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February 2013


Garden Diary


Just Do It


Keep Calm Carry On Writing


Short Forms from Vowel Signs Part 1


Short Forms from Vowel Signs Part 2


Short Forms from Vowel Signs Part 3


Garden Diary (5 February 2013)

I am getting used to seeing a green garden once again*, after our short bout of snow. Today I have been inspecting the garden to check up on whether there are any signs of spring growth. With the cold gusty winds this is usually a quick scoot round the muddy paths with the camera, to see if anything noteworthy is happening. The white blobs that I noticed from the safety of the kitchen window turned out to be a sprinkling of snowdrops round the base of two small newly-planted apple trees. Amazingly* they are in good shape, and I am hoping that they will thrive and multiply. Their greyish leaves are quite different from grass so it will be easy to spot them if new ones appear elsewhere.


* Omission phrase "wu(n)s again"


* "amazingly" and "amusingly" Always insert the vowel after the M in these and derivatives



Below a tree is a good place for bulbs as, being small, they do not interfere with the tree’s progress during the year
*, and most importantly no digging occurs there, so there is no chance of them being spiked by the garden fork. I like to throw in a few bulbs when planting a shrub, for this reason, and the branches can also support the taller ones like daffodils and tulips. I find crocus do very well as they do not suffer so much from the very dry conditions underneath a bush. The winter jasmine has been struggling along with its yellow flowers, often somewhat limp after being frosted over the last few weeks*.


* Omission phrases "during (the) year"  "last few wee(k)s"

There is one little primrose growing in a crack in the path, which has been flowering since about November. Although I cannot move it to a safer place, I think it is probably doing a good job of shedding seeds that will come up elsewhere, notably in a patch of gravel under the garden seat nearby. All the bulbs are now coming through and the daffodils are showing their
* buds. In the clay soil of my garden bulbs seem to die out after a short time*, as they get dry and cracked in the summer, and soggy and waterlogged in the winter. I have resorted to growing them in big pots and buckets, which can be moved around for best effect. When they have finished, they stay in the pots and I put flower seeds in for the summer. Over* winter I have to cover them in wire netting against squirrels who like to dig into them, either burying things or digging them back out.


* "showing their" Doubling for "their"


* Omission phrase "short (t)ime"


* "over" Keep well above the line, as "every winter" would also make sense here


Although the sky is blue and the sun* is streaming through the window, the weather forecast is further wintry showers and possibly light snow* and sleet, but now that the plants are “on the move” I do not feel quite so interested in seeing heaps of snow to go out and take photos of. Sometimes February can be quite mild but at present the sunny days are best enjoyed either walking briskly, with the warm shops as the target destination, or viewed from a cosy computer corner, with a beautiful view of my previous year’s apple blossom on my Windows desktop. (508 words)

* "sun/snow, sunny/snowy" Always put the vowels in



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Just Do It (15 February 2013)

How often have you heard the phrase "Just do it"? I must admit that this is one that I find rather subversive. It seems to be* encouraging me to do something and the "just" part is telling me not to consider*, hesitate or even think at all about what I am doing, at least* not long enough to decide against it. I can think all I like after the event, when it will be too late to change my mind. If I obey this apparently urgent suggestion, then any reservations I have about the action can be overridden, the deed is done and the consequences follow. Maybe I will have acted too quickly for my own good. I might just prefer to wonder why someone would want me to suspend my judgment at that point, hence my suspicion at the motive behind this catchy saying. It may be an advertiser or anyone who might benefit from impulsive behaviour, or even friends who would prefer an accomplice rather than an observer.


* Omission phrase "it seems (to) be"  "to (con)sider"


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

Having decided that this phrase serves someone else more than me, I realised later on that something similar to this type of behaviour does have its rightful place at certain times. In a pressured* situation where there is no time* to think, well-practised reactions are the ones at the front of the "queue". A pilot, doctor, soldier or police officer all have to act rapidly at times, with no spare seconds to wonder what to do or to consult anyone or anything else. Their training has supplied them with all the advice and knowledge they need, in order to take the best course of action for the situation that faces them. The difference is that they don't "just do it", they do not suspend their good judgement, but they "do it immediately" and act very quickly in ways that have been determined beforehand* as being the most appropriate


