The Dying Art of Handwriting? A Random Thought from Dugga


A recent article from the BBC asks if we’ll still be writing by hand at all 100 years from now.

“A century from now, our handwriting may only be legible to experts.”

A good question, indeed. I was trying to think of the last time I used “handwriting”. In 2nd grade, when I was taught the skill, we called it “cursive.” A few years later, as teachers would allow, my “cursive” writing gave way to “printed” letters. Now, my signature is little more than a scribble, and when pressed to do so, I admit to having trouble remembering how to form an uppercase “S” or differentiate between a lowercase “z” and “g”.

My desk at work is cluttered with chicken-scratch scribblings on yellow post it notes, but none of these amount to anything more than cheat-sheets or disposable reminders. Even in meetings when note-taking is required, I fire up my laptop and begin typing rather than grab a legal pad.

Perhaps I’m unique in that I spend 12 hours per day behind a keyboard. Spiral notebooks and fine writing utensils won’t be found among my business tools.

What are we losing by moving to a keyboard-based form of text communication? Does it even matter?

I’m interested in what you think, Monkeys.  Of course, you will need to type in your response!

-posted by Dugga

Posted February 27, 2009 by
Fun, Personal | 25 comments

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  • Comments

    25 Responses to “The Dying Art of Handwriting? A Random Thought from Dugga”

    1. always 1 on February 27th, 2009 9:36 pm

      I agree. I can remember learning to write on my Indian Big Tablet with my blue Laddie pencil. If my teacher didnt think I did a good job, she would draw around my letters with a red pen. I hated that!!! Sometimes she would even put her hand over mine to correct me. She should see my signature now!!!!

    2. barbara on February 27th, 2009 10:21 pm

      Spelling and punctuation (even in print) have already left us.

      No one knows that 2 of something is 1 tree-2 trees and not 2 tree’s.
      Nor can they say it is too much to ask instead of it is to much.

      It would be incredibly funny were it not so sad.

    3. Dugga on February 27th, 2009 11:46 pm

      I think texting has also had a huge negative effect on writing skills.

      I’m not perfect. I use too far many commas and I write run-on sentences. I overuse quotation marks and sometimes I misspell words like “apparently”.

      But I know that LOL and TTYL aren’t real words.


    4. buster on February 28th, 2009 12:21 am

      Ha people look at my signature and ask me if I am a Doctor, I laugh and say NO I just went to Dos Pueblos High School

    5. rightknight on February 28th, 2009 1:55 am

      Say, isn’t that John’s signature on the
      Constitution?? Anyone remember the
      Constitution of these United States??
      Barry, are you listening?

    6. Treehouse on February 28th, 2009 8:39 am

      My 66 year old mother and I were discussing this very subjuct last night. We were remembering the long letters that my grandmother, aunts, cousins, and family friends used to write to us when my dad was in the Navy and we were living far away from home. Getting one of those letters was an event. We read them silently, we re-read them aloud. Something about holding that paper that had been touched by our loved ones seemed to bring their hearts closer to ours.

      While I would miss my computer if I had to give it up, it would be nice to get a lovely, perfumed, handwritten, gossipy letter once in a while.

    7. Treehouse on February 28th, 2009 8:41 am

      of course, I would also have to dust off my dictionary….

      subjuct edit to subject

    8. Richard on February 28th, 2009 11:32 am

      I remember those green handwriting charts pasted above the blackboard at school. We were supposed to emulate them; unfortunately, my efforts never were up to muster. I even remember the report cards we used to take home; handwriting was one of the subjects, I believe.

      This is clear in my mind, because in sixth grade my exasperated teacher flunked me in handwriting. The first, but not the last, time I got an ‘F.’

      Anyway, from a practical point of view it might not matter too much … on a utilitarian basis, uniform print that comes from a printer is both faster and easier to read … but it’s sad to see the decline of handwriting, which in some hands produced some beautiful work.

      Can anyone with young children tell us whether, in school, they still have handwriting classes?
      I’m told that even grammar classes are a thing of the past, so I doubt it. I remember the days of diagramming sentences, boring as it seemed at the time.

      The handwriting of the more leisurely 19th century produced some beautiful results. Let’s hope there’s still a place in the world for it.

      Incidentally, another art that seems to be vanishing is letter-writing.

    9. 11B40 on February 28th, 2009 12:59 pm


      I was lucky enough to go Catholic school and I had Sister Mary Evangelista (the most patient Sister of Mercy in the world) in the 4th grade for what we called “Penmanship”. Initially, I struggled with the “Palmer Method” (of the green cards above the blackboard) mostly due to the bad habits I had picked up trying to copy my big sister who was a year ahead of me in school. By the end of the school year I managed to raise my grade to a “C”. Sister Evangelista told my dad that I had worked hard and that my writing was now legible, in the easily read sense.

      I sometimes wonder about the parallel between the devil and the modern-day liberal. They both seem to have ease and pleasure on their side when they come a-knockin’. Why work hard; why learn to discipline yourself by doing things that you find difficult? It’s not the “handwriting, the” cursive,” or the “penmanship.” It’s character and tradition.

    10. Maggie on February 28th, 2009 2:23 pm

      My mother and I used to write long letters back and forth to each other.She was great at it, since then… seldom write a letter to send and if I do it’s just a message on a card or something similar. It really is a dying art.. Seems strange to pick up a pen at times and write.

