Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Spring Clean

Spring Clean - Part 1 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

I have just spent a couple of days turning out some wardrobes and drawers. The weekend weather was hot and humid, too uncomfortable to travel about unnecessarily*, or even to sit in the garden. Discomfort with the sticky and clammy conditions turned into impatience with the untidy areas of the house, the scattered items and little piles of things waiting to be either used or put away somewhere. Questions* began to crowd in, demanding an answer. "Why is that there when I don't want it any more? What is in that box, and if I don't already know, then it is unlikely to be anything that I want or need. And that item, I thought I threw that out ages ago, why is it still here? I will never wear that sun hat again, so I don't need to find a storage place for it at all." Time to put a rocket under all this stuff! I find the best way* to deal with it is exactly the same as I do in the garden, "Would I buy this plant or this item, if it were not already here?" The fact that* I am asking myself the question should give a clue to the answer.

* The L stroke goes downward, so that it continues the direction of the Ses Circle, anticlockwise.

* Optional contraction "qu(estio)ns"

* Omission phrases "bes(t) way"  "fac(t) that"

Spring Clean - Part 2 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

The idea of a spring clean is a tradition in many countries, undertaken as soon as the weather is warm and dry enough to throw open all the windows and doors, cleanse the entire house contents and banish all the dust and grime. My recent effort was not so much a spring clean but more of a hunt for accumulated possessions that are no longer used or wanted. Unintentional clutter needed clearing and space made in the wardrobes. I used to watch the television programmes where someone is helped to clear out their possessions which had begun to overwhelm* their lives. They are chosen for the severity of their problem and their inability to deal with it on their own, but the methods of attack seem to work whatever the size of the task. One particular programme included stationing a large portable crusher in the front garden, so that the person could say goodbye to the junk forever, with no chance to retrieve it or wonder where it was in the future. This was always the point where the owner was either crying with relief, or smiling widely as they enjoyed regaining control, not only of their home but also of their habits that were dragging them down and ruining their lives.

* This is the dictionary outline, with a Dot Hay against the semicircle W, for the pronunciation "over-HWelm". It is unlikely these would need to be written in, as the outline alone is quite distinctive.

Spring Clean - Part 3 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

My own plan of action is generally to sort out one small area that has become disorganised, maybe just one drawer or one shelf of a cupboard or closet. I prefer to end the day with a particular task completed, and ready for another one tomorrow, if time and energy permit. There is no need to turn the whole house upside-down, which only results in running out of energy, and ending up with things being lightly dusted and rearranged rather than sorted properly. Piecemeal cleanups can be small and pleasantly interesting, especially when lost or forgotten items are discovered. This not only removes the excuse for putting it off, but also the pleasure of the tidy result provides the incentive to continue next day.

Spring Clean - Part 4 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

On the television programmes they make sorting easier by providing four big cardboard boxes, one for keep, one for donate to charity, one for recycle* and one for trash. This allows the job to proceed much faster, because no decision is final until the last day, which frees the person to get on with the sorting. Having seen the gloriously clear and clean result and the difference it makes to their lives, they are then less likely to want to spoil it by reintroducing stuff. I like to follow this method in principle, but without the boxes, and it definitely gets results quickly and without hassle - as long as the unwanted stuff is sent on its way and is not allowed to hang around as a growing pile of bulging carrier bags.

* Not in dictionary. The combination of Ray+SKL does have a precedent in the outline "arteriosclerosis".

Spring Clean - Part 5 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

When I was young, we sometimes made an effort to tidy the living room. We would tell Mum that she could not come in, because we were making a surprise for her. We shut the door firmly and then scooted around the room, straightening* mats and curtains, wiping up dust and stuffing things into cupboards. I am sure she could hear all this going on, but we were convinced that we were doing a good secret job. Our idea of tidy was to not have very much on show, and in the end we had merely relocated the disarray to the inside of the cupboards. Mum was finally invited back in to see her surprise, and found that the room was indeed a lot tidier than before. After our triumphant revelation of the miracle we had worked, and the statement that now no further work would be necessary for a long time, we would go out to play. She was duly grateful for our efforts and as soon as we were outside I am sure she must have done some rearranging of the contents of the cupboards.

