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How would you describe your handwriting?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on May 22, 2006

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Photo of Holly Prinds

“Messy. It’s cursive and print all jumbled together. It’s big and small, and it never goes in a straight line unless there are lines on the paper.”

Photo of Brady Dringman

“It’s bubbly and small, but it’s legible. Sometimes I mix cursive and print. It just seems faster that way.”

Photo of Erin Graham

“Horrible, absolutely horrible. It’s not legible. In fact, it’s so bad that some of my teachers and professors made me type everything I turned in.”

Photo of Mark Sidorenkov

“It’s decent. It’s smaller than most and a little messy but pretty legible.”

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trinity 11 years, 11 months ago

reasonably awful. a 46 year old whose handwriting looks like a high school kid's!

but, i have the biggest handicap-i'm a LEFTIE for cryin' out loud; an over the top (literally, my hand curls over the top of my writing instrument) leftie. often leave smudgies on the paper as i write!

sigh what is this, pick on lefties month???

enochville 11 years, 11 months ago

Legible. Relaxed, medium sized. Not bubbly, not super neat. The bottoms of the letters would not all hit an imaginary line, but come close. The letters are clear and evenly spaced.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 11 months ago

Full of many different letters of the alphabet. Sometimes I substitute pictures for words. My own little form of hyroglyphs. My favorite color ink is black so I use that often.

John Spencer 11 years, 11 months ago

It depends on the reason I am using it, if I am just writing stuff like taking notes, only God and I know what I write. If I am writing in a birthday or holiday card, I can still write a nice flowing cursive style. I took mechanical drawing in Jr. High so I can write very legibly for poster or when making a diagram of a room. I do a little calligraphy and can make some "fancy" writing, but I do not do that often anymore, not much need for it when I can just use a font.

Trinity, I am with ya there, I am a lefty also. The grade school I went to, did there very level best to make me right-handed. There were not any left-handed desks in either the California or New York or Florida grade schools I went to before moving to Kansas. It was like a something out of a dream when I moved here and the grade school I went to had left handed desks. The upside of trying to force me to be right handed made me somewhat ambidextrous. Maybe the schools should make kids write with their 'other ' hand.

acg 11 years, 11 months ago

I'm a lefty, too, much to the chagrin of my mother and grandmother who spent years when I was a small child wacking my hands with stuff and telling me to write with the "right" hand. I don't curl my hand around the pen/pencil, though, like most lefties, but to compensate I have to tilt the page a lot. And then I mix cursive and print so it's never uniform. Wait, why are we talking about this?

gccs14r 11 years, 11 months ago

I learned in my twenties that my mom forced me to be right-handed. My handwriting is equally bad with either hand.

craigers 11 years, 11 months ago

Does anybody else have the problem of writing like you do on your palm pilot? I know RI said grafitti style but I didn't know if that meant grafitti as in the palm software? I write enough in the palm pilot that when I go to actually handwrite something it can be very ugly. But normally I write legibly but it might not be very neat.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 11 months ago

I can barely write a check. Really. The keyboard has ruined me.

mom_of_three 11 years, 11 months ago

My handwriting in cursive is neat and legible when I want it to be. I have received compliments on it while at work. My print is even better.
My 16 year old's handwriting, print or cursive, is messier than the junior high sibling's. In my 3 jobs in the last 16 years, has always included trying to read someone else's handwriting. And honestly, I don't think some people think about that the way they scribble. If someone can't read the name or the phone number on the job application, do you think they will call you for an interview??

sgtwolverine 11 years, 11 months ago

My handwriting is functional. But I don't write at length much for two reasons: 1)writing on the computer is much easier, and much more easily edited, and 2)if I handwrite too much, my hand (particularly my thumb) starts hurting.

My previous job was at a church, and my main task was to sort through the attendance and enter it into the computer (thrill-a-minute, let me tell you!). They have little books they pass down the rows, and people write down their names (and addresses, if they'd like) so the church knows who was there. At the top of every form, in all caps, was the exclamation, "PLEASE PRINT CLEARLY!!!" And yet ... wow. What some people believe is legible is quite amazing. Sometimes I wondered if at least 1/3 of the congregation worked in the medical profession.

To combine the two previous paragraphs, I should note that my signature is quite illegible. I once read that the less legible your signature, the more important you are, and apparently I took that to heart.

southerngirl 11 years, 11 months ago

My kids went to Kansas schools until January. There they received a grade for keyboarding. Here in Tennessee, they still give a grade for handwriting! My poor kids are at a distinct disadvantage. They can all type very fast and with few errors, but their handwriting is awful!!

