Do all lefties have bad penmanship?

I’m a righty. My penmanship is beeyootiful. My brother is a leftie whos scrawl is barely legible (appropriate I suppose since he’s doing a Ph.d in epidemology) My son is a lefty who is quite artistic and likes to doodle the graffitti he sees when we travel, the intricate stuff, and he nails it, yet when he has to print a sentence it’s like he’s copying Chinese characters for the first time. It’s not that he doesn’t know how to do it, he’s 15 and really bright, it’s just that when I watch him write (or especially print) it seems so clumsy, to print an I for instance, he’ll start from the bottom and draw the line up. I’m not concerned at all, he can write as fast as me just not as prettily which I find odd since he is so artistic and I am not. Is this a leftie thing? I’m curious to hear from sinister dopers.

Mine sure sucks. I’ve long since given up trying to right with pencils ( smear city as the hand drags across ) and even my slow as molasses “Sunday Best” careful printing looks childish and crude. Which is still miles better than my most careful right hand printing, which I find almost completely impossible.

God bless word processors - no more handwritten notes from me :).

  • Tamerlane

My wife a lefty, and she’s got very nice penmanship.

I just asked her about it, and she explained that many leftys are taught to hold a pen in an unnatural position designed to prevent the “lefty smear” that stems from dragging your hand across what you’ve just written. She, however, was not taught that way – she holds her pen in the same way a righty would hold theirs.

The end result is she has very nice penmanship, but she has to be careful not to smear what she’s writing.

Quick answer: No of course not, what a silly question.

More detailed, actually many lefties have terrible writing ability, my script is nearly unreadable. I print very well and finely but when writing script I smudge and get lazy. I write far slower than I print and I gave up writing decades ago. I am not alone in this as lefties suffer from a few disadvantages they might have to overcome to have good penmanship.

  1. Our hand smudges ink and graphite as we write as most of us lean on the paper and follow the writing across.
  2. Many of us over the age of 36 were forced to try to write right handed causing us much grief and resulting in writing poorly with either hand. This lovely teaching concept died out in most places in the early seventies.
  3. Complete lack of left handed pens. :wink:


As purely anecdotal data, I’m very sinister and my handwriting is appalling. I would say there’s a tendency in that direction. Having to learn writing with the “wrong” hand. Pushing instead of pulling. Going out of you way not to smear ink on your hand…or smear the print…as you go, might have something to do with it. You can’t rest your hand on the page.

I dunno…we should get some Hebrew scholars in here to say if the sinister make better transcribers or no.

Not all doctors are persons who are lefties.

So to answer the OP… no.

I’m a lefty, and my handwriting is fine. I don’t do the lefty “hook” to write, so I end up smearing some. But, like most people, unless I’m being really lazy or writing very quickly, my handwriting is great – much better than some righties I know!

It may have helped that my mom is left-handed, too, because I remember being taught cursive by a teacher who was obviously old-fashioned about this. Righties were to turn their paper 45 degrees one way, to get the proper slant, and she made me turn my paper the same way, even though it made no sense. I think I just ignored her and turned my paper the other way when she wasn’t looking and used, y’know, logic, so I could write decently. My mom backed me up on this, having gone through similar trials and tribulations herself.

Nope, we’re not all messy. I get compliments on how neat my printing, and occasionally script, are and people are extra stunned when they realize which hand I use to write with. On the other hand, I’m in the minority of lefties who don’t hook their hands to write; instead I hold my hand in the mirror image of a right handed person. I believe that makes the difference.

Don’t joke! I amazed at the number of things that are built right handed…god damn scissors! I wouldn’t be suprised if the righties hadn’t built some subtle right leaning into their pens!!!

Actually the pens are fine. It’s the damned paper that’s right-handed.

Those bastards!

Despite my complete surrender to the foe known as script, I have never had a scissor problem, I mouse right handed and tool use with either hand, so I guess I am better off than most lefties.


I’m left handed, and as a kid I had an absolutely horrendous handwriting. I also went through my “hold the page upside down slant from hell” phase. Then sometime either around 5th or 6th grade or in Junior High (Middle School), something happened and my handwriting became quite nice.

Then I became an accountant and we were no long allowed to “write”. We had to print. In all block letters. My handwriting was still OK, but my printing became awesome, even if I do say so myself.

Then someone invented the Personal Computer. Fast foward 20 + years, and now not only does my handwriting suck again, my printing isn’t that much better. My typos have gotten better though :slight_smile:

I write so little these days that my hand actually starts hurting if I need to write more than a few lines of things.

I guess it’s called progress?

PS – let’s see if I can kill THIS thread too :eek:

My grandmother is left handed, and she’s got absolutely beautiful cursive script, and very nice, neat print.

I, however, am right handed and was taught handwriting from a very young age. My handwriting is absolutely atrocious. If I concentrate I can do a pretty good print and a passable cursive. My normal handwriting, however, is absolutely terrible. It’s less “cursive” and more “squiggle”.

But apparently I hold my pen funny, so that may have something to do with it.

Ny sister is left-handed and has much better penmanship than I do. She has always been a very talented artist when it comes to pen-and-ink, colored pencils and charcoal pencils to boot!

Maybe some of these left-handed artists can draw a perfect circle.

I’m a lefty, and I’ve gotten several complements on my handwriting. However, I’m only partially left-handed; I write left-handed, but do everything else (eat, mouse, throw, etc.) right-handed. Additionally, when I’m writing, I rotate the paper almost 90 degrees. The result is that instead of writing left-to-right, I’m writing top-to-bottom, so I avoid dragging my hand thru what I’ve just written.

As a first grader in a Catholic School, I was forced to tilt the paper and try to hook my hand to get the proper lean on my letters. My papers would come back with a red line on every b, d, f, etc. that showed the way my letters should be leaning. I would have 100 red lines on my paper.
Eventually, the constant griping by the nuns just pissed me off and I stopped hooking my hand and tilting the paper. They would get pissed and yell “Chicken Scratch!” at me. It became amusing to me and my classmates. I got straight A’s except for a D in pennmanship. It has become a part of my identity ever since: “That Chriscya is very bright, but his handwriting looks like it was done by a serial killer.”

My husband and Dad are lefties. My husband’s handwriting is awful. My Dad’s handwriting is impeccable. So, half right?

I’m a lefty. My script is dreadful. Maybe I ought to learn Arabic?