* "straight" is halved, "straightened" is disjoined

Spring Clean - Part 6 of 6 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

It seems that tidying is easiest to do when someone is planning to visit and the fact that* it has to be* done by a certain time ensures an early and earnest start on the job. At other times it is tempting to tell oneself* that a task does not have to be done just yet, but it is often countered by the alarming thought, "Supposing a surprise visitor rings the doorbell in the next five minutes?" This scary reminder usually has the desired effect, and the offending crumbs, teacups, bits of laundry, tools, and unfiled paperwork are rapidly cleared away. The disadvantage of a big cleanup is the expectation that it need not be done again for a very long time. This attitude virtually ensures that mess will be allowed to build up again, and I prefer to endeavour to keep things on the move, so that the work always remains manageable. I have not arrived at this place of glorious housekeeping perfection just yet, but I can still enjoy the immediate benefits of working towards the goal. (1041 words)

* Omission phrase "and the (f)act that"

* "it has to be" is better not written as one phrase, which would look the same as "it is to be". By writing two phrases, you can show the "as" in its correct position.

* Omits the N "o(n)eself"

Ring binder and shorthand pen
Some things escape the attack of tidy-itis -
the treasured folders of shorthand lists and jottings

Friday, 18 July 2014

Fish Newsletter

The Pond Fishes are delighted to offer their Newsletter to enable practising of a chatty style.

Fish Newsletter - Part 1 of 8 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Goldfish and water lily flowerGreetings one and all. Now that we are in the middle of summer, we thought it was high time that we wrote a newsletter to all our friends. First of all*, we do not have any bad news to report, as the winter was very mild and we really wondered whether we had got our calendars wrong. There was loads of rain, which we were very happy with, but no cold or ice or snow* to freeze the ceiling of our pond world. This did make the supposed winter seem rather longer, as we were active and awake most of the time. You might know that when it is cold we tend to doze off and mooch around the bottom of the pond, away from the ice, and not really take much account of time passing. However, that is all past, and we are now enjoying the sunny* weather, warm water and the abundance of flies and other goodies that land in our water.

* Omission phrase "first (of) all

* Always insert the first vowel in snow/snowy/sun/sunny, to differentiate*

Fish Newsletter - Part 2 of 8 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Goldfish feeding on pelletsWe are pleased to report that our pond is looking much neater than of late. The pond owner has removed all the old bent and rusty wire fencing, that was leaning this way and that, and has replaced it with some much tidier and slimmer fencing that is actually standing upright and in a continuous straight row along each of the four sides. This is much better for us as we can now see what is going on above much more clearly. The netting all around is also more neatly organised, and the part over the top does not now sag as it is held up with crossing wires. We feel much safer with the netting, as we don't really like visits from herons, ducks, foxes or cats. Fortunately the dinner pellets fall right through the holes. We are very glad to say that* there are plenty of gaps and holes between adjoining pieces of net for any sparrows to escape, if they find their way in, and a reasonable gap along the bottom edges for the frogs to come and go easily. This new arrangement suits everyone here very well and we are very pleased with the improved appearance and tidiness.

* Omission phrase "very glad (to) s(ay) that"

Fish Newsletter - Part 3 of 8 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Goldfish resting in blanket weedWith the recent very humid weather, we have had a few problems with oxygen levels in our water. Although it was lovely to have some nice sunny days, and plenty of blanket weed to lounge around in, we did find that one morning, about a week ago, the water was getting rather depleted and we were all feeling a little dazed and weak. Most of us lined up at the filter outlet to get fresh water from there*, but the flow is not as strong as it used to be, and things were getting a little risky. Fortunately the pond owner saw our plight first thing in the morning and immediately put a water spray from the hose into our pond, to help with the aeration*. We just love our blanket weed but it had to go, as it was using up the oxygen at night, or so we have been told by some friends who know about these things. We felt so much better when the pond was cleared a bit more, including removing a lot of the lily leaves to expose more of the surface to the air, and the situation began to look more hopeful.

