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  #1  
Old 09-07-2002, 02:58 AM
Gopher Gopher is offline
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Why do some people cross their 7's?

I can't think of any other symbol that it could be confused with so can any Dopers please satisfy my curiosity?
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  #2  
Old 09-07-2002, 03:13 AM
chique chique is offline
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My handwriting stinks. If I don't cross my 7s they look like 1s. Picked it up a long long time ago after seeing my Prussian great-grandfather's handwriting - his 1s and 7s looked exactly alike except for the cross.
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  #3  
Old 09-07-2002, 04:22 AM
Achernar Achernar is offline
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Agreed. Some people write their 1's with a downstroke, in order to distinguish them from I's and l's, I imagine. This is especially common in Europe.
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  #4  
Old 09-07-2002, 05:08 AM
Bryan Ekers Bryan Ekers is online now
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I cross my zeroes, also.
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  #5  
Old 09-07-2002, 05:38 AM
dead0man dead0man is offline
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My handwriting is even worse than my grammer and spelling. I don't cross my 7's though. I DO cross my Z's. I'd guess the people that cross things do it out of a learned habit. I picked up the Z crossing thing from high school algebra so as not to confuse 2's and Z's.
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  #6  
Old 09-07-2002, 05:52 AM
Nils Nils is offline
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Crossing 7's Z's (only capital) and writing 1's with a downstroke is the default way writing is taught in German schools. I guess this is the same in most of central Europe. So it's not just a habit.
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  #7  
Old 09-07-2002, 06:13 AM
Horseflesh Horseflesh is offline
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I was in the Personnel Automation field during my stint in the Active Army. We were taught to write certain letters and numbers in a way that couldn't be confused on a code sheet.

One - vertical line with an underscore. Looks like an upside-down T. Like this: ^

Seven - cross with a horizontal bar through the middle. I was told by my dad that this was a German thing, who knows?

Zero - vertical ellipse with a foreslash. 0 and / placed on top of each other.

Capital Oh (O)- underscored circle.

Capital Ess (S) - underscored. To differentiate it from 5.

Capital Zee (Z) - crossed like 7. To differentiate it from 2.

blank space - A b and / on top of each other.

I still write like this when handwriting stuff (I have horrible handwriting) 10 years later.
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  #8  
Old 09-07-2002, 06:19 AM
Tamerlane Tamerlane is offline
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I know why I do it. Because in third grade the teaching assistant in my class was a Swedish exchange student or something ( hey, it was third grade, I wasn't up on the details ) and idly commented, after thinking I had crossed a 7 when I had just made a semi-scribbled seven, that it was a European thing to do. I thought that was just neat at that tender age and started doing it deliberately. Z's too. Now it is just habit .

- Tamerlane
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  #9  
Old 09-07-2002, 06:29 AM
Babar714 Babar714 is offline
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I won't cross a seven because it eight nine.

I just had to, I'm sorry. Moderators, please feel free to delete this post if the corneyness of it is too potent.

Carry on!
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  #10  
Old 09-07-2002, 06:33 AM
Sue Duhnym Sue Duhnym is offline
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Seventh grade algebra, that's why.

Well, in my case at least. Z and 0 (zero) too.
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  #11  
Old 09-07-2002, 06:56 AM
Crafter_Man Crafter_Man is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Horseflesh
Capital Ess (S) - underscored. To differentiate it from 5.
I use $ for S.
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  #12  
Old 09-07-2002, 07:02 AM
Khadaji Khadaji is offline
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We were taught to do it in Algebra class so that it would not be confused with Zs
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  #13  
Old 09-07-2002, 07:02 AM
Geek Mecha Geek Mecha is offline
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I cross my 7s and my lowercase zs. I do it because I like the way those characters look that way.

I picked it up about 10 years ago, when I was 15. Unlike my other attempts to change my handwriting, this one stuck with little conscious effort.
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  #14  
Old 09-07-2002, 08:21 AM
Chris Luongo Chris Luongo is offline
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This is only halfway related, but it might be worth sharing:

I install car alarms and remote starters for a number of car dealers, and I spend a lot of my time at this one Toyota dealer.

Their new Toyotas carry a stock number beginning with T. For example, it might be T1234. Used cars start with P, for "pre-owned."

