Saturday, 15 April 2017

Instructor Phrases Section 3

These sentences practise the phrases in Section 3 page 200 of the Instructor, halving.

They drive the car as if it were in a race and there will be an accident if it is not stopped.

I am able to think of several things that they would like but I cannot say* what they are just yet.

I am unable to think of the means by which it was* done, but I will remember at some time and hopefully quite soon.

The book in which it is mentioned has been on sale for some time and you will be able to buy it.

I cannot be sure of the report  in which it has appeared and I cannot see* how we can find it now.

I hope you will not forget that we are able to make adjustments* to the plans from time to time.

* "I cannot say" Helpful to insert the vowel, and omit the vowel in "I cannot see", to prevent misreading

* "by which it was done" Do not allow the halved Chay to be too short and looking like a Tick The

* "adjustments" Omits the lightly-sounded first T

I sent them a few words on the matter* some time ago so they would be aware of this change.

They would not be happy with this answer and if it were possible they would change it immediately.

You will not be surprised to hear that you must not* go into that building and must stay outside at all times.

I wondered if it would be possible to see both the staff at the same time, as I may not be* here tomorrow.

This is a book of which it has been said that it is able to make a big difference to the reader’s opinion*.

This is a problem of which it must be said that no-one is able to think of the right answer.

* Omission phrase "on (the) matter"  "you mus(t) not"

* "I may not" and "I am not" are the same outline, insert the vowel in "may" if necessary

* "opinion" This short form is on the line, to ensure it is not misread as "information" which is above the line

Unfortunately you were not told of the meeting but at any rate you did arrive eventually and I trust not too exhausted.

I would be interested to know what we would do if such circumstances were to happen again.

You may not be aware that you cannot use that machine today as it has been out of order for some time.

Many words have been written on this subject but our report is entirely in our words alone.

You are not* far from achieving high speed and you will not fail if you continue to work on it.

You should not be surprised to hear that I shall not be present, as I was not told the date of the meeting and have not put it in the diary* (400 words)

* "you are not" Do not use halving for this, it would be too similar to "you will not"

* The phrases in this sentence do not show halving, they all use the full "not" outline. The last 3 are clearer and can also be added to further, to make a longer phrase.
**** "if it be not" I have not included this one, as it is archaic and unclear

Friday, 14 April 2017

Instructor Phrases Section 2

These sentences practise the phrases in Section 2 page 196 of the Instructor, circles, loops and hooks. Once you are familiar with these, the principles can be applied to similar phrases.

Please inform us of your experience in this subject before we put the plans into effect.

We know that* in this century we have seen many changes in this city and this has been discussed in the book.

At first cost means the cost is not more than that of materials and labour for the work.

It appears that the state of affairs of the company will be discussed on Thursday evening and the report will be available by Monday evening.

The people who have not returned from out of doors will miss the Thursday afternoon meal.

They received letters from us but sent no replies to us and we wondered what is going on.

* "we know that" Always avoid phrasing the halved version of a pair, e.g. know/note, may/might, can/could, to provide extra differentiation

As we have heard that the exam is Wednesday next, it appears that now is the time to revise.

The reports from the political association have been expected for longer than a month.

We have been informed by the medical association that the meeting will last no longer than an hour.

It is only necessary to check that the traders’ association* handbooks* have been returned to the correct place in the library.

We will contact the Incorporated Association of Medical Workers as soon as we can do so, which will be tomorrow.

The news in this statement regarding the low rate of interest will in our view cause concern.

* "traders' (associa)tion" This misses out one of the S sounds, but is still clear what is meant

* "handbooks"  The short form "hand" is in first position, and also "books" is in its own 3rd position through the line. Compare the outline for "notebooks" which should have the vowel written in (for extra clarity), and the B on the line to accord with the first vowel of the whole word, as normal.

At all events we will do it as quickly as we can, and we regret it can only be done next month*.

They will make their decision as soon as they have read the details in our statement that we issued last week.

Please come to the meeting Wednesday next, as we think that it may only be a short one of about half an hour.

Please explain the meaning of this statement, as we cannot be sure of what is meant by some of the terms.

I have to say that for his sake I hope he improves sooner rather than later.

By all means do come to the meeting, as we shall be able to meet the directors and local representatives*.

