Okay, my high school science teacher used to write some of her notes in shorthand and taught us some of the common shorthand notation to use in our notes. I wanted to know if there were any more symbols I could use, but my searches resulted in nothing. So, if someone has a link, or a list…could you please put it here? I’ll write the ones I remember here:
i.e.= that is
e.g.=for example
NB=very important

thanks for any help!

tipi :slight_smile:

I don’t know if these count as shorthand or not, but I see them in dictionaries:

c.f. - compare to

q.v. - there is a section on that in this source (I’m sure q.v. means something in Latin, but they always put it after stuff they have a whole section on elsewhere)

~ - (that’s a tilde) the previous mentioned word (used to avoid repeating the subject word too many times; this can come in handy to avoid repetition, e.g. “Fax messages are found on the ~ machine in the ~ room”). This may not be as useful in the computer age, since tildes have become important parts of internet terminology and might be misconstrued.

You can use a delta (i.e., an equilateral triangle pointing upwards) to mean “change in”.

My mom uses a “c” with a line over it to mean “with”, but normal earth people stick to “w/”.

Umm… that’s not shorthand, that’s Latin.

e.g. = exempli gratia
i.e. = id est
NB = nota bene
cf = confer
q.v. = quod vide

IIRC, shorthand was a simple way of writing using a script that looked vaguely like english words, but not really. My mother used to know how to do it. It’s fairly hard to learn - they used to teach it in secretarial schools. The above abbreviations are used all over. Perhaps they appear in shorthand as well, but I don’t think the average person who doesn’t know shorthand can read it.

Boris, I’ve seen ‘with’ represented as ‘c’ with a slash (really more of an acute accent) and a little circle (often shrunken to a dot) over that. That was in the notes in patient files at the mental-health facility I worked at years ago. Maybe something from medical Latin?

Tipi, a quick search on the Web led here for a brief description of the common systems:

The same search found lots of places selling training materials for various methods, if anybody really wants to learn it.

Bob the Random Expert
“If we don’t have the answer, we’ll make one up.”

As the ads said:

F u cn rd ths, u cn lrn shrthnd & get a gd jb.

Actual shorthand doesn’t involve letters and abbreviations like everything cited here. It’s a system of symbols that stand for entire words, word phrases, and parts of words. A straight line, ----, but not broken like that, means “man” as in “human” or “mandate.” There’s no better way to give an example here because it uses a lot of curvy lines and a lot of stuff is all joined together. You end up with what looks like a bunch of meaningless squiggles.
It’s very difficult to learn and harder to become proficient. I got an A when I studied it, but I can hardly remember how to write my own name now.
– Greg, Atlanta

Greg, who knows about shorthand.

Gregg, who wrote the book.


Livin’ on Tums, Vitamin E and Rogaine

Gregg shorthand – I have GOT to be just about the oldest poster on this board – learned it in high school and could do 120 wpm.

I’ve never forgotten it – still comes in handy.

I remember testing for my first job – the County Extension Agent (my, there’s an opening!) dictated a note to a farmer telling him what to do about “raspberry root rot.”

My high school business courses included typing from dictation recorded on floppy plastic cylinders – and the adding machines were just that – machines. Huge things with revolving metal cylinders with numbers on them – just like the old typewriters.

(We’re talking early 60’s here.)

Mini-calculators used to cost $50. I think they’re Cracker Jack prizes now.

Don’t get me started. Too late!

The c with a stroke is medical from Latin. The Latin cum: “with”. Other stroked letter/Latin abbreviations are a = ante: “before”, p = post: “after”, and, more rarely, s = sine: “without”.


Gregg: you have described one form of shorthand, the Gregg Method. There’s also a form known as “speedwriting” which evidently is the system of the advertisement quoted above (“f u cn red Ts, u cn rit Srthnd”).

Gregg Shorthand died out slowly as the use of taped dictation took over in the office. The reason for this is pretty easily understood. If I have to dictate to a secretary in person, she (sorry ladies, at the time it was almost always she) can’t do anything else while I dictate. With taped dictation, I can dictate while he/she (by now, we have male sectys) transcribes my previous work product, making us roughly twice as efficient.

Interestingly, I have predicted the demise of the dictation secretary within ten to fifteen years, thanks to voice-recognition dictation programs for computers. I already use one, and by dictating straight to the computer, do not need to pay a secretary to transcribe my meaningless maunderings. This saves a LOT of money (good secretaries are expensive, as they should be).

Thanks for explaining the c mystery to me, y’all. My mother is a registered nurse. It’s funny that she couldn’t explain it to me. “Hey Ma, what’s that little c with the line on this shopping list?”

“It means “with”. Everyone knows that!”

“Oh yeah. Everyone.”

Gregg shorthand I know of, that’s the curly loopy stuff; I once tried to pick it up for my own convenience, but never got much faster than I could go with my own home-brewed “lecture notes” method.

But what does Pitman look like?

Designated Optional Signature at Bottom of Post

Pitman “looks like” Gregg. However, it was never as popular in the USA as Gregg was, and pretty much died out completely after WWII because it’s impossible to write Pitman with a ball-point, as one of the information-carrying elements is line thickness.

There are other such systems, dating back at least to ancient Rome.

By the way, there’s only one period in “cf.”. Most of these are abbreviations of Latin phrases; “cf.” abbreviates only one word.

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams

sorry for mistakenly calling these Latin abbreviations shorthand. I didn’t think they were actally shorthand, but I did not know what else to call them. Are there any other commonly abbreviated Latin phrases besides the ones mentioned above?

tipi :slight_smile:


I don’t know what its short for but in a list of citations it means “same as the one before”

Boris, my wife is a nurse, and she too was baffled to learn (from me) that the rest of the world uses “w/” and not “c” to abbreviate “with” and that most people have never even heard of using “c” that way. It’s obviously a medical thing.

That’s ‘ibidem’, meaning ‘in the same place’.

In almost the same place is ‘op. cit.’, ‘in the work cited’.

And ‘q.v.’ translates as ‘which see’, or more plainly ‘look in that place’.

Bob the Random Expert
“If we don’t have the answer, we’ll make one up.”