* Doubling used for "there"

* Some of the older New Era dictionaries show the first vowel as a diphone for words beginning with "aer-", to accord with the older pronunciation "ay-er"

Fish Newsletter - Part 4 of 8 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Pond air pumpLater on the owners returned with a big grey boxy machine, which they put on a chair beside the pond, and lots of thin plastic piping. They attached the piping to some strange-looking grey stones and lowered them into the water at the corner of the pond. To our complete amazement* the stones began producing two huge columns of bubbles, which took us by surprise. We huddled at the opposite corner until we were sure everything was all right. After about half an hour, we noticed that very fresh and pleasant aerated* water was beginning to circulate over to our corner. Gradually we went to investigate, and found that it was not dangerous at all. In fact it was stirring things up, which we always like, as it can sometimes wash out some snacks from their* hiding place. In no time at all we were playing in and out of the bubbles, full of energy and alertness. All this extra activity seems to have given us a bigger appetite, so when someone goes past, we make a point of milling about to persuade them that some pellets or crumbs would be a good idea. We can find plenty of flies etc but it is so much easier when the food is just dropped in front of us. However, we do generally like to poke about, and hunting down the varied snacks keeps us happy and occupied from dawn till dusk.

* Always insert vowel in amaze/amuse and their derivatives, to differentiate

See note on "aeration" above

* Doubling used for "their"

Goldfish and aeration bubbles

Fish Newsletter - Part 5 of 8 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

FrogIt seems* a long time since the frogs were here. The jelly was quite delicious and I am sure the pond owners did not really want a few thousand new frogs hopping about the garden. We do still have some frog visitors, and several small new frogs can sometimes be seen jumping along the edges. I think most of the resident full-size frogs are scattered about the garden, but occasionally one gets tipped into the water from a flowerpot, and we think that this is probably to prevent him coming to grief while someone is weeding the damp and shady corners.

* If the M were thickened in this phrase, it would read "it is impossible". If there is any doubt about reading back correctly, the vowel of "seems" should be inserted e.g. "it seems that we will be.../it is impossible that we will be..."

Fish Newsletter - Part 6 of 8 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Goldfish with reflections of skyThe frogs don't really talk much, and so we are left wondering what the rest of the garden is like, but we can get a good idea from the tall waving plants and the trees that we can see. We can always tell what the weather is going to do, as we have such a good view of the changing sky, although when a big bird flies overhead we sometimes feel it is prudent to make a quick dash for the safety of the lily leaves. If someone is sitting nearby with their lunch on their lap, then the resulting splash onto their plate is just too bad, as we have to think of safety before manners! Sometimes this means that either we or the sparrows end up with the bread parts of their former lunch, so nothing is wasted.

Fish Newsletter - Part 7of 8 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Goldfish hiding under water lily leavesWhen it is very hot, we like to rest under the water lily leaves. Personally I prefer it when three leaves come together, leaving a small triangular gap for me to look through. It has to be quite small, so that my bright orange colour is not too obvious. Once we have been fed, this is our favourite activity whilst we chew on the pellets or bits of crust, although there is always someone who is convinced that there are still a few pieces of food floating about behind the plants in the corner. Once it is all quiet, we dream of lakes, rivers and seas, and what it might be like to swim in miles and miles of water. But on waking we are glad that we are not face to face* with sharks, seagulls* or fishing nets, and that our meals are regular and dependable.

* Omission phrase "face (to) face"

* The stroke S for "sea" is retained in derivatives

Fish Newsletter - Part 8 of 8 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Shadowy figure of
Green Tench in the centre
You might be wondering how we know about sharks, and the answer is that we have some tench friends in our pond, who, we are told on good authority, can look quite shark-like with their long dark greeny grey body, moody-looking face and their habit of darting suddenly for their food when they come up. They generally stay on the bottom to eat things that have sunk down, but sometimes they join the crowd for the food, as they feel it is probably safe at those times. That is all the news from our pond, and we hope you have enjoyed seeing some pictures of our home and friends. With best wishes, Fish, Tish* and Swish. (1308 words)

* Ish goes down after plain T, and up after D, to provide additional differentiation, compare "moustache/tosh" and "dash/dish/trash/bitterish"