* Omission phrase "ne(k)s(t mon)th"

* "representatives" If the speaker says "reps" then insert the vowel, to ensure correct reading

The men are as well as usual and it is said they will only be absent for a day at the most.

The patient is as well as can be expected and he will only be here for a week or two.

Please make your report smaller than this, as we may need to read it out loud.

You must follow the rules as we do, as we cannot guarantee your safety any longer if you do not.

We now supply the food at all our own* functions, as we are no longer tolerant of poor service.

We are not satisfied with their work at all and are not tolerant of their unsatisfactory performance. (492 words)

* “at all our own” is similar to the outline for “tolerant”. You may prefer to write “at” and “all our own” separately.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Boat Race Lesson

A week ago I saw the televised version of the UK Boat Race where the Oxford and Cambridge University teams row from Putney Bridge to Mortlake on the River Thames, going upstream with the incoming tide. We were not at home at the time of the race and so had to record the programme to view later. This meant we had to avoid seeing the news or accidentally coming across the result online, so it was “news blackout” for us until the evening, when we sat down with our dinner trays on our laps, to watch the women’s race, followed by the men’s race. Not quite as good as seeing them on the live programme, but we were able to fast forward* through an hour and a half of background information and interviews, and get to the real action.

* Omission phrase "fas(t) fo(r)ward"

In the women’s* race the Oxford team started very badly, when one of the oars became trapped low in the water as the other seven oars sped the boat ahead. The rowing had to stop for a moment so that the oar could be pulled from the water and equilibrium regained. This delay of a few seconds put them well behind the Cambridge team, and for the entire eighteen and a half* minutes of the race they remained several lengths behind and were never able to catch up. Cambridge, who were the favourites to win, just kept motoring on and Oxford found no chance to reduce or close the gap. Cambridge won by 11 lengths, and Oxford finished in dismay and some tears of frustration at their serious error at the start.

* "women's" Note that "woman" is written above the line, following the last vowel, to distinguish between these two

This immediately struck me as a perfect picture of falling behind in shorthand writing*. If you get too far behind the speaker, whether at the beginning or anywhere along the way, the chances of recovery get more and more* remote, as the spoken words rush on ahead of you. The only way to catch up is to make an extra effort, or you may get unexpected help from a series of easy outlines and good phrasing opportunities in quick succession, and a useful pause at the end of the sentence. Most likely* you will just have to press on harder to catch up, with no random favours turning up to help you.

* Omission phrases "short(hand) writing"  "more (and) more"  "mos(t) likely"

Keeping up with the speaker is a full time* and “full mind” job, and practising and perfecting this particular skill is the main benefit of any dictation, whether it is a prepared one or an unseen one. Dictations themselves do not teach one single bit of shorthand theory, revision, outline or phrase. Dictation gives practice in the skill of instant recall and writing of outlines, whilst at the same time listening to the next few words. It is a wake-up call and a bucket of cold water in your face if you thought you knew the outlines sufficiently* well or you have been carefully* drawing them instead of speedily writing them. But the water does get warmer and less stinging as expectations become more realistic and writing skill improves.

* "full time" Halving for the T of "time"

* "sufficiently" The contraction includes the "-ly" version as well, but it is always in order to add an L stroke to such contractions, if greater clarity is required

* "carefully" The optional contraction leaves off the L, but sometimes it is clearer to be able to show the last vowel, in this case by using upward L instead of downward

Fortunately, acquiring the necessary laser beam concentration is entirely free, there is no price, drawback or shortage. You just make a firm decision that that is what you will do and aim for, from now on, but it will need to be reaffirmed regularly until it becomes a habit. Your friendly, warm and patient personality is put on hold, you ignore distractions, both internal and external, and you sink your teeth firmly into the task. After the speed attempt is over, with the notes safely recorded on the page and ready* to be transcribed, you are free to re-join friendly relaxed humanity once again*.

* "ready" Advisable to insert the last vowel, as it could be misread as "read" in this context and so upset the correct reading of the following words

* Omission phrase "wu(n)s again"

No doubt the Oxford women’s team had a thorough and painful debrief, to discuss what went wrong and why, and how to make sure it does not happen again. The University Boat Race is a big event with millions of spectators around the world watching on their screens, and reputations are at stake. Errors must be corrected and strategy improved, and there is a whole year to work on it until the event returns and again there is just that one opportunity to get it right. The result is victory, smiles and champagne spraying in all directions to celebrate achieving the speed goal. (719 words)

Friday, 31 March 2017

Flowery Language

I like a good idiom. It provides an imaginative and visual element to otherwise dull writing. It has limited use in business writing but it is an important part of how people speak in normal daily life, and, when spoken, some shorthand writer somewhere may have to write it down and read it back, without being floored by an unusual or figurative use of words. Being a gardener as well as a shorthand devotee, I have decided to grasp the nettle and indulge in a few botanical figures of speech*. After all, a tree is known by its fruit and budding shorthand writers* who decide to turn over a new leaf, turf out the longhand, weed out their mistakes and put down roots into their chosen subject, will soon get to the top of their tree.

"floored" i.e. brought to the floor. Not to be confused with "flawed" which means having a flaw/defect/fault. The outline for "flawed" has no R in it = FL + D.

*“Figures of speech” Only use the omission phrase for the singular “figure (of) speech”

* Omission phrase “short(hand) writers”

However, with all the theory learning, they might not see the wood for the trees, but if they refuse to let the grass grow under their feet, they will find that it all becomes as easy as falling off a log. It may not be all roses, and friends may say that they are wandering up the primrose path or barking* up the wrong tree. But flourishing shorthand students* will not beat about the bush, they will nip in the bud all such nonsense from those who seem to have got hold of the wrong end of the stick. They will not really care a fig for such comments and will not tolerate such thorns in the flesh, although they will continue to hold out the olive branch to these men of straw, who are really just reeds shaken by the wind.

* "barking" Not tree bark, but refers to dogs barking at a tree in which their quarry is hiding

* Omission phrase “shorthand s(t)udents”

They do not allow themselves to become a wallflower, but instead they blossom out and let their success spread like weeds, and end up being the pick of the bunch and the cream of the crop. They made a decision to go out on a limb, at first working against the grain, with the old deep-rooted  longhand trying to lead them up the garden path, but the new way of writing took root and eventually they feel they are out of the woods. You may hear through the grapevine that the seeds of doubt that were sown were found to be not worth a straw. After their study they hit the hay, sleep like a log and rise in the morning as fresh as a daisy.

Nevertheless, one must not* rest on one’s laurels, or one may find oneself* clutching at straws in a test, shaking like a leaf and well and truly up a gum tree. An exam is not the place to be rooted to the spot and making a mistake* that turns out to be the last straw.  It is best to avoid* a big stick policy and instead choose the more pleasant route of taking a leaf out of the instructor’s book, leafing through the dictionary and the notepad, instead of just exclaiming Whoops A Daisy and kicking problems into the long grass. After all, it’s a jungle out there in the job market and employers are looking for more than just the common or garden variety of worker.

* must not” “mistake” These omit the T

* oneself” Omits the N

* “avoid” and “evade” Always insert the second vowel, as these are similar in outline and meaning

The best shorthand students* are not lily-livered or shrinking violets and no-one could call them a clod when it comes to getting down all the flowery speech. Their shorthand is in the bloom of youth and with practise it has become as easy as shelling* peas. Even if they are a late bloomer, it will be many decades before they run to seed, get put out to grass and start pushing up the daisies. On the contrary* they are on their way to reaping a rich harvest. They have finally found out that not only is the grass greener on the other side*, but they are now in clover and what seemed like a bed of thorns has turned into a bed of roses. (655 words)

* Omission phrase “shorthand s(t)udents” “on (the con)trary” “on the oth(er) side”

* “shelling” Compare with the noun “shilling” which uses the upward Shel stroke

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Perfect For The Job

Mr Perfect has decided to apply for a new job to further his career. He is convinced that using the right terminology will help him stand out from all the other candidates and jobseekers, and get him on the interview shortlist. He has of course studied shorthand to add to his impressive array of talents and has used his vocabulary list for this particular subject to flesh out his application letter and snag his dream job. Here is the job advert* to which he is replying, which appears to have been written by someone with a similar list of jargon, buzzwords and clich├ęs that are doing the rounds at the moment*, and I am sure Mr Perfect will fit into this environment perfectly.

* "advert" Helpful to insert the first vowel, as this full outline is similar to the contraction for  "advertise/d/ment"

* Omission phrase "at (the) moment"

We are a very successful tech* start-up company, with a wide range of activities and a top notch market position. Our exciting and inspirational management team have established a prestigious and influential business which is set to become the prominent* leader in its field in a short space of time*. Our resounding success means that we are now looking to increase our staffing levels in our Information Technology and Computing department and we are seeking a highly qualified, committed and confident individual to join our brilliant team of busy, imaginative and forward thinking Technical Engineers.

* "tech" It is possible to use this first syllable in an omission phrase e.g. "tech(nical) college", so always write "tech" on its own, not in a phrase

* "prominent" See for "prominent, permanent, pre-eminent"

* Omission phrase "short space (of) time"

You will be working in a fun, vibrant and buzzy* environment, ably led by a go-getting* high-flying operations manager. You will need to be an incredibly* dynamic, outgoing, passionate* and energised person with impressive qualifications and experience, able to work in a fast-paced role with ever-changing priorities and deadlines, which is not for the faint-hearted. You will be an integral member of a super friendly team, under an ultra-demanding yet inspirational team leader. You will be part of a close-knit group of individuals, in an exceptionally* creative environment, producing innovative ideas from their rich pool of talent and experience.

* "buzzy" Insert vowel, so it is not misread as "busy"

* "incredibly" "exceptionally" Insert the last vowel, as "incredible" "exceptional" could also make sense here

* "go-getting" Uses the short form "go" so no vowel needed there

* "passionate" Compare with the outline for "patient" P+Upward Ish+Nt

This post will start as part-time, with a view to becoming full-time, or we may consider* a short or long-term* contract for the right person. We have a graded salary band, with plenty of opportunity to rise to the top and enjoy the due rewards of super-efficiency* and solid achievement. Our new offices are ultra-smart and super-funky, as befits the professionalism of our slick and goal-driven organisation. The job base location has excellent transport links to both the city and the exclusive and prosperous commuter* belt on the outskirts of this vibrant and happening location.

* Omission phrase "may (con)sider"

* "long-term" Keep the Ing proper length, to prevent misreading as "longer"

* "super-efficiency" In this sentence "efficient" could also make sense, so it would be helpful to insert a dot vowel at the end, although this is not strict theory

* "commuter" Keep the dot and vowel clear, as "outer" would make sense in this context

The key benefits and perks  include provision of a company car, generous pension scheme, flexible holiday entitlement, and bonuses for superior performance and target achievements. Our human* resources staff can give advice on career enhancement programmes and mentoring, child day-care options and choices in flexible working programmes. Package details will vary subject to negotiation. Apply now for this fantastic opportunity for self-advancement in the pioneering and cutting-edge world of computer development.

* "human" Special outline, above the line to accord with the last vowel, and "humane" is written on the line

Dear Sirs, I would like to apply for the post of Technical Engineer in your city office. I am confident that I have the necessary qualities to fulfil the role requirements. I am a highly trained and extremely disciplined individual, who is genuinely passionate about this industry.  I have excellent computing and numerical skills, and I am a super-user of database and spreadsheet programmes, computer troubleshooting and programming languages. I am degree educated in advanced computer science  but also commercially savvy, having gained considerable experience in organisational and communication skills.

My main strength is my problem solving ability. I am a solutions driven person and positively thrive in a dynamic, lively and energetic situation. I can assure you I will hit the ground running, and I have an honest and frank muck-in attitude. I always strive for perfection to the best of my ability* and have a strong sense of initiative, as well as being an excellent communicator. I am a super switched-on team player and totally driven to achieve the highest quality of work and output. I am well able to multi-task with rapidly changing priorities. I am not fazed by last minute* changes and always have a contingency plan up my sleeve so that I am always on top of the game. I am bright, sharp, dedicated, capable, ambitious and adaptable*. I aim to facilitate every aspect of the work for my fellow technicians, colleagues and superiors.

* Omission phrase "bes(t of) my ability" Using the B stroke for the suffix "-ability" as the whole word

* Omission phrase "las(t) minute" Keep the T straight, so it does not look like "last month"

* "adaptable" Always insert the vowel after the D in "adopt" and "adapt" and derivatives

I have a gritty determination to provide outstanding performance, acute attention to detail, and critical appraisal of my completed assignments. I am sure I will stand out in your estimation as a one in a million person of the highest calibre, with proven 5-star skills, and will certainly live up to your requirement for that special someone who has the X Factor. I am not a one-trick hotshot but a person of proven intelligence who can work under pressure, able to handle anything and anticipate needs ahead of time. I will be a credible, honest, enthusiastic and articulate member of your team of technically competent and talented people.

I have a strong academic record and advanced computing technology skills. I have gained nationally* recognised qualifications for this post and have a record of proven experience in the field. I have worked in varied, busy and demanding roles, adhering to the highest standards and ensuring that everything flows seamlessly. I have a solid background of keeping up with an intense diary of commitments, working to tight deadlines, juggling priorities, and rising to the challenge of the role responsibilities*. I believe I am the ideal candidate for this challenging, meaty and rewarding post, which I would perform with supreme efficiency. I attach my CV for your perusal which lists my qualifications and work experiences, and people willing to give character references. Yours most sincerely, Mr I B Perfect

* "nationally" Insert the last vowel, as "national" would also make sense

* "responsibilities" The contraction is only used for the singular

Mr Perfect’s sister is not so high flying, and being more of a slow but reliable and dependable plodder, she has come to the conclusion* that a reasonably sedate and calm administrative* role would suit her temperament much better than her brother’s more ambitious ideals. She has decided to post her details on a CV website and see if there is a good response* rate from prospective employers. It would appear that her brother has been helping her to compose her write-up, using all the words and phrases that he felt were not quite suitable for his own application.

* Omission phrase "come (to the con)clusion"

* "administrative" Omits the R

* "response" Always insert the second vowel, so that it is never misread as "responsibility"

I am seeking an administrative* post where I can use my extensive experience in the day-to-day running of an office situation. I have a flexible attitude to work and can work on my own initiative, and I aim to be a true right hand support to my immediate superior. I have the capacity to perform well under pressure, and although I understand the stresses and strains this can bring to the environment, I am extremely well organised and able to implement the best ideas and methods to prioritise my workload. I am always able to achieve a flawless presentation of the work required in such circumstances. I am calm and approachable, with bags of common sense, a good humoured* and can-do* attitude, and excellent interpersonal skills.

* "administrative" Omits the R

* "can-do" Using both short forms

* "humoured" The M is not thickened, that would be a halved "Imper/Imber" stroke e.g. "hampered"

I have a good grasp of both governmental and commercial environments, and can be a complete lynch-pin in my area of responsibility. My communication skills are second to none, enabling me to achieve the required business and commercial objectives. I am able to provide highly polished presentations, both in writing, and at meetings, events and conferences, with an emphasis on meticulous* and well-presented facts and figures*, and other relevant information. I have maturity and gravitas, an impeccable and immaculate* dress sense, and a helpful and friendly telephone manner. I will provide an extremely warm, personable* and helpful approach, and liaise articulately and intelligently with staff, clients and customers. I know how to deal with sensitive and confidential information in a discreet and totally respectful manner, and my loyalty and discretion will be unquestionable.

* "meticulous" "immaculate" These could look similar if not neatly written, and their meanings are close as well

* Omission phrase "fac(t)s (and) figures". If this sentence had been "facts, figures and other relevant information" then you would not use the phrase.

* "personable" Insert the dash vowel, as it is similar in outline and meaning to "presentable"

I have previously worked at a recruitment agency* and an out-placement organisation. I supervised the creation of a resettlement programme, running employability and life skills courses, and this has given me the experience to deal with people at all levels. If you require a well-presented, well-rounded, resilient, exceptionally competent and confident person, with an outstandingly mature attitude, to provide traditional administrative and secretarial support and backup, I have the requisite* qualities and skills to accomplish this for you, as an integral part of your team, thus contributing to the smooth and super-efficient running and ultimate success of your organisation. (1415 words)

* "agency" Note that "agent" uses hook N

* "requisite" Insert the last vowel, as it is similar in outline and meaning to "requested"