my employee sleeps in and misses work, can my coworkers read cursive, and more

It’s four answers to four questions. Here we go…

1. How do I talk to my employee about sleeping in and missing work?

I have a direct report who is not a morning person. We have a hybrid schedule (two full team in-office days, remainder WFH). Our day starts at 8 to accommodate half day Fridays, which she takes. She is always last to arrive to the office, typically around 9:15, blaming traffic despite living 10 minutes from our office . She isn’t communicative/visible on Slack until late morning on WFH days. Our team has a very flexible/be-an-adult vibe, which we all appreciate and factor into planning our days/lives — it’s truly great. The issue is, she will miss meetings or join late (often still wearing her nightguard/retainer), turn in incomplete or hurried work, and has been open about accidentally sleeping in on numerous occasions (when she was “caught”). She will be managing our intern this summer, who is working hourly and thus will need to be “in” during typical work hours. Is it possible to change somebody’s sleep habits?

You’re asking the wrong question! Instead, how clear have you been as her manager that she currently isn’t meeting the requirements of her job and about specifically what needs to change? How much she is or isn’t willing to try to change her sleep habits is something for her to manage; the way she shows up at work is yours. Focus on the latter.

Tell her, as bluntly and clearly as possible, that she needs to arrive on time on in-office days, cannot miss meetings or join late, must be communicative and responsive on Slack at the start of work hours, and cannot turn in incomplete or hurried work (and that last one is a really big deal). This needs to be a serious conversation, where it’s clear that these aren’t suggestions or hopes; they’re requirements. You’re doing her no favor if you downplay that; she needs to understand that this has the potential to jeopardize her job — which it should — so that she takes it seriously.

If she has a sleep issue that makes it impossible for her to meet those expectations, she should raise it and you can figure out what to do at that point, and whether there’s a way to structure her job and her schedule that she’s not turning in rushed or incomplete work. But right now, at this stage, your job is to be clear about what needs to change.

2. A business lunch at an ethically shady restaurant

I work for a large Fortune 500 that has multiple locations in five states. My line’s VP is coming in from out of state to do a visit. The visit itself is very low concern, just a basic “Hey! How are you? How’s life? Are you happy here?” etc. However, she’s taking about a dozen of us to lunch. And here is where I have an issue. Morally, I do not spend any money at this restaurant. I used to, until they supported a person convicted of child sexual assault (multiple victims). The perpetrator was employed by them before, during, and after the trial (he’s a cousin to the owner). They did term any employee under 18 and do not hire anyone under 18. Unfortunately, we do not have a lot of “nice” options open at lunch and this place is just down the road from the office. Would it be wrong of me to bring this up to the VP, essentially stating many of us do not support this restaurant? She’s not from our area and would have no idea about this situation.

Since you said many of your coworkers feel this way too, raise it! You have relevant info that she doesn’t have.

For example: “You have no way of knowing this, but some of us prefer not to eat at X because of their support for a cousin of the owner convicted of really awful crimes against children. Could we go to Y or Z instead?” It’s okay if Y and Z are further away. Or if they’re unrealistically far: “What we usually do if we want somewhere nice is ____ (whatever you usually do in that situation).”

3. Break room etiquette

My office has a little break room in the basement that is honestly pretty depressing. As a result, not many people tend to use it, which I think has skewed how some people use it.

Within the past month, I’ve never shared it with more than one coworker at a time and these coworkers all seem to act like they’re alone. One would loudly talk to their partner on the phone the whole time, then later broke up with them while I was there! Another had a significant other make a surprise visit and they made lovey eyes at each other with me stuck as an awkward third wheel. And currently another is watching videos loudly at the table next to me.

I just started sharing an office so I need to use the break room now and I dread it every day! Am I being overly critical of how they use the room? How do I learn to handle this?

Someone broke up with their partner while you sat there! Amazing.

I don’t think you’re wrong in thinking people should be more considerate of others who are using the space … but I also don’t think it’s unreasonable for someone to take a call in the break room or sit with a visitor there, particularly if there aren’t other logical spaces to do those things. It’s actually more awkward because you’re the only other person there; it there were 20 people in there, those things would be less noticeable.

The person playing loud videos is more out of line. And technically you’d be on solid ground if you wanted to say something like, “Would you be willing to use headphones while you’re watching those? My head is killing me and I came here to try to get a break from noise.”

But it does seem like the culture in your office is for people to use that space for whatever kind of break they want, noise included. Any chance your office would be open to setting up a quiet room for people who want it? That sounds like it would get you more of what you want.

4. Can my younger coworkers read cursive?

Recently, I’ve signed a going-away card for a colleague and I’ve passed a handwritten note to a direct report during a training. I used cursive on both, because that’s what I default to, but now I’m wondering if I should stop using cursive as a default? I really like using it because it’s pretty, but obviously I really like people being able to read what I write, too. The colleague’s a peer, age-wise, but my direct report is a recent college grad. Should I only use it with people my own age? Is there a cut-off where people are going to be more unlikely to be able to read it? I’ve been complimented on my handwriting a lot, so it’s legible if you can read cursive, but I realize that’s a dying skill.

I honestly have no idea. I think cursive is pretty readable even if you can’t write it yourself, as long as it’s neatly written (and messy cursive was never all that readable to anyone anyway). But I’m incredibly old. Let’s toss this out to readers who still have more of the bloom of youth upon them and see what they say. (Also, the idea that we all used to learn basically a second font to write in is pretty fascinating.)