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Con Prefix

Con Prefix - Part 1 of 13 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

This article practises words beginning with Con and Com. I have been through a list of the 2000 most common words and pulled out all those with this prefix and added a few extra as well. I have used proximity* where appropriate, but all the outlines here have the con dot in their basic form. This is the only prefix where the position of the outline is decided by the vowel of the main word and not the prefix. This is because the sheer number of con words makes it more convenient to know the second vowel rather than the first.  All other prefixes do follow the rule and use the first vowel to determine position. As usual, the composition below is one of convenience of vocabulary, as our fictional friend Mr Speedy* does seem to be basing his report of his career, actions and opinions on words from certain pages near the beginning of the shorthand dictionary. You know how it is, once you have a particular item in mind, in this case the Con prefix, you tend to see it everywhere, and Mr Speedy is no exception.

* Writing two outlines close together

* "A Most Distinguished Writer" article of 8 July 2012

Con Prefix - Part 2 of 13 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Cast iron seat at Stockwood Park Luton
Dear Readers, I have been invited to convey to you how I came to be a shorthand writer*. I was employed in a very comfortable job, undemanding and low paid. I spent my days obeying the every command of my superior, be it filing papers, tidying the office or making tea. During a particularly boring day, I was sorting the contents of the desk drawers and came across an old notebook containing some sort of convoluted writing which I took to be shorthand consonants. I consulted it again during the tea break*, admiring its conciseness and the great skill taken to produce it. I somehow decided not to be controlled by my own lack of skill or prospects, I wished to regain control of my days, and become a commander of my own life. I listened to the considered advice and comments of my family, and decided to commit myself to the study of shorthand.

* Omission phrase "short(hand) writer"

* Needs the vowel, to differentiate from "outbreak"

Con Prefix - Part 3 of 13 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Dove plastic ornaments
It was my constant dream that maybe one day I could take committee notes, like the writer of the old notebook must have done. I knew that the subject was not common, but having communicated my interest to some good friends, they advised me to investigate* the subject at the town community centre library. Eventually I sent a communication to a local bookseller who found the appropriate books for me to study, containing everything I needed to know. I committed myself to this decision and commenced learning the new subject. I now felt that I was a small part of the shorthand community spanning the years, carrying on this commendable study into the future. My friends commended me on this new venture and recommended that I continue with the plan. I was confident that I could maintain my commitment and reach my goal of complete mastery of the subject.

* Omits the T "inves(t)igate"

Con Prefix - Part 4 of 13 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Aquarium fish
Although I studied at home, I did have the company of a friend who was also committed to learning. We combined our learning with our weekly conversations in the comfort of the conservatory. We would continually swap and compare notes, and then make a comparison of our outlines with the dictionary. We did not compete with each other, as the competitive frame of mind was not helpful at the beginning, and our only competition was to be with the dictation recordings that we followed. My friend would often complain of a lack of live dictation, so we read out passages in turn and this complaint rapidly disappeared. I complained that he was overtaking me in ability, and he said that I should be more compliant with the rules of the system! This I committed to do and quickly caught up with his progress. At first the subject seemed complex, but we took one step at a time, in continuous and steady succession, and within a few weeks* it did not seem complicated at all, as our skill continually increased and improved*.

* Omission phrase "few wee(k)s", can also be written "few (w)eeks", but this version is faster

* Striking a dash through is an advanced method of showing past tense in a contraction

Con Prefix - Part 5 of 13 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

We did our best to ensure our shorthand notes were complete with no gaps, and that the outlines were completely correct. Mostly we read them back but often typed them up on the computer, as it was a concern that we might be conveniently skipping bits when reading, giving us a false sense of our command of shorthand. We concentrated on revising the previous chapters at regular intervals, and trained ourselves to concentrate and listen intently during dictations. Our concentration paid off and we gained a comprehensive knowledge of the system. In the early days we could not comprehend how anyone could write it, but now we had a complete grasp of all the concepts, and we were never concerned about getting at least something of what was being said.