Sometimes, they'll end up swapping cars with another Toyota dealer, in order to get the car their customer wants......I had to ask someone to explain why their swap cars had stock numbers like 1234$. Makes sense now.
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  #15  
Old 09-07-2002, 08:36 AM
Crusoe Crusoe is offline
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I do it because (a) I was taught to, and (b) I've done enough data entry jobs where people's handwriting on application forms was dire. You'd be surprised how easy it is to make a 1 look like a 7.
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  #16  
Old 09-07-2002, 09:26 AM
Sivalensis Sivalensis is offline
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I cross my z's because of high school algebra. I cross my 7s because it's european and I wanted to be different than other people.
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  #17  
Old 09-07-2002, 12:35 PM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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I read a news item once about a state government employee who was fired from his job because he was told to quit adding the crossbar to his 7s. Because they were trying to standardize government employee handwriting or some such idiotic crusade. He continued to cross them and was fired.
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  #18  
Old 09-07-2002, 01:13 PM
lee lee is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jomo Mojo
I read a news item once about a state government employee who was fired from his job because he was told to quit adding the crossbar to his 7s. Because they were trying to standardize government employee handwriting or some such idiotic crusade. He continued to cross them and was fired.
I heard TV interviews of other cops at that place talking about him. THey did not like the crossing of the 7's because it struck them as something a furriner would do so they made up that thing so they could fire him.
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  #19  
Old 09-07-2002, 01:25 PM
Monty Monty is offline
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Back when I was a SIDPERS clerk, Horseflesh, I got the same number writing instructions you did with one addition: the S also had an underscore to distinguish it from a 5.
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  #20  
Old 09-07-2002, 01:54 PM
Johanna Johanna is offline
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Thanks, lee. I knew I hadn't imagined the whole thing. So it was just good old American knownothingism (xenophobic bigotry).

I have used the crossbar on 7 and Z most of my life, too. I self-consciously started to do so because letters from my cousins in Italy had them, and I observed the practice when I went to France, so I adopted it to be more cosmopolitan. But then it became just a habit.

I think of it as a "moustache."
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  #21  
Old 09-07-2002, 02:13 PM
Savaka Savaka is offline
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I started crossing my 7s in high school math, but I found it most helpful in distinguishing them from 2s, not from Zs or 1s. I'm a little surprised no one has mentioned this yet. My handwriting is quite illegible, but I've never had problems distinguishing numbers from letters.
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  #22  
Old 09-07-2002, 03:39 PM
Coileán Coileán is offline
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It's not a German thing, it's an Arabic thing.

If you write a 1, remove the bottom line but keep the little doo-dad at the top, you have an iconic orthographic form. It's got one angle.

When you write a 2 but don't curve the lines, it looks like a Z. Two angles.

A 3, again sans curves, looks like a backwards sigma. Three angles.

For a 7, add a downwards slash at the left side of the horizontal. Straighten out the diagnol and add a dash parallel to horizontal. Add a cross midway up your not vertical line and you end up with seven angles. Here's a web page that explains it a helluva lot better than I can.

Kinda makes sense huh?
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  #23  
Old 09-07-2002, 03:44 PM
Coileán Coileán is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Coileán
...Add a cross midway up your not vertical line...
Make that "now vertical line."
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  #24  
Old 09-07-2002, 05:34 PM
Horseflesh Horseflesh is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Monty
Back when I was a SIDPERS clerk, Horseflesh, I got the same number writing instructions you did with one addition: the S also had an underscore to distinguish it from a 5.
Always glad to meet a fellow PISMS. I still work in a SIB for the National Guard. SIDPERS has changed quite a bit in the Active Army from 15 years ago; The Army Reserve and NG versions are substantially different. Er, I did mention capital S in my first post didn't I?

Coileán, that's the way I was taught to make 7s also, but I never did switch from making a diagonal leg to a vertical.
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  #25  
Old 09-07-2002, 06:09 PM
mmmiiikkkeee mmmiiikkkeee is offline
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Many of my french teachers (both from Quebec and other countries) write 1's like 7's, and the 7's have the slash. I also remember when taking junior high math in french that they used a comma for a decimal point - something that costs a dollar fifty was written $1,50. I stopped taking math in french soon after, and wondered if they would confuse something like 12,567 as being 12.567 as opposed to what most people would think of as 12 thousand five sixty seven.
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  #26  
Old 09-07-2002, 08:24 PM
Wonko The Sane Wonko The Sane is offline
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I cross my sevens, zeros and Zs because of my wretched handwriting, and because I like to be different.
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  #27  
Old 09-07-2002, 08:30 PM
clayton_e clayton_e is offline
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I cross my 0's because my e-mail addy which I've had for a couple years now is cs302b@yahoo.com

A bitch to explain to someone if it's o or 0.. so I just cross it.
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  #28  
Old 09-07-2002, 08:45 PM
Sunspace Sunspace is offline
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Crossing zeroes really confuses Scandinavian people though... makes ordering something at Ikea difficult.
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  #29  
Old 09-08-2002, 07:36 AM
Sparc Sparc is offline
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Quote:
Crossing zeroes really confuses Scandinavian people though... makes ordering something at Ikea difficult.
?¿?