{ 1,240 comments… read them below }

    1. Whippersnapper*

      unfortunately I think that print may be the way to go for young people- I’m in college right now and one of my professors gave written feedback in cursive, and then would have half the class stay after to ask him to read it out to them. I like to exchange letters with my grandparents so I can read it, but I think I’m the exception to the rule :p

      1. High Score!*

        I’m older. Print is the way to go for everyone. I’ve hated cursive my whole life and can’t read it anymore. Everyone who writes cursive does it differently and it’s ugly and inconsistent.

        1. Putting the Dys in Dysfunction*

          I’m a dysgraphic boomer, and was thrilled when the digital world toppled cursive.

          It’s nice to look at when it’s done nicely, but please don’t ask me to write in it.

          1. MigraineMonth*

            I’m an elder millennial, so I was taught cursive. Then from 5th grade on, we were expected to type, so everyone forgot how to write in it.

            I remember that before the SAT there was a legal statement we were supposed to write saying we wouldn’t cheat, and for some reason the proctor required us to write it in cursive. It took about 15 minutes for us to write the one sentence, and that was after the proctor wrote the entire cursive alphabet–upper and lower case–on the board.

            I can still read cursive, but I know I’d get stumped by the first upper-case “I” if I tried to write it.

            1. Beany*

              The GREs used to require a similar hand-written honesty statement, too. I took one of them shortly after breaking a finger on my dominant (right) hand, and had to write the whole thing with my left hand instead — the rest of the room had to wait for me to finish.

              But at least it wasn’t cursive.

              1. Anti-kursiv*

                I had this experience when taking the GRE – the only time I have used cursive since grade school.

            2. So Long and thanks for all the Fish*

              Haha! I had this exact same SAT experience! Everyone in the room was arguing with the proctor about this and he seemed really flummoxed. Our proctor wouldn’t write the cursive alphabet on the board though, so I just ended up making up some of the letters I couldn’t remember and adding loops. I think there was a capital G somewhere? What a nightmare lol!

              1. Orv*

                when I write cursive I use print style capitals. The cursive ones just feel weird and pretentious.

                1. Princess Sparklepony*

                  The cursive upper case Q – how does that even make sense? It’s a 2. A 2 is not a Q.

              2. Quill*

                I know the problem uppercase letters in cursive because I have family who has them as initials, no other reason.

              1. Nicole Q*

                (Some) Cursive style guides changed the capital Q in 1996 to look more like the print Q.

              2. fidget spinner*

                My last name starts with a Q. Cursive Qs are the ugliest things in the universe and I have spent more time than I care to admit figuring out a signature that doesn’t look like my last name starts with the number 2….

                1. Firefighter (Metaphorical)*

                  Ramona Quimbyrefused to use the cursive Q! (I’m British and this is the sum total of my exposure to cursive, so I’m delighted to see it cropping up again!)

            3. mrs whosit*

              I was a teacher getting all those kids to write that in cursive and not knowing how – always a frustrating day. College Board changed it maybe 7 years ago now, so students copy it out printed with a signature instead.

            4. Leila*

              That statement on the SAT gave me major anxiety! I skipped the grade where we were supposed to learn cursive and only ever learned to sign my name, but it never gave me issues in school. Until a full 8 years later with that cursive requirement staring me in the face. I had to print it, so I was terrified they’d invalidate my results. I’m still kind of mad about it, because I think the anxiety was a huge distraction. Anyway, team no cursive.

            5. butter rat*

              It wasn’t the proctor. The testing company requires (or once required) that it be written in cursive. The purpose of this written statement is (or was) to catch people who hired someone to take the test for them using handwriting comparison.

          2. goddessoftransitory*

            I love to write cursive, especially a lower case “j.” But I won’t pretend my writing’s especially tidy; I’m left handed and have the ink-smeared fist to prove it :)

            I do have trouble reading some cursive as well, but I find that’s often when people try to get overly calligraphic and ornate. Just write! It’s a letter, not the Constitution.

        2. Peon*

          Yes, thank you. I’m 49; I can’t really write cursive without overthinking it, and I can’t read it by scanning like I do print. This is not really an age thing, either you use cursive or you don’t, and if you don’t the ability to use it slips away like any other thing.

          1. I Edit and I Know Things*

            I’m 33 and learned it in third grade, but like Peon, it’s a huge effort for me to use it (and always has been). When my 7th grade teachers said I didn’t have to use it anymore for essays, I stopped. I can still write it if I really put an effort in, but it’s not pretty and, contrary to the statement that it speed writing up because you’re not lifting your pen, it slows me down because I have to remember the letters. My print handwriting is also terrible, so there’s probably a correlation.

            I can usually read it though. My mom wrote exclusively in cursive, and I like reading historical texts.

          2. ZK*

            Very few people have “proper” penmanship these days because they either weren’t taught it or don’t use it, and bad cursive is so hard to read. I do have a few friends who have discovered the joy of proper ink pens who actually practice and it’s lovely and readable. OP, if you’re one of those people, please continue, but if not, maybe ask your co-workers if they can read your handwriting?

            I’m in my 50s, and when I write in cursive it’s always been on a slant so bad that it’s hard to read. I had a prof in college who allowed handwritten papers, he specifically asked me to type mine or use the computer lab to compose and print them. The less I write, the less legible it gets.

            My 20 something daughter’s handwriting is horrible. She writes notes to herself at work to remind her of things and a co-worker found one and thought it was something they all needed to know. After trying to decipher it for 25 minutes, they finally brought it to her and asked. It was a supply list, haha.

            1. Richard Hershberger*

              Penmanship: go back a century and a half and penmanship was a marketable skill. You could get a job based on this alone. Dig through archives and you will find there were actually three levels of penmanship. At the top was the gorgeous copperplate hand we associate with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. This was like the fine china, trotted out for special occasions. The everyday hand was perfectly legible, but not particularly pretty. This was used for correspondence and the like. Then there was stuff intended only for the writer to read, such as a diary or the file copy of an outgoing letter. This often was a hurried scrawl.

