Handywrite Shorthand


Shorthand is any system of abbreviated writing.

Assuming your are already familiar with Handywrite handwriting, which offers a short and sweet (but not abbreviated) writing system, you can write even faster by systematically abbreviating common words and phrases. Of course you could learn one of the many alphabetic shorthand systems and write in abbreviated longhand, but why start with an inherently slow form of handwriting and then try to write fast? Better to start with something that is already fast and go from there.

What to abbreviate? The most common words, prefixes, suffixes, and phrases.

About 40 words make up about 40% of all the words you write and the 100 most frequent words make up about 50%, so learning a few abbreviations for the most common words would give you a big bang for the effort. If you have to stop writing to think of an abbreviation, then you're better off just writing out the word.

Here are 100 abbreviations selected from the 300 most common words listed in their order of frequency. Only use an abbreviation is if you feel learning and remembering it is easier than writing it out in full.

  the  of  and  a, an
 in  is  you  that
 he  for  was  are
 as  with  they  at
 be  this  from  have
 one  had  not  but
 what  all  when  we
 can  your  you're  which
 said  will  about  how
 out  she  many  some
 would  into  time  could
 first  been  now  people
 over  did  down  only
 find  use  long  very
 after  words  just  where
 before  good  new  our
 used  think  around  another
 come  become  because  things
 different  again  number  great
 small  every  found  between
 should  Mr.  under  along
 next  while  below  something
 often  house  hadn't  form
 without  sometimes  being  however
 thing  example  using  answer


Note that a short upward line can be used for the "au" sound in "out." Also place dots, dashes, and commas used as punctuation close to the preceding word and further away when used to represent words (the, of, in, some).



Prefixes may be written separately from the root word that should then be written below or through the prefix.

 pre-  de-  inter-  in-  com-
 re-  over-  be-  out-  fore-
 trans-  counter-  after-  an-  sub-



Suffixes may be written separately from the root word also, and should be written under or through it.

 -ment  -ly  -ness  -er  -ed or
 -est  -ing  -ological
 -tion, -sion  -able


 -ten, -tin, -ton


 -ship  -al  -ful


Common Phrases

Some phrases occur frequently enough that you might want to use abbreviations for them.

  are not, aren't  are you  as many
 as soon as  be able  cannot
 could be  could have, could've  could not
 did not, didn't  do not  had not
 have been  have had  have not, haven't
 have you  I am, I'm  I have, I've
 in which  is not, isn't  it is, it's
 of course  of which  one of
 should be  should have  should not
 some of  that are  that have
 that is, that's  that will  they are
 they could  they will  this is
 this will  we are, we're  we could
 we have, we've  we should  we will
 will be  will have  with which
 would have  you have, you've  you will, you'll



Don't try to convert from longhand to Handywrite in one go. Just start to write a few of the most common words in Handywrite, and add more as you feel the need for speed. This will make learning Handywrite relatively painless and provide an immediate payoff.

You will have to practice if you do not want to write words the long way.


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External Links

  • Easyscript
  • Learn a bit about this commercialized shorthand.

  • Keyscript
  • Learn a bit about this relatively new alphabetic shorthand.

  • IPA
  • The International Phonetic Association.

  • Unifon
  • A one sound one letter alphabet.

Handywrite at 40 words per minute.

Handywrite at 80 words per minute.

Handywrite at 100 words per minute.

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