline for SHORTHAND is made up of two SHORT forms. (1706 words)


* "firs(t)rate" "firs(t)ly" These omit the lightly sounded T


* "doer" using the short form "do" therefore has a dot vowel, not a diphone

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Short Forms Non-Pairs Part 2 (29 January 2013)

The short forms being drilled are in capitals, and similar or related words are underlined

I am SURE he is not being SELFISH. He has never shown any SELFISHNESS before. He wrote about his own self in his book. He thinks of others before self. They will SURELY be interested in the self-defence classes. Are you SURE that is right? SURELY you are not wrong? Mr Black is not SURE about that. Mr Black is unSURE about that. It is OUR PLEASURE to send you the book. It gave him great PLEASURE to read about the NORTHERN railways. OUR holidays in NORTHERN EUROPE were very pleasurable. OUR NORTHERN representative will arrive in the next few HOURS


* Omission phrase "ne(k)s(t) few hours"

In the next HOUR we will see OUR family again. YOUR friends and OUR friends live in the north. Some of the letters are YOURS and some are OURS. If you look after YOURSELVES, we can then see to OURSELVES. You wrote about YOURSELVES and we wrote about OURSELVES. Give YOURself a rest today for an HOUR or two. This idea of yours is absolutely WONDERFUL. I had a WONDERFUL time. He writes shorthand WONDERFULLY well but I don’t know WHETHER or not
* he can read it back. Shorthand is WONDERFULLY useful but I do not know WHETHER I will pass the exam. WHETHER or not* you pass, I am SURE you will succeed WONDERFULLY in your new job. I wondered what to do, WHETHER to go out in the wet weather. WE bought the book and WE have read the lessons. WE are able to remember almost everything and WE might pass the test. WE are going to the office but WE will not be staying very long. WE were at the meeting last week* and WE spoke about the subject. If WE have your address, WE will send you a letter. When WE come WE may speak to you if WE can find the time. WE came home in the wee small hours. In England WE have small children, but in Scotland WE may hear them being called wee bairns. Have WE found the way yet?


* Omission phrases "whether (or) not"  "las(t w)eek"

This paragraph has those short forms that are positioned according to the second vowel. In most of them this is the accented syllable*, which helps in remembering them. This INSTRUCTION book is very useful. Please read the INSTRUCTION manual thoroughly. This new INFORMATION will be very INSTRUCTIVE for the staff. Instruct the men to start work. The teacher instructed the students to read page one. The phrase “for your information* is another way to write this word. A book that contains lots
* of useful INFORMATION is described as being informative or INSTRUCTIONAL. Note that the outline for INFORMATION is above the line and OPINION is on the line. It was a great SURPRISE because I had thought it was IMPOSSIBLE. I was not SURPRISED that he wrote a letter on my BEHALF. They gave him a SURPRISE gift on BEHALF of all the staff. This report is written on BEHALF of those named above. He said that the job was IMPOSSIBLE. It is just IMPOSSIBLE to speak to them. They are impossibly stubborn which is not at all SURPRISING. They do not like dealing with IMPOSSIBILITIES, they prefer the easy and the possible jobs. It is no SURPRISE as some of them are impossibly difficult to talk to.

* In the very early days of Pitman's Shorthand, the position of the outline was decided according to the accented vowel, but that was later changed to the first vowel. This is the reason some of the short forms are positioned as they are.


* Omission phrase "for your (informa)tion"


* "lots" and "masses" Always insert the vowel, as these are similar in outline and meaning

The following paragraphs contain the short forms whose position does not accord with their vowels. How long have you BEEN in the office? They have really BEEN enjoying themselves. Mr Green has BEEN to see us but he has not BEEN given his letter. Have you BEEN to the office this morning? I have not BEEN out to buy the beans. They have occasionally BEEN seen in the Coffee Bean café. Take IT down, write IT out, practise IT many times, and IT will become much easier to REMEMBER. Buy IT, prepare IT, cook IT and eat IT. IT is obvious that IT will be necessary to increase practising time nearer the exam. I have great SATISFACTION in recommending this product. The company offered guaranteed SATISFACTION or our money back. SATISFACTION means that you are satisfied with something. They will INSCRIBE the stone with his name. They have INSCRIBED the plate with the man’s name and village. The INSCRIPTION was written entirely in English. He will be INSCRIBING the plaque with the list of donors. When he INSCRIBES it, make sure it is right. He is a very good inscriber in metal and stone.