              Then they invented the typewriter. This was a process rather than an event. In around the 1890s it became common for routine communications, to the great relief of future readers of archives. At that point the marketability of penmanship went into sharp decline. By the 1970s when I was in grade school they were still serious about teaching cursive, but its actual use outside of a school setting was pretty much thank you notes to grandma. I used it briefly in college for note-taking, but found it more trouble than it was worth and switch to printing. I haven’t used it since. I can print neatly, when called upon to do so, but my vestigial cursive is really not good.

              My kids were shown cursive in school, but no serious effort was put into it. The real effort was put into teaching typing, which they call “keyboarding” now. And rightly so. Typing is a valuable skill that will benefit them throughout their lives. When people complain about this I ask what should be removed from the curriculum to free up the time.

              1. Emily Byrd Starr*

                Since you mentioned the Declaration of Independence, I thought I’d share a fun fact with you. When John Hancock went to school, the students spent the last hour of every day practicing their penmanship. It was probably the least favorite part of the day for most students, but it was young John’s favorite part of the day. He loved practicing his penmanship to the point of perfection. He would be very proud to know that he is most remembered for his signature.

                1. ByGolly*

                  I absolutely read a children’s book about this as a child and have never forgotten this fact about John Hancock. I tried to find the book to share with my children recently, but no luck.

              2. ThursdaysGeek*

                I’m a tad bit older than you, and my cursive is limited to lower case letters – I’ve forgotten how to make most capitals, although I can still usually read them. This includes my signature: print capitals, cursive the rest. My spouse’s signature is all printed, no cursive, and he’s retired.

                Other than the rare handwritten notes from people even older than me, I don’t see it nor use it.

                1. penny dreadful analyzer*

                  At work I also tend to write my notes in cursive lowercase and print capitals, but that’s partly because the capitals are usually part of long strings of acronyms and it’s hard to write “MA C&I PMO” or “M&R AHQ” in full Spencerian capitals on my tiny little deskpad calendar.

                2. Reluctant Mezzo*

                  Former SCAdian here–I do a moderately nice Carolingian for addressing Christmas cards, but generally just print (the weird part is that my dad’s printing style, my printing style and my daughter’s printing style are all very similar–we are also all left-handed).

                3. Richard Hershberger*

                  @Reluctant Mezzo: Sure, give me a calligraphy pen and it is a different matter entirely. At this point I can’t claim the results will be historically accurate–it’s been a while–but I can do pretty. But that is a niche situation, where speed is beside the point.

                4. Delightful Daisy*

                  @ByGolly, was the book called “John, Paul, George and Ben” by Lane Smith?

                5. Lydia*

                  I write notes in half cursive, half print, and I only write the capital letters in cursive when I’m doodling just to see if I can remember them. For me, it’s quicker than printing everything since I don’t have to pick up my pen.

              3. it's gonna be bye bye bye... oh, wrong song*

                Penmanship is so interesting when you read older books. I think it’s a Dickens novel where a character applies for a job and just writes some beautiful lines and they’re like, you’re hired! Plus a lot of older books have people assessing the character of people based on their handwriting – hurried, messy, elegant, disjointed, etc.

                My handwriting has always been terrible enough that had I not gone to private school, I probably would have qualified for some kind of occupational therapy tutor – it’s just that, no other coordination issues, but I can’t do it. I do always admire it in others, though.

                I do think that schools should still provide some guidance in making your writing legible, and coordinated-looking enough that it doesn’t look like the scrawls of a nine-year-old boy. But I kind of get why their limited time isn’t spent on cursive anymore.

                1. goddessoftransitory*

                  In the book The Tightrope Walker, from the seventies, a big plot point hinges on a graphologist interpreting the handwriting of a character. It’s odd to think how that would have to be reworked today.

              4. Petty Betty*

                My grandmother was a stickler for penmanship. I was getting taught to read and write at the age of 3, cursive included. I learned to write in cursive before print. At the age of 40, I am still able to read and write in cursive. And I expanded to calligraphy (something my grandmother wasn’t skilled with).

                I am a little sad that cursive isn’t taught (much) in schools.

                1. Tally miss*

                  I’m not. I’m left handed and cursive is evil (or maybe I just had bad teachers). You know when you try to push a pencil across the page instead of pulling it like right handers do, the stupid lead constantly snaps. I spent most of my cursive classes being yelled at for being destructive.

                2. Petty Betty*

                  oof. Yeah, I fully understand that issue. Many people in my family are left-handed, so I totally get it. I had to be the weird one in my family and be a righty.

              5. Perfectly normal-size space bird*

                I had developed my typing speed and skill early on because I knew it was going to be a more marketable skill than penmanship. I was right, as it has helped me edge out the competition on at least one job when I was working as an admin. Though my penmanship has gone downhill in the past decade. So much so that I just finished writing a note on a card to a friend, in print, and my hand cramped. I guess scribbling notes to myself or keeping my whiteboard updated aren’t enough practice. But I’m okay with that because I use typing all the time all day long and writing a letter or card for other people to read happens maybe a couple times a year.

                Typing is a much more valuable skill currently, which is something I sort of experienced last month. I had a coworker I was mentoring who, due to his previous occupation and very advanced age, never developed good typing skills. I had to tell our boss that I couldn’t recommend him for certain projects in the future because those projects require quick typing skills and his was so slow, it took him ten minutes to type a small paragraph to me in email. I hated doing that because he was a nice guy and otherwise great to work with but he just would not be able to keep up. Teams chats with him were agonizing.

                I figure if the hypothetical apocalypse scenario of suddenly all computers everywhere not working ever comes to pass (as recounted by my dad when he laments lack of cursive in schools), I’ll just…go back to practicing my penmanship like everyone else.