* "pressured" Keep the Shr stroke clearly halved, as "pressure" could also make sense


* "there is no time" It is generally best to insert the vowel in "no" in phrases, so that it never gets misread as "any"


* "beforehand" Optional contraction


* "appropriate" Always insert the diphone and the first vowel in "proper" as these two are similar in outline and meaning

A beginner in shorthand, after their very first dictation attempt, will probably have realised that there is no time
* for hesitating, considering, constructing outlines from theory, waiting for them to slowly surface from memory, or anything other than instant writing of the outline. Being required to write immediately and not being given enough time to recall them seems most unfair, quite unreasonable and downright cruel! A glance at the shorthand dictionary will reveal tens of thousands of even longer outlines, and it is amazing* that anyone perseveres in their shorthand quest with this seemingly impossible task ahead. Any such discouraging thoughts must be firmly erased by replacing them with remembering how much has been learned already and building on the successes.


* "there is no time" It is generally best to insert the vowel in "no" in phrases, so that it never gets misread as "any"


* "amazing" and "amusing" Always insert the vowel

In my class we were fortunate enough to have a very skilled teacher with many years’ experience, and she was always full of encouragement. However, we did get a shock in one particular lesson when our typewriting teacher took the class in her absence. I think she saw everyone leaning over, slouching, and drawing slow and heavy-handed outlines. A peaceful cosy classroom is not the place where one expects to need or acquire the mindset of a runner or sprinter. With a mixture of kindly impatience on our behalf and a desire to do away permanently with our plodding manner, she decided that we needed a rocket under us, so to speak
*. Every mark written in a leisurely manner was consolidating that slow frame of mind* and this had to be eliminated as soon as possible*. She told us boldly that shorthand was not meant to be written slowly and that doing so would hold us back indefinitely. She got us to write very simple phrases like "it is" "for the" "to our" along the line as fast as we could*. "Come on, quicker, faster, how many times can you write it before I say stop."


* Omission phrases "so (to) speak"  "frame (of) mind"  "as soon as poss(ible"


* "we could" Not phrased, so that it does not look like "we can"

Everyone rose to the challenge and we were informed that those who had managed to write “it is” ten times in fifteen seconds had written at 80 words a minute. We were thoroughly astonished by this revelation, as any thoughts of high speed had been seen as belonging to the far distant future, that is, next term. By the end of the lesson we were still full of energy, buzzing from our unexpected speed achievements, and looking forward to more next time
*. We were still only raw beginners, but this early taste of success and introduction to the speed writer's attitude set us all on the path to exam victory. I don't think our shorthand teacher recognised us as the same students when she returned to take her class!


* Omission phrase "ne(k)s(t) time"

Having attacked and practised those phrases, we were able to "just do it" when they were dictated to us. The same applies to every shorthand outline that you are ever called upon to write. If you learn an outline, you can merely "do it", maybe slowly, maybe eventually. This might be sufficient if you only want to write a private diary or a shopping list. But if you practise assiduously, you can "just do it", the word "just" meaning you have removed any hesitation in your writing.

If it is altered to “just write it” it becomes a motto for practising shorthand, where any pressure is self-imposed for the specific purpose of attaining your goal of increased familiarity and therefore speed. You copy a correct outline, phrase or sentence, and you “just write it” over and over again
*, saying the words to yourself. No exhausting effort, mental gymnastics or leaps of genius are required. No thoughts of theory need intrude and there is no need to dredge up the outline from memory, as it is right there on the line above. All you need to do is not only just do it, but keep on doing it until it can be written smoothly and legibly. (969 words)


* Omission phrase "over (and) over again" The second "over" is reversed in order to gain a good join


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Keep Calm Carry On Writing (17 February 2013)


I enjoy the Keep Calm posters, especially the ones that include some play on words that is original and witty. They seem to suggest that the standard solution to any problem is to indulge in a favourite pastime. One must carry on regardless, unruffled, unfazed and unflustered*, the aim being to counteract the indignity of circumstances taking away one’s composure and self-control. Cool, calm and collected used to be the common phrase that described this stance. No doubt the Keep Calm slogan’s popularity will eventually run its course and become unfashionable and maybe even antique, although the more durable products and the almost indestructible carrier bags with this design are likely to outlast the catchphrase.