IKEA in Toronto is Danish? Or maybe Norwegian? Funny, ‘cause in the rest of the world it’s Swedish and for the epiglottal O the Swedes have a separate letter which is O with an umlaut [Ö] while as the Danes and the Norwegians write it with a slash [Ø]. In German it’s not a separate letter, but the epiglottal O is also denoted by an umlaut.

Incidentally it is customary to not cross the 7 in Sweden, which was just one of many things that made me look somewhat exotic upon settling for a while in the ancestral lands many years after learning how to write. It is also cool that Tamerlane was inspired to cross the 7 by a national whose compatriots frown upon it much the same way Americans do; as sumthin a furiner does. Then again Sweden is more or less the 51st State, although the hardcore Scandophiles would never admit it, all I say is, “Count the 7/11s…”

Waitaminute! What’s that ‘eleven’ doing crossing the 7 - ODD!

Sparc
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  #30  
Old 09-08-2002, 07:46 AM
Geek Mecha Geek Mecha is offline
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An addition to my previous post: I also cross my zeroes, but only when it's important to make the distinction between them and the letter O. When I write down e-mail addresses, software serial numbers, and passwords that have zeroes in them, they all get crossed, so that I may avoid confusion and uncertainty later.
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  #31  
Old 09-08-2002, 11:35 AM
mnemosyne mnemosyne is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by mmmiiikkkeee
Many of my french teachers (both from Quebec and other countries) write 1's like 7's, and the 7's have the slash. I also remember when taking junior high math in french that they used a comma for a decimal point - something that costs a dollar fifty was written $1,50. I stopped taking math in french soon after, and wondered if they would confuse something like 12,567 as being 12.567 as opposed to what most people would think of as 12 thousand five sixty seven.
NO, there is no confusion in cases like this, because the comma is not used to separate groups in larger numbers, as you wrote your 12,567. Instead, the number would be written as 12 567 (with a space between the 2 and 5). A large value with a decimal place, for example what you mgiht write as 12,567.89 is written as 12 567,89.

As for the OP I cross my 7s mainly because I often "cursive" my numbers, running one into the other. If, for example, I write 51, I might connect the top line of the 5 to the 1, and so I use the cross to show if its a 7 or 1 (hard to describe ). I cross Zs (capital and small) to differentiate them from my 2s.
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  #32  
Old 09-08-2002, 11:52 AM
Nils Nils is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by mnemosyne


NO, there is no confusion in cases like this, because the comma is not used to separate groups in larger numbers, as you wrote your 12,567. Instead, the number would be written as 12 567 (with a space between the 2 and 5). A large value with a decimal place, for example what you mgiht write as 12,567.89 is written as 12 567,89.
Either like that OR

we use dot and comma just the other way round:
12,567.89 = 12 557,89 = 12.567,89
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  #33  
Old 09-08-2002, 12:01 PM
Acsenray Acsenray is offline
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Quote:
epiglottal O
"Epiglottal O"? That's a new term to me. I know of the sounds represented by German ö as Cardinal Vowels 10 and 11 or the "upper mid-front rounded vowel" and the "lower mid-front rounded vowel," also known as rounded /e/ and rounded /E/.
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  #34  
Old 09-08-2002, 02:29 PM
Pop Pop is offline
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I have seen many Europeans writing the number one as such: /| (just connect the two lines at the top)

The extra upstroke (never saw anyone doing it as a down stroke) can be very pronounced and you can easily see how it could be confused with a seven.
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  #35  
Old 09-09-2002, 12:24 PM
Cliffy Cliffy is offline
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I think it looks cool.

--Cliffy
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  #36  
Old 09-09-2002, 01:21 PM
suranyi suranyi is offline
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Back in 1982 I was a college sophomore. That summer I worked in the school's accounting office. This was in the days before computers were omnipresent (some people had PCs, but most didn't), so I wrote a lot of spreadsheets by hand.

I soon found that I could write numbers much faster, while leaving them intelligible, if I crossed my sevens. I've been doing it ever since.

Ed
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  #37  
Old 09-09-2002, 02:28 PM
DeepPurple DeepPurple is offline
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I fell in love with Thelonious Bernard in "A Little Romance" & he did it so I copied it. I just knew he'd find me if I continued. ok, that part didn't happen.
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  #38  
Old 09-10-2002, 07:00 PM
Koth Koth is offline
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I used to do it until highschool, when I quickly wrote down "7" as an answer in a French test. My teacher thought it was a 12, and marked it wrong. I failed the test because of that one question.