              6. Is this a ransom note?*

                My dad specifically taught me when I was young not to ever learn to type because back then, since I’m female, they would force me to be a secretary. I became an attorney instead. Once they invented computer word processing, where you could move huge blocks of text around, I never took a typing class but I switched over to a keyboard and don’t have problems with my three-fingered typing. now of course you can dictate! Then just proofread for all the autocorrect errors. But I’m still glad I know how to write in cursive, because I do send thank you notes and condolence cards and the occasional letter. To me it’s more formal than printing, and looks less like a child wrote whatever it is.

                1. goddessoftransitory*

                  I still handwrite all my cards and like how they look–at least the first lines. Things go downhill if I try to write too much!

              7. Sara without an H*

                I still use cursive when I’m writing diary entries, notes to myself, etc. The quality depends a lot on the quality of the pen I’m using.

                That said, my handwriting has deteriorated a lot over the years, mostly because I spend so much time typing (keyboarding) that I’m out of practice.

                1. goddessoftransitory*

                  Ohhh, I just love writing with sleek, fat pens with a good ink flow.

              8. StephChi*

                You and I must be about the same age. When I started school in the early ’70s, they first taught us printing, then cursive, which we were then required to do for all assignments. I learned to type the summer between 8th grade and high school, since I was going to have to type a lot of papers. Still had to use cursive for handwritten assignments, though. It wasn’t until college that my cursive started to seriously slip, and since my handwriting was pretty bad to begin with, that became a problem. Even I couldn’t read my own notes in college unless I rewrote them soon after class was over! My handwriting is now an unholy mix of cursive and printing: printing for the capital letters, and mostly cursive for the remainder of the word, with the exception of some letters, like r, q, x, and z. Maybe. I’d have to look at it to be sure.

              9. Print works for me*

                I am pretty good at deciphering messy print, and okay at messy cursive, but when I am doing genealogy research on my family tree I have the hardest time with the gorgeous Mexican church records. I don’t know if it was the priests or a different type of church worker writing out the details of the deaths and marriages, but some of them have this lovely, spidery cursive that looks pretty but is SO HARD to read. Add in the fact that I am translating a language that I only have a very modest level of skill in using, and it gets frustrating quickly.

            2. Clisby*

              My husband writes in cursive and his handwriting is *terrible.* I once was in the grocery store with a list where he had added a few items; I puzzled and puzzled over the fact that he apparently wanted me to buy grass. Since he’s not a pothead, I dismissed this idea, and since I couldn’t get him on the phone I ignored it. Turned out he wanted grapes.

              1. Reluctant Mezzo*

                There have been times my husband could not read his own handwriting when the rest of us had given up…

              2. Dogmomma*

                I’m old enough to remember 2 or 3 nurses trying to decipher a Dr’s handwriting, esp if he didn’t review with you. Let alone their signature. and my handwriting deteriorated once I got to college. I still print-write, it’s faster. I l8ke to write cards too, and make an effort to keep it legible.

              3. SB*

                I wrote A list for my husband- he called and asked why I wanted a frozen canoe. He saved the list, it was frozen carrots, but it did look like frozen canoe.

            3. JB*

              Exactly this. I’m on the cusp where a lot of people who are attached to their cursive handwriting assume that I can’t read it because I was never taught cursive.

              No, I did learn cursive in school, and I would argue that you don’t need to be taught cursive to be able to read it – when it is well-written. But I think it’s very easy for someone to have penmanship in cursive that visually looks “pretty” and “neat” but is absolutely illegible to others, or requires a lot of deciphering. Since it’s not messy the way bad print penmanship typically is, the writer doesn’t see an issue with making other people squint through their writing.

              1. Perfectly normal-size space bird*

                Yeah, I know plenty of people who can do both, use one as a preference, and whether or not I can read it depends on whether their handwriting is legible in the first place. My dad’s cursive is atrocious while his print is perfectly legible. He complains that no one can read cursive and I tell him if I can’t read his cursive after being taught cursive in school and knowing him for some 40-odd years, it’s not the other people who are the problem.

                Even if it’s not messy it can be hard to read for someone who was taught to read it. I always got made fun of by the other girls because I preferred writing a clean line print “that looked like a boy wrote it” rather than their obnoxiously, overly-round cursive with little hearts or circles to dot the I, which is what they liked. I always thought that style wasn’t very readable because instead of altered loop shapes and sizes like we were taught, everything was the same size and shape.

              2. CryptoCursive*

                So true! My dad was so proud of his Palmer Method penmanship (learned around 1920) and it was truly beautiful– but nearly illegible. Deciphering his letters required patience, intuition and context clues.

            4. Letter Writer 4 (cursive)*

              (Letter writer here) I kind of am one of those people — I had horrible handwriting as a kid and had to keep copying over papers to turn in so they weren’t messy, and I got so annoyed at the inefficiency that I taught myself calligraphy in 3rd grade and have gotten compliments on my handwriting ever since. (And I stopped having to copy over written assignments!) I don’t write Palmer Method or use the curly 2 for Qs, so my writing is probably closer to the hybrid method most folks are saying is pretty readable. (It’s slightly messier when I’m taking notes for myself, but I do pay attention to readability when I’m writing something for others.)

              I’m appreciating people’s input. Part of the issue is that I work remotely most of the time, so handwriting things is fairly rare and often for things like cards where I may not know the person super well or work with them super often (and where it’s a surprise, so I can’t ask in advance!). It’s helpful to get a temperature check.

              1. Tom C*

                This sounds very much like my penmanship story – I’m sure the nun who taught my sixth grade class was very exasperated at what handwriting. Then, in 9th grade, I also became interested in calligraphy. It was like a switch was flipped and my handwriting improved so much my grandparents commented on the change.