* "flustered" is written with a left FL, as are all outlines beginning FL

Absolute knitter's favourite: Keep Calm Carry Yarn


Keeping calm is what the shorthand writer* is trying to do anyway, when faced with a difficulty, dismay at gaps or the horror of falling behind the speaker, but often without having purposely practised and strengthened this attitude. The slightest inkling of rising panic will be a temptation to veer away from the business of note-taking. Keeping calm is the opposite of panic, and I have found that the resolve not to be put off by stray thoughts needs cultivating and building up just the same as the actual outlines do, and responds to deliberate attention and practice in the same way.


* Omission phrase "short(hand) writer"


Battlefield of the mind, my friend - resist - stay steadfast!

I think of it as exercising a mental “muscle” just like a physical one, which jumps into action much more
* readily than those that were not exercised, and has the power behind it to carry out its task. One might think it would be easier to wait patiently until one knows to perfection all the outlines in existence and can write at umpteen hundred words a minute*, but that outcome does seem rather unlikely if, at the same time, the habit of giving in to mental distractions is being allowed to become ever stronger. I invite* you to download the pictures to use as a reminder to prioritise dealing with this less obvious side of shorthand writing*. (334 words)


* Omission phrase "much m(ore)"  "words (a) minute"  "short(hand) writing"


* "invite" Helpful to insert the vowel, as it could be misread for "invade" in some contexts, the opposite meaning



Keep Calm Poster 63KB, Nibs Crown 26 KB, and Bookmark 36 KB

Save these GIFs from this page, they have crisp edges and flat colour so that you can recolour as desired and print your own items

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Short Forms From Vowel Signs Part 1 (28 February 2013)

The vowel sign short forms represent the commonest words, appearing in just about every sentence, and so if you do not know them perfectly, hesitation over them will affect a large proportion of your writing. They should not be allowed to get mixed up in the hopes of making sense from the context, instead of having accurate outlines. Because they do not have the distinctive shapes of the longer outlines, they deserve extra attention and a good way of tackling them is to practise them in their pairs, with an extra emphasis on recognising that they reflect the vowel of the word (with the exception of: “and”, joined “he”, “why”).

Practice sentences for short forms tend to be a combination of good efficient compact phrases interspersed with a row of some that cannot be phrased, and such sentences can be surprisingly difficult to write at speed, the stop-start effect being slow and unsettling. It might be more helpful to write them at comfortable (not slow!) speeds, for consolidation of your knowledge of them, rather than going at high speed. Complete and instant familiarity with them is what will contribute towards speed improvement on more normal matter, where these signs are scattered through, rather than concentrated in one short sentence. A spot and blemish-free notepad is also essential so that the only dots and dashes are the ones that you have written. If you had no choice but to use spotty paper on occasion, then changing to red ink might be useful to prevent misreadings.

THE DOTS – “A/an” and “the” should not be written too close to other outlines, as they may be mistaken for their vowel signs. In the older books you may see “ah!” and “eh?/aye” given as extra options using a heavy dot, but they are not always mentioned in the later editions of instruction books. This last one rhymes with pay, and “aye” means “ever”. If you need to write a lone vowel sound, you can write a placeholder stroke thus – (I) – which is a vertical stroke like Tee but with a crossbar at the top and bottom, and then you can place your vowel sign against it. Having written that stroke, you would naturally place the vowel sign after it, but if the exclamation consisted of two vowel sounds, it would make sense to write one before and one after. With this reliable way of representing lone vowel utterances, you need not concern yourself about the thickness of your dots for “a/an” and “the”.

The dot for “the” is only written when a tick “the” is not possible
*, for example at the beginning of a sentence or because the tick cannot join the previous stroke or because the sense requires a slight pause. Another reason for using the dot is when you have stopped writing while waiting for the speaker to continue, as it is not good practice to go back to make or add to a phrase when your pen has left the outline. It is also risky to write the tick in advance when the speaker pauses, assuming that it will be necessary, and then finding out that it is not forthcoming after all!