A red light SIGNIFIES stop and green SIGNIFIES go. What did these marks SIGNIFY? We think that they SIGNIFIED numbers. This is a SIGNIFICANT addition to your knowledge. We wish
* to know the SIGNIFICANCE of these actions. We are not sure of the SIGNIFICATION of their messages. I do not understand all these figures, what are they actually SIGNIFYING? At the bottom of the sign was the man’s signature. We received an offer FROM him. We had a letter FROM England, a parcel FROM India and a telephone call FROM the office in France. We are free FROM problems and are now receiving orders FROM our customers. I have a letter FROM him, a fax FROM her and a text FROM the other PEOPLE.


* "We wish" The Ish can be lowered, to get it through the line, to differentiate this phrase from "we shall"

He TOLD us all about it FROM his own point of view. TOLD is the past tense of TELL which used to mean “count” and is still used in the phrase automatic teller machine (ATM). When I have TOLD a story, I have recounted it. The WRITER TOLD the story, but the bellringers tolled the bells and the farmer tilled the soil. We HAVE received his letter and we HAVE written our reply. The staff HAVE arrived and the managers HAVE spoken to them. The workers HAVE BEEN here and HAVE finished the job. HAVE a rest, HAVE a drink of water and then call Mr Havelock. I am HAVING a great time and next week
* we are HAVING a party. HAVE you had the invitation and HAVE you time to come? Yes I HAVE but I HAVE not had time to reply. I haven’t had much time at all.


* Omission phrase "ne(k)s(t w)eek"

It is quite USUAL that MOST of the staff work overtime HOURS. I will be in the office as USUAL. As USUAL the accounts staff have finished the report in good time. Shorthand is my USUAL way of writing, but I USUALLY write in longhand for my signature. I think this is UNUSUAL, but I can USUALLY read my notes. They are MOSTLY written at low speed and so they are ALMOST perfect. It is, of course, MOST IMPORTANT to get the figures right. This letter is MOST urgent and must be SENT immediately. It is ALMOST time to go home. It is ALMOST
IMPOSSIBLE to complete the work on time. I think it is ALMOST certain that he has sent the letters. That is the MOST likely outcome and we are MOST probably going to speak to him about it. It is MOST IMPORTANT* that the job is finished this week*. It is now ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE to get the right staff.


"mos(t)" "mus(t)" Where joined in a phrase, these usually omits the lightly sounded T


* Most” needs the vowel here, so that the phrase does not read “it seems important”


* Omission phrase "this (w)eek"

I think he is being INFLUENCED by what the PEOPLE are saying. By being honest and nice they are INFLUENCING the young people of this country. “Driving under the INFLUENCE” refers to the INFLUENCE of alcohol. There are many INFLUENCES affecting the school’s pupils. He is a very influential speaker and I am glad that his INFLUENCE is a good one. The WRITER made a copy of the LORD’S prayer in shorthand. He was RATHER pleased with the result and SENT a copy to LORD White. He said he would RATHER work as a WRITER. I prefer to read books by this WRITER RATHER than the other one you TOLD me about. The LORD Mayor has much INFLUENCE in the city. I have SENT a message to LORD Brown asking him to use his INFLUENCE in this matter. His LORDship has SENT an important message. LORD Gray has a very LORD-like manner of SPEAKING. He lives in a LORDLY house. Mr Lord played at the cricket headquarters Lord’s
*. He was always lording it over his colleagues.


* "Lord's" Short forms are not used for names

You SENT us a letter last week
* and THEREFORE WE will send you a reply. The past tense SENT is written above the line to prevent confusion with the present tense send. I SENT you a text message and I hope you will* send me your answer. I have SENT him an email* and he is sending a reply right now. Who is the sender* of that text? I have SENT my mother a bottle of scent and some scented notepaper. The boss signed the letter and the secretary SENT the letter. The signer and the sender* of a letter may be two different people. Mr Gray has not SENT any payment.


* Omission phrase "las(t w)eek"  " I (h)ope you will"


* "email" Always insert the first vowel, as this is similar to "mail"

* Not thickened, as the D sound is represented by the doubling. Thickened would be a doubled Ing stroke

I hope* your time spent practising these essential outlines is paying off. The difficulty with hesitating over such words is that you know there is a short form for that word and your writing can come to a complete halt while you struggle to recall it. This is quite unlike creating a hasty outline with full strokes in the hopes of it being readable, even if not correct. I would say that* working on the whole article at once* will probably be counter-productive*. I would suggest that it is much better to do a few sentences at a time* thoroughly, making your own variations on them, and then move on to others when you need a change. In this way your shorthand gains are more likely to be solid, permanent, reliable and constantly growing. (1599 words)

* Omission phrase "I (h)ope"  "I would s(ay) that"  "at (wu)ns"  "at (a) time"


* “counter” on its own is doubled, but this version is used for a better join in a compound word

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