Con Prefix - Part 6 of 13 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Thames Barrier, Woolwich, London
(Thames Barrier, London)
I had no concerns at all about practising my new skill. I made a concerted effort to write telephone messages and lists in shorthand, and even wrote the songs at a music concert in shorthand on the back of the programme sheet. I could only conclude that my constant efforts to incorporate* shorthand into daily life were beginning to have an effect. This conclusion*was borne out when, during my daily commute on the train and bus, all the location announcements appeared in imagination before my eyes as outlines, and I went past my stop on several occasions! I became convinced that shorthand was slowly taking control of my waking hours!

* The contraction is only used for "incorporated"

* Omission phrase "this (con)clusion"

Con Prefix - Part 7 of 13 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Aquarium goldfish
Continuous confusion
Having reached this condition of shorthand dedication and commitment, I decided to attend a local conference to see if my shorthand was ready for combat conditions in a live situation. I approached the conference centre with my pad and pen in my briefcase ready for action, but also with some trepidation and conflicting emotions on the task ahead. My confidence was not sufficient to sit at the front near the stage where everyone could see me, so I made a compromise and took a seat at the back conveniently underneath one of the loudspeakers, which resolved the conflict of possibly not hearing the speaker in the distance. I was confident that I could get something of the speeches, and eventually committed myself to taking down some whole sentences, rather than isolated words and concepts.

Con Prefix - Part 8 of 13 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Floating ball with eyes, as fishpond heron deterrent
(fishpond heron deterrent)
The speaker's introduction consisted of easy material, and my shorthand was consistent with good dictionary forms. However, as he got into his stride, the matter started to consist of business jargon and technical terms*. My shorthand descended into confusion and I knew that some of the outlines would be confused with others when I came to read back. My confidence took a battering and conflicting thoughts began to arise. I knew I needed to maintain more control and be more conscious of intrusive worries. As I increased my efforts, I settled down to better writing, getting at least every other sentence, and connected the forms into convenient time-saving phrases.

* Omission phrase "tech(nical) terms"

Con Prefix - Part 9 of 13 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

At last I had made the connection in my mind between the sound heard and the outline written. The consequence was that I felt that I could consider myself to be a reasonably competent shorthand writer. Although my notes consisted of partial information from this very fast matter, I had captured some of the content in full and written consistently neatly. The content of this particular talk was later misquoted by a local reporter, and I posted a comment and picture of the relevant part of my notes on the newspaper's website, showing how shorthand is essential for accuracy. I was amazed that the other commenters were also considering the benefits of taking up shorthand, and even the reporter himself replied that he needed to give it consideration in order to avoid any complaints in the future and to enhance his contributions, as well as his career prospects. I was delighted with this online conversation, as well as encouraging the conversion of several people to this wonderful subject.

Con Prefix - Part 10 of 13 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Cupped hands mini fountain
Conveniently contained
After this resounding success, I decided to continue my studies, and for the next few months I was constantly reading and writing shorthand in every spare moment. I constructed a file of practice materials, consulted the dictionary constantly, and composed books of drills. I contacted my friend regularly by email to swap sound file dictations with each other. My notebooks contained page after page of notes and drills, and my ink bottle began to contain less and less* ink, as it was being used up so rapidly. Having gained more confidence in my writing, I consulted my superior at the company where I worked to confirm my willingness to take notes at any meetings if required. Shorthand was beginning to become a very convenient and useful commodity for me, and common sense told me that I should make the most of this combination of skill and opportunity.

* Omission phrase "less (and) less"

Con Prefix - Part 11 of 13 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Coot on next in pond
Construction complete
I had gained a reputation for handling confidential information properly, and before long I was contacted by the construction department manager in connection with his next staff meeting. I knew this was generally a small informal affair and so my confidence remained high. The meeting was convened in order to hear contributions and suggestions from the staff, and I successfully made a complete word for word note of what each person said, with the remainder as more concise and condensed notes. The construction manager was delighted with the contents of my report, and contacted me with a list of future meetings to attend. I was well paid for my contribution to the company, and even earned a bonus for working extra hours and the completion of the task to a very constricted deadline.