I have pretty good handwriting. I am a lefty, but was lucky enough to be born into a family where my father and brother were both lefties, so the path was cleared for me to be a true lefty. I don't hook or turn my paper, I just drag my hand across what I have already written or angle my hand under.

I'm a comic sans 12 point.

Redzilla 11 years, 11 months ago

sgtwolverine, I also do attendance at a church. Careless Christian pigs! My own penmanship is the bastard son of my grandmother's flawless Spencerian. Legible and rather attractive, but not quite following all the rules. If she were still alive she would rap my knuckles. My husband, however has the handwriting of a serial killer--barely controlled rage on paper.

canyon_wren 11 years, 11 months ago

I'm like WereAllMonkeys--when I am jotting down notes, my writing is pretty bad; in general, it can be smooth and quite legible.

I enjoy the cursive writing process so much--forming the smooth rounded letters, etc., that I get carried away with it, so I can't keep a journal in longhand very well!

In my experience with young people, it seems like their large "print-writing" all looks identical nowadays--no personality to it, though mostly it is readable.

I like Arial 11, though I use 10 for most of my work.

southerngirl 11 years, 11 months ago

Red, love your analogies! LOL

In honor of the discussion of the national language and national breakfast, I think we should start a grassroots movement for a national font! Type your English emails in Comic Sans 12 font while eating your powdered donuts and diet coke!!

sgtwolverine 11 years, 11 months ago

Red, I tried to get one of the pastors at the church to start a handwriting ministry, but he never did get that off the ground. Oh well.

Southern, I'm good with the powdered donuts, but the aftertaste of diet coke absolutely disgusts me. Can I substitute regular coke?

craigers 11 years, 11 months ago

Or if we want to extend the length of our letters and papers like in college, the font should be Courier New. Our page and a half letter to our reps could be extended to two and show them we mean business. I can't believe the professors never said anything!!!!

H_Lecter 11 years, 11 months ago

I tried refilling a pen with blood, but it just dries so darn quickly.

ms_canada 11 years, 11 months ago

I rarely write. In school and nursing I printed all my notes. Don't know why, just found it easier. Terrible handwriting. I once thought that I should learn ogham where the runes are all straight lines and that might improve things for me, but then realized that there probably were not too many in this world who could read ogham.

southerngirl 11 years, 11 months ago

Ok Sgt since you're "military" and I'm married to a military man, I'll let the coke be your choice, but just this once and it'll cost you 100 push ups.

Janet Lowther 11 years, 11 months ago

My usual handwriting is a hash of the Italic calligraphy I taught myself back in the '70s, the Palmer cursive I was taught in the second grade in the '60s and the block printing they tried to teach me in 9th grade drafting. All in all, legible but ugly and messy.

I suspect a large part of the ugliness is on account of being a converted lefty.

If I really try, I can manage a nice Italic for about three lines before it starts to degenerate too much.

For real writing, I prefer Century Schoolbook 12.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 11 months ago

southerngirl, sorry, my vote is for BaaBookHmk...any point you want.

Ms_C, I would suggest WALLOWHMK for you. :)

ms_canada 11 years, 11 months ago

S S - I will need a translation on that one. I am just to dense this am.

ms_canada 11 years, 11 months ago

I can't believe how many lefties we have on this board. Count me in, but I have noticed that since using the mouse so much, I am doing more things with my right hand.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 11 months ago

Ms_C, It's just a font that's printed in mostly all caps but all letters are same size. It is very legible but not boring or stuffy. It is an "easy going" sort of font. Back in my school days, I used to know most of the fonts by sight. Now, I just have a few favorites that I still know. Of course, fonts are like sense in memorizing them as pretty soon they will all change anyway.

beatrice 11 years, 11 months ago

All these lefties blatantly flaunting their writing style. Don't you know there might be children reading this? What is next, y'all will tell us you were born that way? Some even go as far as to write checks and what not with their left hand -- in public! Shameful. Admit it, it is a life choice to be abnormal in your penmanship. You could be normal like the rest of us right handed people. I think we should have a constitutional ban on writing with the left hand. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate lefties or anything. As they say, love the lefty, hate the handwriting.

My writing is perfect, and with the right hand as it should be.

ms_canada 11 years, 11 months ago

Hey! guess what I am writing this whole thing with my right hand and it is looking pretty good, right? And my brain hasn"t exploded yet, but better not push it too far. Right?

Ceallach 11 years, 11 months ago

Fear not the lefties of this world, omb, we are the only ones in our right minds!!!