                Even now, almost 45 years later, my normal penmanship contains elements of Copperplate and Spencerian. And at least once a month, I’m complimented on what it looks like.

              2. Perfectly normal-size space bird*

                My mom writes cursive and a hybrid and despite her 15 and 10 year old grandkids not having learned how to write it, they can read it just fine. Part of it is familiarity but legibility does play a part. When she writes me a letter, her handwriting is a lot messier so they might have more trouble than I would.

                Though on a similar note, I always found it extremely hard to read cursive from the colonial era (like with the Declaration, etc. that we’re all supposed to know cursive for). I know that’s because it’s a specific calligraphic style, which is something I didn’t actually learn in school, just basic cursive. So even though I have no issues reading cursive in general, there’s still forms that I have difficulty reading.

            5. morethantired*

              I have terrible handwriting (it spooked a handwriting analysis specialist who came to my college to try to drum up interest in this bunk “science”)
              I’m 41 and it’s amazing how even people my age weren’t taught penmanship but then teachers would criticize our writing all the time. It’s funny how it was something I had to apologize for all the like 20 years ago but literally no one has said anything about it in 7 years now. The rise of cloud shared files and commenting in-document in Word or Google means no one ever sees my handwriting. And when they do, it’s low stakes and no one cares about penmanship.

            6. not applicable*

              Late 20s here, but I also had teachers lamenting my handwriting. My 8th grade English teacher banned handwritten papers as a whole after I turned in a whole research paper. My sophomore teacher kept one of my essays as an example of how to do them properly, but also strongly recommended typing after that one lol. My handwriting is pretty passable, just small.

              My cursive was even worse. Poor parents couldn’t accept that they – two people who had lovely cursive – had spawned a gremlin whose cursive not even an ogre could love lol.

            7. MM*

              I’m doing some archival research right now, and even a lot of penmanship from the 1910s-20s is pretty hard to decipher. And these aren’t diary entries, they’re letters/memos being sent between colleagues in a bureaucracy. Then you have the people who speak the language this is all written in as a second language making actual spelling and grammar errors. It can take me an hour to get through a page. Ironically, the muscle memory of being taught cursive in school (elder Millennial with the kind of parents who insisted that I write a lot of thank-you notes) is really helpful, because I’ll sort of imitate the shape I see written with my hand in the air and think what that feels like I’m writing.

              However: this is a highly specific use case, lol.

          3. Kara*

            Agree: younger people are much less likely to be able to read cursive, but teaching it started getting patchy even for millennials which means anyone in their 40s or younger may or may not be able to read it. It isn’t just 18-year olds! I learned it, my husband did not.

        3. That Crazy Cat Lady*

          Agree. I’m older and I remember cursive, but I find it so frustrating because, as you said, NO ONE does it the same way. It’s not that I can’t read cursive, it’s that I can’t read a specific person’s version of cursive.

          1. PhyllisB*

            Very true about difference in style. My kids all learned cursive in school. My girls (42 and 36) write in big loopy letters and used to dot their eyes with little hearts. My 38 year old son writes a tight cramped script. Mine is looser than his but not loopy like my daughters’. Generally I print because my script is horrible. I was never really formally taught because we moved a lot and I somehow missed the section in second grade where it was taught, but I was still required to use it. My poor teachers having to decipher it.

            1. Definitely Not Hannah*

              I find this fascinating because I’m 33 and the opposite. I also moved in the middle of second grade, but never learned how to type properly because I missed the keyboarding lessons – moved from my old school before they started it, moved into my new school after they’d already done it. My cursive is fine, I mostly write in a hybrid print when I’m handwriting, but if you were to see me typing you’d wonder what monkey taught me. I’m fast now with my own particular system after ten years in an office environment but when I started my first office job I was so slow and had to constantly look at my hands to figure out where the letters were.

              And what’s the most wild about this is that I also grew up playing piano, so the way I type is similar in some really strange ways to how I play.

              1. Ari Flynn*

                I taught myself how to touch type ca. age 6. I was frustrated at how slow it was to stare at my hands, so I fixed it. My mother says I’m so speedy I look like I’m playing piano chords.

                My father is an engineer. His handwriting is incredibly precise draftsman printing, but despite having used computers for literally /fifty years/, he still pokes his way through emails with his index fingers.

        4. Beth*

          I’m 63. My cursive writing became an illegible scrawl by the time I finished college, and I switched to print for note-taking when I started grad school. My printing then deteriorated, but it’s still more or less legible, and I still take notes in it.

          I have the greatest respect for those whose cursive writing doesn’t look like crap, and firmly believe that folks should write in whatever font works for them.

          As far as I can tell, Young People These Days can still read good cursive, as can Old People These Days and Middle-Aged People These Days and Kids These Days. None of us were ever able to read bad cursive without a struggle.

          1. Anonym*

            Yeah, I’m in my early 40s and have always written in a sort of half cursive, half print.

            TBH I think the real issue is neatness! Most people’s cursive is barely legible even to those of use who are used to it. I’m sure a short message in a card with *neat* cursive will be just fine. The recipient will manage. OP shouldn’t have to change the way they write since it sounds like they put in the effort to make it legible.

            For the rest of us sloppy writers, if you want it to be understood, just write it neatly and clearly in whatever form is comfortable for you.

            1. AVP*

              I have the same thing! I just tried it and even when I concentrate on writing cursive it goes back to half-print halfway through a word. My penmanship teacher in 1990s Catholic school thought I was hopeless then, too.