Con Prefix - Part 12 of 13 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

I became convinced that I now had the control over my working day that I had set out* to gain, and eventually I was offered a lucrative long-term contract at head office, to attend conventions, conferences and congresses in order to produce commentaries on proceedings. I also had the job of recording committee meetings and confidential staff and management conversations, and working on communications between the directors of the company . My working conditions have been converted from slow and boring, to fast and interesting. In conclusion*, I must mention that I continue to study consistently, having made the connection between study efforts and eventual success, with the aim of reducing further any conflicts, confusions or concerns that might interfere with good shorthand writing. I hope I have converted readers to consider* the subject or to greater confidence in continuing to improve their skill. They may even wish to write out this communication from dictation, in the expectation of getting it all down in commendable and competent shorthand.

* Halving used for the second word "se-tout", see more at

* Omission phrases "In (con)clusion" "to (con)sider"

Con Prefix - Part 13 of 13 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Sparrows camouflaged on brown soil
Conveniently concealed
I think you might be wondering if I ever managed to read the contents of that old notebook. Well, it was not company work but merely concealed a complete and comprehensive shopping list concerning family Christmas presents, as well as a condensed version of some private conversation. Although its discovery started my uncommon shorthand journey, I think I can make the constructive comment that confidential shorthand notes should be kept safe and not left lying around for others to read. Maybe they did it on purpose so that the next person would learn! Best regards, Mr Speedy. (1870 words)

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Omission Phrases

Omission Phrases - Part 1 of 7 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Little bits missing but readable
Here is some material that practises lots of omission phrases. There is no quicker way to write something than not to write it at all, as long as the writer is thoroughly familiar with the phrase, and also there is no clash with any similar ones. Trying* to recall a half-learned* phrase can take longer than using separate outlines, and unless they flow readily from the pen, they will be more of a hindrance than a help. For this reason it is better to know a selection of common ones really well, than to attempt to absorb long lists that may never or rarely be used. The phrases here are taken from the Guide To Phrasing*, and so can be considered completely reliable. If you have any doubt about using a phrase in a particular sentence, it is better not to use it until the ambiguity has been cleared up. I suggest you practise all the phrases singly before taking it from dictation, as so many have been squeezed in. Having done that I am sure you will appreciate what a time-saver they are but only when they have been learned thoroughly and can be written without hesitation. I would mention that it would be better to finish the instruction book before taking on these more advanced phrasing methods. A thorough knowledge of the basics is your key to success which no amount of ingenious phrasing can ever replace in the quest for speed.

* No diphone, as the "I" sound is part of the Ing Dot

Using the F stroke in "half" allows it to join

* Guide to Phrasing in Pitman New Era Shorthand by June Swann, which is a rewrite of The New Phonographic Phrase Book by Emily D Smith

Omission Phrases - Part 2 of 7 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Odd bits missing but readable

Last week I was very busy but I am sure that next week I will be very much busier. I was resting at home for a time but then I realised that I had more and more things to do. I was at a loss as to how to get them all done, but as a rule I find making a list very helpful. First and foremost I write the most important things, but within one or two hours, the list grows larger and larger, and the page becomes longer and longer. Now and then I have to stop, and make some alterations here and there. I put similar things side by side, so that they can be done all at the same time but sometimes there is not much between them on which to make a decision.

Omission Phrases - Part 3 of 7 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Occasional bits missing but readable
I have to bear in mind that doing some of the items is out of the question* this month, and they will have to be done next month instead. Everything would have been* much simpler if I did not have to take into account my family's point of view on the subject. They want to know whether or not I have taken into account their wishes and viewpoints. Fortunately there is no difference of opinion between us and our standard of living has continued to improve. Some of them agree that it is a sign of the times, and directly or indirectly they all benefit from my work. With regard to the information in our hands, at first sight it can be difficult to know whether it is right or wrong, but up to the present I believe that I have made the best decisions year by year. It is more or less* in line with our long-term plans but neither more nor less* than a miracle that we have done so well.

* "question" also has an optional contraction as KW + N hook

* Keep the N hook clear, or it will read as "would be". The full form of "would + have + N hook for been" could be used, but the phrase given is slightly quicker as the join is easier. Similarly "must (have) been"

* Note that "neither" must be followed by "nor". If the person speaking actually says neither...or, then that would have to be written in full and this particular phrase not used.