I haven't put a cross in my 7s since.
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  #39  
Old 09-11-2002, 12:50 AM
vivalostwages vivalostwages is offline
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I started crossing mine years ago because my handwriting has deteriorated, and I don't want my ones confused with my sevens.
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  #40  
Old 09-11-2002, 01:14 AM
OliverTwistofLime OliverTwistofLime is offline
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When I served 3 1/2 years in Munich,Germany in the US Army, I learned 2 items that made life much easier for me:

1. Cross 7's to distinguish them from ones
and
2. To write the date as 10 SEPT 2002 rather than 9/10/02 or 9/10/2002.
because many times I Don't know whether someone meant Oct 9th or Sept 10th when I look back on a date.
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  #41  
Old 09-11-2002, 02:18 AM
Seven Seven is offline
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I hate when people cross me.
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  #42  
Old 09-11-2002, 02:31 AM
albatross37 albatross37 is offline
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Oh, the perils of writing numbers...

I think the reason has to do with one's degree of OCD. I am very compulsive. I have the diagonal tick =AND= underline on my 1's, two horizontal ticks on either end of my capital I's, never close off my 4's (like this font does...it is SO gauche). I cross my 7's AND add the downward tick. I slash my 0's (for the number....)...it is all ridiculous, but if I don't do it, people will not understand what is going on. Lesser mistakes have happened.

Not to digress, but MadSam makes a good point, too. So many places around the world write dates differently. Americans, I think, write Month/Day/Year; Japanese write them Year/Month/Day; Indonesians write Day/Month/Year....
I wouldn't be surprised to find a Month/Year/Day format somewhere...
Now, what irkes me is when (like an expiration date on the back of an egg or something) is written with the 2-digit abreviated version XX.XX.XX, when, unless the number is greater than 12, you have NO IDEA what it is! I can never remember what country I'm in and which does which style. I say, if we're not going to conform to one way (and I DON'T think we should anyway), to at least make sure everyone knows what we're talking about....
Enough said on that, my head hurts, and I've got to hurry up and eat this peach before August 98th, 1923.


mike
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  #43  
Old 09-11-2002, 05:01 AM
sirjamesp sirjamesp is offline
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As other posters have said, sevens are crossed in Germany (and the rest of Europe?) because their "1"s look like British / American "7"s. Uncrossed sevens just cause confusion here.

When I first moved here, workmates laughed at the foreign way I wrote my numbers: "Look at this! He writes his "7"s like "1"s and his "1"s like "I"s! Crazy Island Monkey!"

Of course, crossing your sevens in the UK or the US is just an affection to look all European, like asking for lemon in your tea, or asking for half a pint of froth on top of your beer.
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  #44  
Old 09-11-2002, 06:13 AM
Floater Floater is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sparc

Incidentally it is customary to not cross the 7 in Sweden, ...
I'm afraid you're wrong on that. The standard is to cross them. At least that's what we're taught in school.
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  #45  
Old 09-11-2002, 10:14 AM
Feynn Feynn is offline
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I've been crossing my sevens and ones for as long as I can remember and that's only when I don't write them out in full. My zeds also get crossed and now that it's been pointed out, I think I will start crossing my zeros.

Am I obsessive when it comes to writing? Let me put it this way, after a stressful day I will often sit down with pens and paper and practice my handwriting. I often have trouble with the lower case "r" as it looks like an "i" whenever I use a fine nibbed pen.

I will write out dates in full whenever possible and when I design forms I always put m d y under the / / as to reduce confusion.

My foreign co-workers found it strange that I wrote like this as it's not typical for Canadians to do so and it is not taught in school here. It should be darn it.

My kids are adopting this practice as they learn to write... their written skills are still pretty atrocious and crossing their letters really helps distinguish them. Their skills have improved quite a bit since I gave them both fountain pens, using them requires a little more concentration on their part and they are pretty happy they have unique writing tools.

I put a great deal of importance on the hand written word and in my field, it is the primary method of communicating ideas and information. I have little tolerance for people who cannot write legibly and if they can't write well, I will ask them to print. I'm told I have beautiful writing (for a guy), perhaps this is because I came from the old school where good penmanship was deemed essential.
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  #46  
Old 09-11-2002, 08:10 PM
Sparc Sparc is offline
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Some late replies…
Quote:
acsenray

” Epiglottal O"? That's a new term to me.
Just the way I heard it referenced. I surmise it’s to be taken as a short version of "upper mid-front rounded vowel" and the "lower mid-front rounded vowel," which geometrically places you just ahead of the epiglottis. In any case your terms are far more accurate so please ignore my uninformed ramblings.
Quote:
Floater

[re Sweden and crossing the 7] I'm afraid you're wrong on that. The standard is to cross them. At least that's what we're taught in school.
Really? I was told several times that I was being exotic. Same thing goes for writing the 9 as a q standing on the line and 8 as a slanted p with a closed loop at the bottom. Then again my mother crosses her 7s and she is very Swedish indeed.

Sparc
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