* Omission phrase "it is not poss(ible)

A/AN, THE Take a pad and a pencil, and write a letter to a friend. I have to write a letter, send an email, compose a report and make a phone call, all in an hour. I have a list of items to get, an apple, a pear, a box of eggs, a bottle of water, a loaf of bread and a large bag of potatoes. The man finds the woman, the woman finds the dog and the dog finds the cat. The city, the town, the village and the house are all on the map. When he opens the letter, he will be very surprised. The one dancing the best will be getting the prize. Later on the rules for loaning the cars will be changed. He was balancing the commitments very well. We are learning the outlines and practising the words. (673 words)


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Short Forms From Vowel Signs Part 2 (28 February 2013)

THE DASHES With the exception of “and” and the joined “he” sign, all the dash signs match the vowel of the words. If you were
* writing them as full ordinary outlines, instead of short forms, you would be using exactly the same dash, although written at differing angles to match the different strokes.

OF, TO I gave the name of the book to the man. At the end of the month I will write to the customer. Some of the staff are going to the meeting. Some of my college friends came to my party. How many of your family are coming to your house? Many of those attending belong to those clubs. Much of this work has been given to this department.

At the end of a phrase, “of” and “off” can be represented by the V hook. A group of people have arrived. He is a member of the club. There are a number of people waiting. The animals carried off the food. The plane took off yesterday.


* Omission phrase "if you (w)ere"

ALL, TOO/TWO All the people came to the interview. I have written all this in my notes. All those in favour should sign the form. We have all our staff ready to start the job. I have seen all your letters that you sent to all the customers. I have received
* two telephone calls this morning. We have two men working on this. Please make two copies of this report. I too would like to apply for this post. You are all too kind and I thank you for your comments. My friends came too and so we had to find two more seats. The office is too small, we really need two much larger rooms. If the coat is too big, I can take two inches off the hem. The goods are too expensive and we have lost too many customers.

“All” is joined in the the following: alway, always, all-wise, almighty, almightiness, almost, already, although, altogether, All Saints’ Day. All-important and all-in are not joined. The vowel itself, not the short form, is joined in the following and their derivatives: albeit, alder, all-clear, all-fours, All Fool's Day, All-Hallows, all-hail, All Souls' Day, also, allseed, allspice, alter/altar, awl, alternative: using stroke L for these makes better joins

* Omission phrase "I have (re)ceived"


* That is, in the words that are derived from the word "all" where you might expect the short form

ON, BUT These signs are vertical. “On the” and “but the” are sloped slightly to the right, to prevent them looking like the I diphthong.

Put the cup on the table but the book must go on the shelf. I am on my own today but my friends are coming later. I have several people on my staff and they are on the job at this very moment. I am going to write on this theme but this will take quite a long time. I will be working on the new book all next week
* but the time will go very quickly. Can you speak on such a subject and are there others on which you could speak? On what do you intend basing your report? I am basing it on my time at the factory and when I was on the staff at our headquarters. I am relying on you to work today, but you may take tomorrow off if you wish.

* Omission phrase "ne(k)s(t) week"

OWE/OH/O, HE The other tenses “owes” and “owed” are written as full outlines, and “owing” is a stroke short form. We owe this company a large amount. How much do they owe us? You owe it to yourself to solve this problem. I am glad that I do not owe anyone anything. The man owes our business a lot of money, in fact
* he owes us many thousands of pounds*. She owes her success to her family who helped her greatly. This book owes its title to the person who inspired the story. We owed some money but we have paid it all back now. I am sure I have never owed this person anything. I knew what he owed, it was the same as many of our customers owed at the time. Is there a bill owing from this person? Owing to staff shortages, the office is closed. I am unable to come owing to other business matters. “Oh no, “ said the man loudly. “Oh yes,” said the assistant. They sang the carol “O Little Town of Bethlehem” followed by the hymn “O Worship the King.” Owing* to the adverse weather, our Languages* Department is closed today.

* Omission phrase "in (f)act"


* "pounds" Always insert the diphthong, as it could be misread as "pence" in some contexts


* "owing" and "language" share the same short form

The thick dash for “he” does not reflect the vowel sound. It is only used in the middle or end of phrases. When using the stroke for “he”, alone or phrased, it is written downwards. The apostrophied versions “he’s” “he’d” “he’ll”* are written as per normal rules for full outlines.


He will come to the office if he can find the time. He can stay at the house when he arrives if he wishes. Is he going to return and do you think he will stay with the company? I think he is not going to stay at home. If he comes back, tell him that he has some letters to answer. When he calls, he will need to speak to someone that he can trust. He is going to be a great success if he can get started in the business. All the people said, “He’s no good” but if he will work hard he will prove them wrong. His father said, “He’d better make a start tomorrow if he’s going to get the job done in time.” They said, “He’ll be back tomorrow.”