Omission Phrases - Part 4 of 7 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Fair bit missing but still readable
In connection with my job at the technical college in the City of London, I am sorry to say that I have now come to the conclusion that it is not as good as it was in the past, and I will be considering all the facts* of the case as regards my employment there up to the present time. It is one of the most high-pressure jobs I have had to do. My doctor will often call attention to the matter and for the sake of my health I am considering my position within the company. This is one of the most important decisions that I have to consider. At first I did not know whether or not I should make a change, but in the circumstances, and taking into account all the facts of the situation, I have now come to the conclusion that it would be better to make a firm decision. No other way would produce such satisfactory results and it stands to reason that our decisions are based on information rather than just opinion. I will be extremely sorry to say goodbye to my good friends but I am very pleased that this well-paid position will now be open to one of my colleagues. I am sure there is a very good chance, in their opinion, that this will produce satisfactory results for everyone.

* Where "fact" comes first in the phrase, use the full form. The version that omits the F is used in the middle or end of a phrase and sometimes disjoined.

Omission Phrases - Part 5 of 7 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

A lot missing and obscured
but just readable
I have borne in mind everything that I have achieved so far. In regard to my future, I am now 55 years of age, and from my point of view within a few months I will have brought this phase of my working life to a satisfactory conclusion. My family have said that they certainly have no objection and a low pressure* life is much more convenient for us all. Our travel will no longer incur heavy expenses, and there are no other great expenses to take into consideration when we are planning our expenditure. In fact, we made a list of the necessary expenses of family life a short time ago which seems to have confirmed our opinion on the financial information. In this manner, I hope to be able to join my family as early as possible in order to enjoy the sights of the West End of London, followed by a tour of the British Isles for several weeks to study the native animal life in all parts of the country. We enjoy travelling both at home and abroad, and from time to time like to spend a few weeks away in order to refresh ourselves. There is no other thing that we would prefer to be doing and it is a perfectly satisfactory way of spending our holidays.

* "low pressure" is given here as an example, but in this particular context it could be misread as "leisure" so needs the vowel, or writing in full.

Omission Phrases - Part 6 of 7 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Numbers must never have bits missing!
As regards my home life, now that my days are more favourable for learning new subjects, I will be taking up shorthand writing, and if possible I will use it to produce a book on foreign affairs and the political life of this country. I will also be writing a book about my early days on the other side of the country, working in the engineering machine shops making parts for British ships. Generally speaking, I am glad that all these things have taken place*, and that my future is going in this direction. There are so many other things to do and much more to see. I am sure we will all look forward to our times together, now that I no longer have to go backwards and forwards to the technical college. The Prime Minister's recent changes in bank rates, taxation and the rate of exchange have produced very satisfactory results for us, and we are almost certain to make gains in some measure, especially on our savings with the Post Office.

* "takes place" would still include the L hook (similarly to "explain"). The phrases for "take/taking/took place" also do not need to omit the L hook. Note that T+K+circle S+P+circle S is used for "take steps"

Omission Phrases - Part 7 of 7 - Long Live Pitman's Shorthand! Blogspot

Too much missing**
For the most part we are very happy with everything and are hardly likely to want to go back to our old way of life. I can confirm that this decision has now been made and we are on the move once again. Although the job was a first-rate one, it is most important* not to miss out on other opportunities and we hope that our decision this week will, in the course of time, make for a long life full of worthwhile activities. In our opinion it seems important* that we use all this extra time during the course of the year to undertake the items on our list from beginning to end*, starting tomorrow morning. I am very pleased indeed with how things have turned out and there is no reason why would should want it to be any other way. I hope that within three or four months we will be enjoying ourselves to the best of our ability and in six or seven years we will have entirely forgotten the state of affairs as they used to be for a major part of our lives. (1369 words)

* "it is most important" versus "it seems important" Always insert the vowel of "seems" or alternatively write "it seems" as a phrase and "important" as a lone outline

* If you add a Tick The to “from”, then the phrase would be “from the beginning to the end”

** It's a shop that hires out tools to repair things with!

In the PDF of this article, the omission phrases will be listed showing which parts are left out.

For many more examples, see the main website: