Do you remember learning it? Many remember learning it like it was yesterday. 3rd grade. The metal desks that opened up on a hinge and that had the metal cubby that your legs would hit if you were tall. You were given a wide, wide yellow notebook, and a pencil. The notebook had nothing in it but lines. The top and bottom borders of the lines were thick, and a perforated thinner line ran through the center.
This is where you learned – arguably – the first true test of adulthood: cursive handwriting.
Maybe your teacher was encouraging. Maybe you thought you were going to be the best cursive handwriting writer of all history. Or, maybe it was discouraging – a combination of spatial and motor skills that weren’t connecting for you yet.
Either way, you probably recall slaving over that notebook, and wondering what the results – and your cursive handwriting – said about you.
This post will talk about some ways that cursive handwriting does in fact speak for you: Cursive Handwriting Analysis, Forging Signatures, and ways in which cursive is still used in the modern world of personal devices and how you can Clean up your cursive handwriting for improved communication.
The still-emerging science (or psuedo-science as some believe) of Graphology sounds a lot like your third-grade teacher: it states that you can infer a person’s character, disposition, and attitude from their cursive handwriting.
Interest piqued? Take the First Module of Handwriting Analysis online.
According to Wikipedia, there are three approaches to looking at handwriting in order to know integral things about the writer:
1. Integrative Graphology
This approach looks at specific stroke structures and attaches them directly to certain personality traits. Mostly, a group of stroke formations is used to score against specific personality traits.
2. Holistic Graphology
In this approach, an entire personal profile is constructed on the basis of letter form, instrument movement, and space between marks. Here in this approach, individual traits such as legibility are not assigned specific meanings but can take on different meanings depending on the overall context.
3. Symbolic Analysis
In this approach, one looks for either Major or Minor symbols seen in the handwriting. Major Symbolism is the meaning ascribed to the stroke as it relates to the page, and Minor Symbolism ascribes a meaning to the stroke depending upon the picture that the stroke draws (example: a big, exaggerated loop could mean the presence of a tumor in the writer).
You’d probably have to have a large imagination or a Certification in Graphic Design to be any good at Symbolic Analysis.
What Applied Graphology Might Look Like:
- If your writing slants to the right, you are open to the world around you and like to socialize with other people.
- If your writing slants to the left: You generally like to work alone or behind the scenes. If you are right-handed and your handwriting slants to the left, you may be expressing rebellion (Ooooooh! Make sure to check out the forging section below in this case!)
- If your writing doesn’t slant at all: You tend to be logical and practical. You are guarded with your emotions.
- If your writing is comparatively large, you have a big personality. Many celebrities have large handwriting. It may suggest that you are outgoing and like the limelight.
- If your handwriting is small, you are focused and can concentrate easily. You tend to be introspective and shy.
- If the size of your writing is average, you are well-adjusted and adaptable.
- If your loops are closed and small for L, this might imply that you are restricting yourself in some way
- If your loops are full and large for L, you are spontaneous and relaxed and find it easy to express yourself.
- If your loops are closed and small for E, you tend to be skeptical and are unswayed by emotional arguments
- If your loops are full and large for E, you have an open mind and enjoy trying new things.
- If your S’s are round you are a people-pleaser and seek compromise. You avoid confrontation.
- If your S’s are pointy, you are intellectually probing and like to study new things. The higher and pointier the peaks, the more ambitious you are.
- If your S’s are open at the bottom, you might not be following your heart. For example, you always wanted to be an artist, but you have a career in finance.
- If your S’s are printed, you are versatile.
Grab a sheet of paper and put these assumptions to the test!
Crazy, right? Well, if you watch a lot of Law and Order, you would think this science of Graphology is applied to crime-solving all the time. It isn’t. Yet! Although supposedly Graphology has been applied to compile personality traits of UK serial killers and to potentially identify new ones, and on famous people from Marilyn Monroe to Edgar Allan Poe. Perhaps you can get in on the ground floor.
Another form of cursive handwriting that is still relevant is …. forging signatures.
While some of us perfected this skill to avoid boring classes in middle school, it also comes in handy as an adult for when your partner or boss legitimately forgets to sign something and then need it done STAT.
Yes, even if someone asks you to forge their signature, it’s not really on the up-and-up, which is why it’s so surprising that there is such detailed information about how to become a good forger on the internet. Check it out – there’s even a video!
In a nutshell, good forgers recommend keeping in mind these tips:
- Use tracing paper if you want a for-sure copy of a signature
- For free-handing, practice makes perfect. Practice many times on scrap pieces of paper (and then make sure you dispose of those scrap pieces of paper properly :).
- After practicing free-handing, write the final signature with confidence and write it at the pace you sign your own signature. A common mistake is slowing down to make sure you get it right, and this is easily detectable as it presses more firmly into the paper and causes a thicker ink line among other signs.
- Don’t retouch. If you’re tempted to, don’t.
- Don’t lift the pen. No one does this naturally with their own signature and again, this is easily detectable.
Worried about the state of your signature? There are some things you can do to protect it.
- Signatures that are illegible tend to be more difficult to forge than those legible
- A signature with more line intersection and with more turning points (changes in pen direction) is more difficult to forge
- The presence of abnormal line directions (such as moving counter clockwise for an “o”) can make a signature more difficult to forge.
Happy forging for non-criminal purposes!
The State of Your Cursive Handwriting and How to Improve It
There are still many times when you might actually have to write with a pen on paper. Shocking, I know. But when faced with these situations, you don’t want whoever is reviewing the final document to think that a 4 yr-old wrote it.
Cursive handwriting situations include, but are not limited to:
- The all-important and still-relevant thank you note
- Writing a quick addendum to a document
- Producing a document when your technology (computer, printer, etc.) fails
- Correcting a document quickly
- Signing a whole host of things such as receipts, official documents, etc.
- Writing notes freehand before giving them to someone else to type up
- Writing a letter of resignation
- Writing birthday cards
- Filling out forms at the bank
Many professions still contain handwriting elements where clear and concise handwriting is key: nurses, doctors, mechanics, etc. And if your next job application asks (or slyly elicits) and handwriting sample, beware! Discovery.com states that your employer might be applying tactics from Graphology, as outlined above!
These situations will happen, so be prepared. Take an online course in Improving Your Handwriting and Improve Your Life! There is also a course for kids in case his or her third-grade teacher isn’t cutting it.
Quick tips for improving your handwriting quickly include:
- Analyze its flaws (size, slant, alignment, and line quality)
- Look to other examples for inspiration and practice copying those aspects over and over again
- Adjust your hand position and/or how you hold your pen
- Take the opportunity to handwrite things whenever possible – practice makes perfect – or at least improvement!
It’s pretty unbelievable in this techy modern world that cursive handwriting is still important and can say a lot about you. It is even said that handwriting trains the brain in a different way than typing or printing (most novel writers still spin their stories longhand before typing up. There’s gotta be something to that). Of course, writing (emails, texts) is the primary form of quick communication these days, and there is room for improvement here, too. You can take courses on Business Writing, Technical Writing, and even Writing Effective Business Emails.