            2. Chidi has a stomach ache*

              Late thirties, and this is me. It’s a hybrid I developed because of it’s speed when I was taking notes in class (I remember longhand way better than typed notes), but it’s idiosyncratic and messy. In high school, I remember a peer once commented “you have the messiest handwriting for a smart person I’ve ever seen,” (I attended Catholic schools K-12, where handwriting neatness was considered an allegory for intelligence). I trained myself to print on chalkboards and whiteboards when I teaching because I noticed students struggling with my handwriting.

              1. Chidi has a stomach ache*

                Not allegory…approximation? (This contributes to my messy handwriting, I often have to cross out words when I use them incorrectly.)

              2. MM*

                That’s so interesting. I feel like the general cultural impression I got growing up was that messy handwriting indicated intelligence–kind of a mad scientist/absent-minded professor thing.

              3. RBinSE*

                42 and was a super student in Catholic school but my perennial struggle was to get an “O” for “outstanding” in penmanship. Never happened. Maxed out at a “G” for “good.” Could not keep those nuns happy. And I tried so hard! I am very thankful for the ability to diagram complex sentences (another Catholic school skill…it was foundational to a life of language learning) but I have over-achieving anxious baggage over penmanship. Like most, I too developed a hybrid that is just the fastest and most comfortable way for me to write as soon as I was free to do so.

            3. TigressInTech*

              I’ll second this as one of “those darn kids” (Gen Z)—it doesn’t matter if it’s cursive or print as long as it’s well-formed and neat. I’m in some hobby groups for fountain pens and I have seen print that is illegible and cursive that is entirely clear (and vice versa), so it’s completely down to how well it’s written. If LW is making an effort to ensure all letters are represented and well-formed, either print or cursive will be acceptable and legible.

          2. IWriteHowIWrite*

            This. People should write as they write.

            There’s also an unintentional but clear ageism in this… people are basically saying “hey older people…us younger people can’t read this so it’s on YOU to change for us.” Why does an older person have to relearn how to write… why is there no responsibility on younger people to learn how to read it? It’s not actually that hard to do…

            1. IWriteHowIWrite*

              I guess I’m just sitting here amazed that people are willing to essentially go up to someone and say “hi I wasn’t taught to read your writing… please change it for me. “

              1. Mim*

                Well, I don’t know that people really are doing that that much, but if I want my communication to be effective, I do have to try to communicate in a way that that person can understand!

              2. JB*

                Nobody’s doing that. You seem to be reading a totally different conversation to what’s happening.

                Nobody walked up to LW and said “you need to change your writing because I can’t read it”. LW wrote into Alison to ask if it was a good idea of her own initiative.

              3. MigraineMonth*

                Except that’s not what’s happening here. Someone who knows both print and cursive is asking which is clearer for communication, since communication is their actual goal.

            2. Emily Byrd Starr*

              Older people don’t have to relearn how to write. I grew up in the 1980’s and we were taught to write in both print and cursive.

              1. Perfectly normal-size space bird*

                Yeah, I distinctly remember learning how to write print before writing cursive and we used both in our assignments. Print for regular homework, cursive for writing essays.

                1. Lydia*

                  Gen X and that’s exactly how I learned to write. First learn the letters in their basic forms and how to put them together, then learn how to make them cursive. That’s it. My writing is a mix of the two because I find that easiest to write and both my print and cursive is legible.

            3. FrivYeti*

              It’s not ageism to say “don’t communicate using a method that the people you are communicating to cannot understand,” any more than it would be ageism to tell young people not to write notes entirely in internet shorthand.

              I don’t think anyone has ever *only* learned how to write cursive. It might be the faster option, or the easier one, but everyone who can write cursive can write in print. On the flip side, if someone has never been taught a skill, they can’t just idly pick it up in an hour. When you say “why is there no responsibility on younger people to learn to read it”, the answer is “because there are only so many hours in the day and schools made priority decisions.”

              1. I&I*

                Exactly. If A can’t read B’s handwriting, and B is willing and able to change it up – which seems to be the case here – then the lesser hardship results if B makes the change.

                Likewise, if there’s a communication problem that can either be solved by lots of people learning a new skill to read something increasingly rare, or one person making a change within their pre-existing skillset, again, the lesser hardship is if one person adjusts.

                This isn’t about generations. If *any* communication style can be changed to make it clearer to lots of people without undue hardship to the person making the change, then age has nothing to do with it.

                1. Letter Writer 4 (cursive)*

                  Yes, I’m thinking of this more along the lines of cultural competency (my own, I mean). If I know that X group of people is likely to interpret Y behavior as a problem or differently than I intended, then it seems reasonable to be aware and responsive to the probability that I’m not coming across as I intended with X people when I do Y, even if Z people take it as intended. (Those letters are meant to be generic stand-ins, not to represent generational names!)

                2. Tupac Coachella*

                  LW4, I tend to agree with that approach. When I learned that a pretty broad swath of my students (college first-years) didn’t know how to read cursive, it just seemed logical to make a point to either print or ask them if they could read it. (I write in a hybrid that varies quite a bit depending on how fast I’m writing, fairly neat but definitely cursive heavy on key letters like f and r). I felt like digging in my heels or griping about them not knowing cursive was going to make them feel like they don’t belong or aren’t smart, not motivate them to learn to read cursive (which they arguably don’t need anyway). If I ever teach handwriting, they’ll have to adjust. For first year seminar, I can write my s’s the way they’re used to seeing them.

              2. MigraineMonth*

                Though there are times in history where a country decided to adopt a new alphabet or otherwise standardize their writing system, with the result that children and their elders actually couldn’t communicate in writing. It basically severed the new generations from their history, since letters or newspaper articles written just 30 years before were unreadable unless someone rewrote them in the new writing system.