    11. HOPE on February 28th, 2009 2:53 pm


      My handwriting is good enough to where I was paid to hand address the annual Christmas Party invitations for Capital Life Insurance Company when I was in college. Gave me extra money… at the right time.

      I’m also an artist.

      When I was young they gave me an aptitude test. I should have been a writer, but became a public accountant, instead. Another form of creative art… math came easier for me. I’ve met a lot of extremely wealthy people, became their friend. My boss was the State Golf Champion for years, he sat on the Board of Directors for numerous private golf courses and was a major part of putting on Professional Golf Tournaments. His son plays in the Professional League; as did one of his daughters while another one is the Head Coach at a major State University. Michael Jordon used to visit him and play a round of golf whenever he was in town as did many of the players in the City’s NBA team.
      We could party in our day! And we did.

      I also ski, ride horses and love water sports. ;)

    12. HOPE on February 28th, 2009 3:03 pm

      Notice how that partying part is messed up?

      My bad…

    13. Dugga on February 28th, 2009 3:36 pm

      My mom who just turned 71 still writes me letters and cards, even though we talk on the phone every few days. Even though I am a real pack rat anyway, I save a few of these handwritten cards and letters knowing that one day it will be fun for my kids and grandkids to look back on – even if it’s at a glance while cleaning out a storage shed or the attic.

      I wonder how my kids will remember my wife and I? Maybe they’ll find a stack of DVD’s or CD ROMS and load them up if the players still exist. Or maybe they’ll find a bunch of digital photos on a tiny SD card.

    14. Confused on February 28th, 2009 3:42 pm

      Even doctors don’t write prescriptions anymore. They are computer generated.

    15. Richard on February 28th, 2009 4:03 pm

      Hope, you say “When I was young.”

      Gee whiz, you’re only 24 now. Or you look it, anyway….

    16. HOPE on February 28th, 2009 4:17 pm


      You’re so sweet.

      You’re not bad, yourself ;)

      So how are things going with you?

    17. Mike on March 1st, 2009 5:09 am

      Interesting timing as, at 53, I recently started back to school to pursue my degree. In English Comp class we were asked to WRITE an on the spot essay describing a random picture or painting. Didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, but, now that you mention it, I thought it was great that the teacher even asked it done this way! I have a company issued PDA, but use my trusty Franklin Covey Day Planner and a #2 pencil to make my entries. Though I may be able to type pretty quickly, I still believe in the old fashioned form of communications. WRITE it down! Funny, though, I don’t seem to be able to write in cursive anymore, it is always printed. Franklin Covey recently closed their mall store here in my hometown. They do sell software, but I find it interesting how few of my colleagues, especially the younger ones, use so few writing implements.

      As an industrial salesman by profession, my writing and notetaking instruments are always on my person.

      Anyone seen a “typewriter” recently?

    18. Maggie on March 1st, 2009 12:41 pm

      I’ve kept the letters and cards from my mother also and my grandmother to pass on.. Have valentines and cards my mother sent my father and vice versa.. when they were young. When my father died it was very interesting to read the letters from when he was a young man from friends and his siblings.. He had little books he kept notes in it about things going on..

      My daughter was recently cleaning out papers from highschool. She is leaving Florida and getting married to a man from Missouri in June.. She said she threw many out, but kept the more personal was name the people in your family and tell one good thing and one bad thing about them..She said she did that to everyone, except me. She didn’t put anything bad about she got some points taken off.. She said that should make you feel I have ones like that my kids did in school..I’ve kept.. so I guess we all should take time to write some things from time to time. They really do warm the heart when you read them years later.

    19. BUN on March 1st, 2009 6:27 pm

      You may differ with me on this, but I have taken journaling courses and in those it is said that the mind and hand moving on paper have a healing connecdtion to the brain that is not found in the typing mode.

    20. Maggie on March 2nd, 2009 10:34 am

      I remember when Beth found Natalee’s written journal and how much it meant to brought comfort to her.

    21. Sam on March 2nd, 2009 12:29 pm

      I learned by the Palmer method. We had notebooks with the letters in them. Before we tried on our tablets we went over the notebook letters over and over to get the feel of them. I used to be able to write beautifully. I grew up and quit doing the pretty.

      I do believe children need to be taught cursive in school. How will they sign their paychecks.


    22. Writing (117) at The Word Nerds on March 16th, 2009 6:58 am

      [...] Writing through history; how are different generations taught to write? We talk about thoughts on this topic from the following sources: the BBC and (3:09) [...]

    23. Dawn on March 25th, 2009 3:04 pm

      I encourage my children to write letters by hand and mail them off to family. I have been searching for cursive handwriting samples to help teach my children because I dislike the “cursive” styles they teach in school nowadays. The D’Nealian and other cursive styles are so ugly and overly simplistic. Our children are not dumb. But teaching smart children ugly handwriting will not help them in life. People are judged by their handwriting and the impression that poor handwriting equals a poor education.

    24. Sheila Lowe on April 26th, 2009 10:30 pm

      What are you going to do if the electrical grid goes down? Say there’s a disaster in your area and you can’t charge your batteries for a few days. You need to at least know how to write. There are numerous other reasons why handwriting is important, but that would take an entire aritcle. As the author of several books on handwriting and how it reflects your personality, I speak from experience.

    25. Donald Goodman on September 21st, 2009 9:12 am


      Uh, John Hancock didn’t sign the Constitution. He did sign the Declaration of Independence, if that’s what you mean. And yes, that’s his signature on that document.

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