Why Penmanship Isn’t Very Important Anymore

By: Brad Manock


           writing Growing up I was taught several skills that I was never going to actually need to use. Penmanship was one of these skills. Along with learning how to balance a checkbook, penmanship is pretty much an obsolete skill that we were taught in school. It is pretty much impossible to teach kids all of the relevant skills they will need in their adult life in this article I will discuss how computers have made penmanship basically obsolete.


Sign Your Name Here

        The only time I ever have to write in the pen-to-paper fashion is when I have to sign some kind of official document. There have ever been a few times where I was asked to sign my name on something and, for a split second, I forgot how to write in cursive. These signatures happen so far apart that the part of my brain that knows how to write in cursive fades away.

            When in doubt, I usually just write two vague squiggly lines. When I was a kid, I would look at the “signatures” of the adults around me and think “what the fuck is that supposed to be?” Or at least the little kid version of that. Occasionally the first letter of the name would be legible but that is about it.

            The adults would explain to me that cursive and penmanship were important in the real world because it was faster than printing. In an office environment, the ability to write quickly would be critical. However in recent times, the word “write” has almost completely changes to mean “typing.” Since typing is much faster than writing in cursive, it has become the relevant skill.


What If You Don’t Have A Computer?

        In that case, I am simply screwed. I cannot spell properly without a computer. I am pretty good with grammar but only because a computer will easily allow me multiple attempts if I screw up. Writing pen to paper is unforgiving and allows no second chances without “white-out.

            When I “write” on a computer, if I don’t know the spelling of a word I will just take a wild guess. If I am right, great. If I am wrong, a red squiggly line will appear under the word and I can just right-click on the word to find the correct spelling. There have been times where I would have to physically write something with a pen and I will subconsciously guess the spelling of a word, expecting the red line to appear. Then I see how wrong the word looks and feel stupid for depending on spell-check so heavily.


Where Might It Go In The Future?

            Someday there will have to be some kind of thought-based writing system. The people of the future will look down on these people who shun physically typing messages as being “lazy.” They will say “we have ALWAYS had to type our message, they don’t want to learn to type because they just want the easy way out.

            This thought based writing system perhaps could create an entire sentence with a thought. This sentence would be grammatically correct and spelled properly. The older people during that time period would look down on the younger people because, back in the day, we had to actually run the spell check manually. Moral of the story? I am thankful for word processing and am looking forward to the future.


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