                1. maelen*

                  I once showed a German typeset mathematical paper to a German colleague. The paper would have been from around 1940s, I believe, and my colleague was born in the ’40s. He took one look and said he couldn’t read it (the text not the equations) because the typescript style had changed.

            4. hobbitz*

              I think this is what bothers me, right? I’m a millennial who mostly prints but enjoys writing in cursive and can do it well. My mom and grandma ONLY write in cursive. I really think it would be so rude to tell them that they had to change something they’ve been doing their whole lives. People can write however they want and should try to do so legibly, and people who are reading what they’ve handwritten should make an honest letter to read it!

              1. Chickenscratch Print*

                Millennial here. It would bother me too. I only write in cursive, because my print is illegible. It’s impossible for me to write print quickly, so I’ve defaulted to cursive since I was a teenager. If I wanted to make it legible to others, it would take me twice as long to write anything.

                If it’s a post-it note, that’s no big deal. If it’s something longer, I can’t really think of why I’d need to write it by hand and not just type it at work. But if I did have to hand write it, it would be in cursive.

            5. morethantired*

              No offense but this feels not too far from saying “I never used email before and I won’t learn now.” Modes of communication change and we need to be willing to meet each other halfway.

              1. Lydia*

                I don’t think this is analogous. The way you write is more of a muscle memory thing and it would take a lot more effort to completely change how you write than it would be to switch from, say, handwritten letters to email. If your handwriting is illegible in one style, maybe it is on you to change to something that’s easier to read, but writing is so ingrained, it’s not as easy as just switching styles for a lot of people.

            6. Anti-kursiv*

              For the same reason that they learn to use iPhones: no one uses rotary dial phones any more.

          3. Richard Hershberger*

            I have two teenagers. I was with the older one at a museum that had a letter in cursive on display. He could read it, but it was a matter of working it out, not of reading it smoothly. The younger one, when in sixth grade camp, got a letter from my mother. Her cursive was truly a thing of beauty–what we mean when we talk wistfully of Ye Olde Days penmanship. The kid had to ask an adult to read it to her.

            1. JSPA*

              Reading Fraktur typeface (and older variants, and the hand-printed equivalent) is no picnic, either.

              1. Richard Hershberger*

                Preach it! I recently did some research that included reading 19th century German-American documents. They included major American cities, which gave me the key to the cipher.

              2. 40 Years In the Hole*

                Oy – Fraktur. Trying to learn it for deciphering old church and family records. In German and Latin…hurts my brain. At least my calligraphy lessons have come in handy for something. Always got Ds in grade school writing class, so calligraphy was useful. My cursive is still within acceptable parameters but certainly varies: a nicely written note to my auntie in no way resembles my grocery list scribble

                1. In the provinces*

                  Fraktur is a font, not unlike the one used in Elizabethan English. The old German script, not taught in German schools since 1945, so almost no one in Germany can read it these days, is often called Sütterlin.

              3. Perfectly normal-size space bird*

                Ugh yes. My great-grandparents were all immigrants who didn’t speak English and barely learned before they died and I absolutely hate it when I get the task of translating family documents. Now and then there’s one that my grandmother did the work translating and despite her terrible cursive, I’m just happy to see something I can read without my eyes crossing.

              4. goddessoftransitory*

                AMEN. I’ve seen a of older fonts where the goal seemed to be to imitate calligraphy/copperplate, and combining that with the teensy weensy-ness of the print, it got real eye strain city real quick.

        5. I edit everything*

          I’ve never really liked it, either. And I’ve never found it faster, because of all the weird loops and things. My speed handwriting, for notes and things, is a kind of hybrid, connecting letters where it makes sense, but retaining the print shapes, for the most part.

          That said, I have been practicing my cursive a little bit recently. Also, I’ve always wanted a classy signature. My partner’s straight line signature is too easy to forge (I should know…).

          1. Cyborg Llama Horde*

            Apparently it’s a fountain pen thing — the pen glides differently, whereas a ballpoint requires firmer contact with the paper, so it’s not as easy to write effortless cursive with a ballpoint.

            1. The Rural Juror*

              I hate hate hate ballpoints for this reason! My handwriting, which is half print half cursive, looks absolutely horrid when I’m using a ballpoint. I prefer felt-tipped pens.

              1. Orv*

                I’m fond of Micron’s PN (plastic nib) writing pens. They have the glide of a tech pen but they’re less finicky about angle.

        6. Cinnamon Stick*

          I’m older as well. The only cursive I use these days is if I have to sign my name.

        7. Anti-kursiv*

          I’m not a recent college grad. I hate cursive, always have, and refused to use it after fourth grade. I can’t read it unless the handwriting is meticulous.

      2. AnotherOne*

        My nieces (age 7) school still teaches cursive.

        The criticism on how bad my cursive is has been wonderful. But my point is- some kids can still read it. (And some people just have terrible penmanship whether its print or cursive.)

        1. Manic Pixie HR Girl*

          Hi, it’s me! My print penmanship is bad, my cursive is atrocious and unreadable. I am actually not even sure I can write it anymore, because the minute I was no longer “required” (probably 7th or 8th grade) I stopped!

          I attended Catholic school through 3rd grade, and I was so pleasantly surprised when I transferred to public school in 4th grade that penmanship and desk-tidiness were no longer lines on my report card.

          1. I Have RBF*

            I was graded on penmanship all through grade school. I got solid Ds in it. I think part of the reason is that I should have been a lefty from the start, but I was ambidexterous enough that I learned to write with my right hand. Now, after a stroke, I’m a lefty, but my handwriting sucks equally badly with my left hand.

      3. Perihelion*

        I agree—I prefer to write in cursive for myself, but for comments for students (I teach college), I use print. I’ve definitely heard students talk about how they can’t read cursive. I do also get about one a semester who writes in cursive themselves, but it’s definitely a minority.