* “He’ll” is formed slightly differently, see www.long-live-pitmans-shorthand.org.uk/phrasing7-misc.htm#contractedapostrophe

AND, SHOULD The dash for “and” does not reflect the vowel sound and the sign was obviously allocated to this word because it is one of the quickest and joins well. “And” and “should” are best not used at the end of a phrase, as they would look like “tick the”, although the phrase “you should “ is common enough to remain readable.

AND Take a pad and a pen and a shorthand book, and become a fast writer. Jack and Jill and their friends visited the Car and Transport Museum. The dish was made of beans and rice and vegetables, and was accompanied by bread and butter, followed by ice cream and sweets. The men and women
* were working at the office, and the students and children were out in the playground. My friends and I are going to the fish and chip shop. Take the letters and the bag of parcels to the post office*. The managers and the staff went to the meeting. They met the shareholders and the inspectors, and the meeting was a great success. We enjoyed today and we wish* to come again tomorrow. We are satisfied with their work and would be happy to employ them in the future. We prefer to travel by train and not get delayed by the traffic.


* Omission phrase "men (and) women"  "pos(t) office"


* "we wish" This is the same outline as "we shall" and if necessary you could insert a dot or a semicircle W sign in "wish" for clarity

SHOULD What should I do, should I work on my report or should I go to the meeting? Is there anything else that you should be doing? You should get on with the studies and you should not forget to take a break. The question
* he asked was, should the staff work the same hours or should they not? I left a note for him saying that, should they need a lift home, they should ring me immediately. He should be finished by tonight. You should be ready to receive a telephone call this evening. I should be glad if you will call me.


* "question" Optional contraction

OUGHT/AUGHT/AWE, WHO These are written downwards, as are all thick signs. “Aught” (pronounced “awt”) is an archaic word meaning “anything” or “something”. It is related to the Northern English vernacular “owt”. The opposite is “naught” meaning “nothing”, hence the derivation of “nought” meaning zero.

You ought to read this book. He ought to get up earlier. We ought to send our reply this morning. I ought to return his telephone call. I think he ought to reply to our letter. The inscription read, “If you have aught against any, forgive them.” He stood in awe of his father. They were awe-struck by the height of the building. He knew that his success would overawe his colleagues. Use normal outlines for awes, awed, awesome, aweless, overawes, overawed, overawing, unawed, unawesome.

WHO I know who that letter is from. Who will be the successful applicant? Who can be sure of knowing all the details? Do you know who called me yesterday? There are some who can write shorthand and many more who cannot. Make a list of those who are coming to the meeting. Those who will be successful are those who apply themselves to the subject. Whoever reads the book will find the information they need. He said whoever wants to can apply for the job. Send the forms to whoever writes in to us.

“Who” can take a V hook to represent “have”. “Whom” is a normal outline, “whose” is a short form. From whom have you received this letter
*? Address the letter, to whom it may concern. This is a person whom I know very well*. We have staff who can work well and whose time is well spent every day. He wanted to know whose car it was and to whom he should send the bill. There are many people who have studied shorthand. Who have you seen today? Those who have completed the work will be paid at the end of the month. Do you have any staff who have experience of this kind of business? (1588 words)


* "this letter" Downwards L to make a good join


* Omission phrase "very (w)ell"


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Short Forms From Vowel Signs Part 3 (28 February 2013)

THE DIPHTHONG SIGNS: WITH WHEN WHAT WOULD The semicircle was originally the principal method of writing the Way sound before the present stroke Way came into use, and these short forms are a reflection of that. The first two face right and represent words with dot vowels, and the second two face left for dash vowels, which follows the normal rule for the semicircle within an outline. “With” is out of position in regard to its vowel sound, but the positions of the others do match their vowels. In phrases they do not change their angle but in a few they do lean or open out slightly in order to
* join the stroke. You can join the pairs that face the same way and you can add “you” written sideways after any of them.