When I take my time my writing is fairly good, when I hurry it's horrid!

I'm not sure if I was born ambidextrious or it is a consequence of environmental adaptation -- it's a right handed world!!! I am most comfortable writing with my left, but I too had a teacher (2nd grade and first half of 3rd) determined to set me on the "right" path. The next teacher 3.5 - 5th grade not only allowed, but taught me to write properly with my left hand (like acg, no curling of the wrist, just slanting the paper to match my left arm). Thank you, Mrs. Douglas!!

Embrace your left-handedness -- get in contact with that little leftie child inside and set them free!!

Also, why is an insult referred to as a "left-handed compliment"???? Inquiring lefties want to know.

canyon_wren 11 years, 11 months ago

Totally off the subject--and most of you may know about this--but if there are any other "exiles" out there who are homesick for Kansas, check out (Kansas on the Net), then click on More Kansas Links, and Photos and travel diaries. There are so many great photos of Kansas--both by Don Palmer (quite a selection) and Flyover People. Also some wonderful historical photos of Wichita way back when (I grew up there, so they interest me).

Sorry to intrude with this, but some of us do get lonesome for our native state!

sunflower_sue 11 years, 11 months ago

Ceal, Isn't that a "back-handed compliment?" Do you always mix metaphors and screw up cliches? Must be a left-handed thing as my sis does it all the time and she's a leftie, too. As my sis would say: "Ten in one, three in the other." LOL!

Ceallach 11 years, 11 months ago

Thanks, wren.

I love the selection of fonts we now have for our electronic writing. The only time I get put out with some of the twirley and footed fonts is when they are used on websites. Unless the text is made into an image, some fonts are incredibly difficult to read online. So many different screen sizes and browser capabilities (incapabilities) can render a lovely font as patchy and ugly. To me it distracts from the intention of the creator (not THE Creator, of course, just the creator of the site :)P

H_Lecter 11 years, 11 months ago

Redzilla, You say, "serial killer" like it's a bad thing?

canyon_wren 11 years, 11 months ago

What I hate are the emails (story, joke, etc.) that are sent in REALLY BIG font (often some weird color)--you can scarcely read them and if I actually think I want to read them, I usually click on Forward (temporarily) and change it to a readable size. Can't figure out why that stuff is passed along!

Ceallach 11 years, 11 months ago

I have often heard it called a left handed compliment. However, I am capable of mixing up or screwing up any given thing at any given time!! It may be a result of brain damage cause by being "back-handed" for nagging my sweet little mum too often:) [ it has been my experience that shorter than average mothers with taller than average children are prone to random acts of smacking to get aforementioned children's attention]

sgtwolverine 11 years, 11 months ago

Ah, but is Richard Dean Anderson a leftie?

Sorry. I recently acquired Macgyver, season 2. So much fun.

sunflower_sue 11 years, 11 months ago

Uh OH! I'm a shorter than average mother. (I still have an inch on my 11 year old, though.) Maybe the smacking will start next year. I'll keep you posted. :)

Ceallach 11 years, 11 months ago

Macgyver's new commercial -- priceless!!

Ceallach 11 years, 11 months ago

sue, I never underestimate the power of a short woman! I once saw my (even shorter than my mother) grandmother make my uncle bend down so she could slap him -- and he did!!!! I'm sure he only did so because he wanted to continue eating and sleeping in her house:)

ms_canada 11 years, 11 months ago

blue harley - thanks for the site. good to know what illustrious company ( and not so illustrious) we lefties are in. WOW what a list.

ms_canada 11 years, 11 months ago

Oh yeh, wanted to ask, are you people all at work today? We have a holiday here in good old Canada. It started out as Queen Victoria's birthday, May 24. and some how along the way it just got changed to the May long weekend but we enjoy it anyway. Camp grounds fill up to over flowing and it is the traditional time to set out our annual flowers, cabbage and tomato plants. Not usually any frost past this date.

beatrice 11 years, 11 months ago

ms_c, not surprisingly we don't go in much for celebrating the birthdays of Kings and Queens down here. Next Monday, however, we celebrate Memorial Day in which we are meant to honor those military men and women who died serving our country. The end result sounds similar to your May long weekend -- people hitting the camp grounds and such.

YourItalianPrincess 11 years, 11 months ago

Mine is both cursive and printing also. I have always had handwriting is this form. It does seem to go quicker, and the kids these days are taught different then I was.

My youngest has beautiful handwriting and hes 8 1/2. His handwriting is wonderful. My oldest is also nice and he has a really wild signature too.

If you are out there Topeka........I know you wanted my to update you on whats been happening since December.