* Omission phrase "in ord(er to)"

A little warning here, if you come to rely on reciting through the set in order to
* remember which one is which, you will be making a miserably annoying and unnecessary burden for yourself that will unfortunately only get heavier over time, not a happy state of affairs by any means and to be avoided at all costs. It is helpful to drill them in phrases where they are the first word, so that they remain in their own position, and become so completely familiar that such recitation is unnecessary. If you really get stuck over them during a dictation, it would be quicker to concoct a full outline for them rather than go through the “song”. In the beginning stages, it might be helpful to think of “what?” as looking like the top half of the question mark.


* Omission phrase "in ord(er to)"

WITH WHEN I am going with a friend when the taxi arrives. If you come with us, you can be with the others as well. When we are with them, we will deal with this matter. He thinks that with such a fast car he will have no problem arriving on time. If you deal with those who are coming today, I will deal with the rest of them tomorrow. I will be with you early next week
*. With such a plan, we are sure to succeed with the business. With his experience he will be able to deal with it very well*. I am having success with the same methods, and I am very happy with the results.

When you arrive and when the mail comes, you must answer it. When it rains, they always wonder when it is going to stop. When it stops, they ask when they can go out to play. When we are in town, we will come and see you. I do not know when these people will call the office. I am enquiring when those items will be back in stock. When you finish work is when you can go home.


* Omission phrases "ne(k)s(t w)eek"  "very (w)ell"

WHAT I do not know what we shall do about it. What do you think they should do? Please tell me what is your decision on this matter. I have decided what can be done about this issue. What has happened and what are you doing at the moment?
* They knew what was going on and what the circumstances were. Please tell us what were the circumstances. Please send me a report on what is the reason for the losses in that department. We need to know what is the problem and what would be the best way* of resolving the issue. What you need to do is to write a letter to them, detailing what they should do. What have they done with the letters? What shall be the result of all this? Please inform us what were the reasons for the delay and what can be done in the future. What must we do to ensure success?


* Omission phrases "at (the) moment"  "bes(t) way"

WOULD It would be great if he passed all the exams. It would be better to know what the actual figures are. Would he consider applying for the job? Would we accept these applications from them? We made a decision which would be to everyone’s advantage. He would be very happy to come and talk to you. She would be delighted to go shopping again. It would not have been a very difficult thing to do. The people in the town would never have gone home. If he read the book he would understand it all and would not have
* failed the exam.

I am looking forward to being with you when you come next week
*. What you think is generally what you would do. You would probably do the same thing again. You would not make any changes. What would be the best way* to go? What would the manager have done if he had been here last week?*


* "would not have" The "have" is not phrased, because it would look too much like "would never", and it is always helpful to insert the vowel in "not" in phrases


* Omission phrases "ne(k)s(t w)eek"  "bes(t) way"  "las(t w)eek"

Notice that “what would” and “what you “ make identical phrases. If in doubt about the readability of your notes, then write them separately. “With you” is the more common phrase but theoretically this could also be “with when”, but as there is a slight pause between, it would be better not to phrase for that, for example: I have a list of people I have to negotiate with when I go to their office. This is the person I will be with when I come to the shop. I will be with you for an hour when I come to the house. Where the short form “would” does not join, you can use a halved Way instead: I would be delighted to come. They would be happy to call you. We would visit if it would be convenient for you. This would be the best thing to do under the circumstances
*. These would not be the most suitable items to buy for them and therefore I would like you to find something else that would be better.


* Omission phrase "under (the) circumstances"

BEYOND, YOU These are remnants of a similar series of semicircle signs for the Yay sound, before the stroke Yay came into full use. In those early days the sign faced down to represent a Yay sound plus a dash vowel, and faced upwards for a Yay sound plus a dot vowel. They were eventually replaced by extending the use of stroke Yay or using a diphone. Therefore the above two short forms and the U diphthong sign are all that remains. “You” can take a V hook to represent “have”. // The book was entitled “Beyond the Earth and Beyond the Stars.” I went beyond the edge of the woods. This is beyond all that we know at present. The book goes beyond the basics of the subject. He said that, beyond that, he knew nothing at all. It is beyond me why they went to that place. This technical book is beyond me. It is beyond our understanding at present. He had a house in the back of beyond, as they say. The word beyond is related to the word “yonder”, meaning “that place” or “to that place” and the vernacular word “yon” meaning “that” or “that person”.

YOU You are the person who has been given the job. You should read the manual straight away. If you are careful, you can save quite a lot of money. If you will read this letter
*, you will be pleasantly surprised. If you were* able to reply to my letter, I would be very pleased indeed*. Are you going to the party? Will you see the staff today? What are you going to do? Can you send me your report this afternoon? I will be very glad if you can be present at the meeting. You should reply to that customer immediately. You may find that the job is much easier than you first thought. You are not* going to be needed until tomorrow. You will not wish to miss this opportunity. You were* informed of this matter yesterday. You were not* kept informed of our progress. You would be very pleased if you could* see what we have achieved. You have come to the end and you have received your certificate. You have not been disappointed with what you have done. You have worked hard and you have now joined the ranks of those who have this valuable skill.

* "this letter" Downward L in order to make a good join


* Omission phrases "if you (w)ere"  "very please(d) indeed"  "you (w)ere"


* "you are not" "you will not" Note that "are not" is written with full strokes, and "will not" uses N Hook and halving, this keeps these two quite different, as they could easily be misread for each other when written at speed


* "if you could" Note that "could" is generally not phrased, so that it is not misread as "can"

I, HOW, WHY “I” and “how” are just the normal diphthongs for those vowels, and in their correct positions. "I" can be shortened to just the first part, where this makes a better join. You can phrase “how the”, but you should not phrase “should I” because that would look the same. “Why” is a sign all on its own, and is left over from when it was used initially before certain strokes for the Way sound, before the current stroke Way came into greater use.


I take this opportunity to thank you all. I do not think that I have done all the work yet. I have suggested that they visit us and I feel sure* that they will be glad they did. I hope that the* report is satisfactory. I know that they will be pleased with it. I know there is* more work to be done. I need not say that I shall continue to work with the firm. I shall be happy to reply to this letter* and I shall speak with the manager about it. I think he will agree and I trust you will accept his proposals. I understand that the person did not attend the interview and I was very disappointed.


* Omission phrases "I fee(l) sure"  "I (h)ope that the"


* "I know there is" Doubling to represent "there"


* "to this letter" Downward L in order to make a good join

I:   I agree with the man on this matter. I am able to start the job immediately. I am also
* going to move house at the same time. I am aware that this will be a lot of work and I am certain that you will understand. I am very pleased with the results and I believe they are very good. I call the office every day and I can assure you that they are dealing with the matter. I could not have done anything about it. I do not see how anyone could be successful under the circumstances*. I gave in my report and accounts*, and I feel sure* that they will be pleased with the results. I have written to them and I hope* that they agree with us. I like to reply to all my letters at the same time and I must now return to my desk. I propose to call a meeting and I have referred this question* to the heads of department. I shall go to the school where I spoke to the staff last month*. I want to discuss something with them and I think that we might be able to answer all their questions*. I will send you an email* and I will let you know what the outcome is.


* "I am also" The outline for "also" can lose its initial vowel sign in phrases


* Omission phrases "under (the) circumstances"  "rep(ort and) accounts"  "I fee(l) sure"  "I h)ope"  "las(t) month"


* "question" Optional contraction


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

HOW How do you wish to start the letter and how does it end? I want to know how to do it and how to avoid
* mistakes*. He knew how the machine worked and how the fault could be repaired. How can you write faster and how can you make sure you get all the words? It all depends how far* you go with the book and how long you spend in practice. How much can you learn in one month and how much is it going to cost? How is it that the others managed to do it? We will soon learn how the matter turned out. Mr Howe* had a favourite phrase to greet the staff “How’s it going today?”. His first name was Hugh and his friends called him Hughie. His colleague’s name was Mr Hughes.

WHY Why are you reading this book? We want to know why the man asked us to come. I do not know why they did that. Why have you come to the office today? We think that there is a good reason why it failed. Why do those people think that we can supply the goods? Why were you not at school yesterday? The reason why is that I had to stay at home. Why O why did we come out in the pouring rain today! Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to write the shorthand and ask why later! (2036 words)


* "avoid" Insert the diphthong, and the second vowel in "evade" as these two are similar in outline and meaning


* "mistakes" omits the T, similarly "mistaken". "Mistook" has the stroke T


* "how far" Note "far" on its own uses full strokes F and Ar


* "Mr Howe" Short forms are not used for names


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