The guy who drove drunk and hit my son's car was sentenced today. The judge was good in his decision, but I didn't agree with the time he gave him for the crimes he commited. He got 30 days ( combined ) for all 6 counts instead of days here and there for each one. Hes already serving time for something else he did, so now more time has been added.

The best thing that happened is that he has to pay my son for his car. The total amount for restitution is $ 8829.30.

My son wasn't present this morning ( high school grad party last night ), but is happy with the decision for the amount of his car. At least he will get paid back ( slowly ) for the damage done to his car. I guess the legal system works when it wants too.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 11 months ago

My handwriting is okay, but not as pretty and flowing as my mother's was. And I was taught cursive in school, and we got graded on it!

Even though I'm right-handed, all my letters tip to the right like it does with a lot of lefties. This confused my teachers to no end. I held the paper the way I was supposed to, and everything else they told me, and it still tilts to the right. Go figure.

I have a job where we still have to do endless reports in handwriting. More things are being done on the computer over time, but we still have to write reams of stuff.

Interesting point is that I still write everything by hand in cursive, but if it's something that only requires my initials, I always print them.

At least my handwriting isn't as bad as my doctor's. I still think they all go to a special class to learn how to write illegibly. I've had times when my pharmacist had to call the man because he couldn't tell what he'd written.

ItalicChick 11 years, 11 months ago

For all you folks who have problem handwrtiing, I have a recommendation: Write Now The complete program for better handwriting by Barbara Getty and Inga Dubay. They go out and teach seminars to physicians on how to write legibly, and it works! If it works with doctors, it can work for anyone. I changed my writing and even went to the bank and changed my signature card. You can find it at Just type in the title. Hope this helps!

Ceallach 11 years, 11 months ago

crazyks - I am hereby nominating you for "Honorary Leftie" status. Although you admit to using the "other" hand, having a slight right tilt indicates that you are in your right mind. Hopefully all the other lefties will concur, however, remember it is an honor just to be nominated :):)

Redzilla 11 years, 11 months ago

H_Lecter... serial killer penmanship isn't inherently a bad thing. I mean, after all, I married him after having been his pen pal for 3 years. I knew what I was signing up for, so to speak.
Strange--I also used to be a lefty, but I am one of the few living examples of the infamous Sister Mary Cure for Sinister Handedness. The ruler was deft, sharp, and wielded without mercy--only thus shall your sins be purged. ;o)

Ceallach 11 years, 11 months ago

Red, I never decided which was worse, the ruler or the beads! They could do some serious damage with those beads (and never leave a mark :)

Ceallach 11 years, 11 months ago

bob, You can get a glimpse of the new docs coming your way by viewing the gallery in the following link (hint: they are the only students saturating themselves in champagne:)

Linda Aikins 11 years, 11 months ago

Hey - I stayed home today. Just needed a day off.

Inmate, do you print on those license plates? Is that the Ben Dover font?

Ceallach 11 years, 11 months ago

Wow, this topic seems to have died a sudden death.

Linda Aikins 11 years, 11 months ago

How funny C. I was just thinking I must need to reboot! Was mine truly the last posting?

thunderbuns 11 years, 11 months ago

Lame question.

Future lame questions for the L J world OTS pinheads:

1) What shade of white do you prefer? 2) Would you rather have a dime or 2 nickels? 3) What side of the bed do you sleep on? 4) Paper or plastic? 5) Should the "J" in Scrabble be worth more than 8 points? 6) Besides In-a-gadda-da-vida, can you name one other song Iron Butterfly did? 7) What's prime rate at now? 8) Can a vegeterian eat animal crackers? 9) Where does evaporated milk go? 10) What color is your spouse's toothbrush?

ms_canada 11 years, 11 months ago

  1. amarillo
  2. a dime
  3. on my side
  4. plastic
  5. absolutely
  6. Flowers and Beads
  7. you got me there
  8. of course
  9. to milk heaven, of course
  10. red yah, excellent questions, think ljw would hire you, thunderbuns?

beatrice 11 years, 11 months ago

  1. plain
  2. dime
  3. right (the only time I lean to the right)
  4. paper
  5. no
  6. no
  7. on the rise
  8. yes, but with a tinge of guilt
  9. it deteriorates the ozone
  10. green

Linda Aikins 11 years, 11 months ago

  1. Cousin Eddie shoes white
  2. Two nickels
  3. Left, facing up
  4. Plastic
  5. No
  6. Most Anything You Want
  7. 6.825
  8. Probably shouldn't
  9. Into the cake mix
  10. Silver gray

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