      4. Marie*

        I work as a child and adolescent therapist, and write my notes in cursive because it’s faster, but mostly because kids can’t read them that way. So it still has its cryptographic uses!

      5. AnonAnon*

        Exactly. My teenage son grew up with it (cards from grandparents and reading notes from me).
        He can read it. He can barely write it because they stopped teaching it.
        But I think a lot of his peers can’t read it.

        I use it every day (a really messy version) because it is faster for me than printing.

      6. Willow Sunstar*

        Yes, I would not assume at this point that everyone can read cursive. Had to remind someone at Toastmasters when they were going to snail mail cards to use print recently. I would say at this point, keep cursive within your own family/social circle if you know they can read it, and for signatures on printed documents/checks.

      7. IWriteHowIWrite*

        If you can’t figure out what it says, I guess you don’t get the feedback.

        I’m absolutely NOT for telling someone they have to relearn how to write because it inconveniences others who could figure out what it says with a little effort. Cursive is different for everyone as we all write differently and those of us who can write in it have been “deciphering” notes from others for years. You can do it too.

        1. ISignHowISign*

          I assume that you are fluent in American Sign Language, then, and would have no problem with someone giving you feedback entirely that way.

        2. I&I*

          I’m getting a strong sense of hierarchy from your arguments. Juniors should accommodate their seniors, the whippersnappers.

          Imagine a younger person sending a message to an older person using a bunch of Internet abbreviations obscure to anyone over 40, and the bewildered older person being told, ‘I guess if you can’t figure out what it says, you don’t get the information.’ Still stand by your principle?

          The purpose of communication is to communicate. Write however you want, but if people can’t read it, that’s on you.

          Signed, someone with illegible handwriting who would not expect to get away with saying ‘I write how I write’ for a second.

          1. Perfectly normal-size space bird*

            “‘I guess if you can’t figure out what it says, you don’t get the information.’”

            My uncle the retired professor thought this way. He’s notorious for having the worst handwriting of anyone in our family and I have yet to meet anyone whose handwriting is worse. Uncle would complain that students always asked about their grades and progress and if they just would stop being “lazy” and read his feedback, they’d know. He never saw the problem with this.

            It takes me almost an hour to decipher one of his letters and his short notes are so cryptic that a lot of them I never actually am able to read. I’m so thankful he’s learned to text.

        3. JB*

          What a wild attitude to have.

          A few years ago, I spent a few months re-forming and practicing how I write (in print) because I knew and understood that my handwriting was difficult for other people to read, and I had gotten a job where complete strangers would need to read what I wrote.

          It wasn’t some kind of hardship, it was normal consideration for other people.

          And all handwriting is different for everyone. If your cursive is so different that it needs to be deciphered, that means your handwriting is not legible. It’s not a special function of cursive writing.

          1. MigraineMonth*

            I write to communicate with others, not for the joy of practicing writing. If I’m not communicating, I’m going to change up my methods until I succeed, whether that means changing handwriting, medium or language. I expect my communication partner to meet me halfway, but that doesn’t mean “learn a new type of handwriting” if we already have one in common.

            (Though as a child, I did fall in love with the cursive “j”, and used to write strings of them just for the joy of it. All those pretty loops!)

            1. Albatross*

              Agreed. There are situations where I’m mostly focused on the aesthetics of my writing, and for that, I don’t care if anyone else can read it. There are also situations where I’m mostly focused on whether the accounting office can get the info they need (our system is ancient and janky and sometimes I need to hand-write contact information). I’ve switched pens for that, because it has to be printed on specific paper that can only really handle ballpoints. If they told me I needed to write it in block capitals, I’d do that too. Because otherwise I have failed at the most important part of the task, which is telling the accounting office who they need to call about this bill.

            2. Perfectly normal-size space bird*

              Cursive lowercase and uppercase J and lowercase F were my absolute favorites to write. My notes to myself are mostly print, but I still throw in a few lowercase Fs because they’re so fun to write.

          2. Festively Dressed Earl*

            That’s actually cool. How did you go about doing that? I’m facing the same problem.

        4. Orv*

          I’m pretty decent at cursive but there’s a huge variation and some people write it in ways that are indecipherable. My aunt’s looked like “l-llll-l”, just loops (all the same height) and straight lines.

          1. Perfectly normal-size space bird*

            One of my aunt’s looked the same way. Her cursive was always neat and tidy, but it all looked just like you described and was so hard to read.

      8. e271828*

        The assumption that people are unable to learn anything new in this thread of “ooooh nooooes cursive” is killing me.

      9. Kstruggles (Canada)*

        I’m a 90’s kid, and have a hard time reading cursive. It’s not used often, and people don’t always write clearly. Had to read a 3 page letter for work once and it was a lot of “which letter is this?” had to transcribe it to figure out what they were saying (because having to translate it while keeping it in my head was too much for my adhd brain)

    2. duinath*

      sadly realizing the bloom of youth has passed on, but i do think changing the way you write based on the age of the recipient leaves a slightly off taste in my mouth. if you decide to do it (i would not, but again, no bloom), do it across the board.

      1. Leenie*

        Really? That sounds a little like saying that you need to always write in Spanish or never write in Spanish, irrespective of whether or not the recipient can read Spanish.

        1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          I think it’s more like saying you should write in Spanish if the person has a Spanish name. You haven’t asked whether the person actually has a skill, but rather made an assumption based on a potentially unrelated characteristic.

          1. Dog momma*

            I have a Hispanic last name but I neither speak or write Spanish…. although my FIL was fluent in 5 languages, and my parents in 2; they were of the generation
            ” you’re American, speak English! “

            1. Bast*

              Yes, sadly, language skills were lost from my paternal side of the family as “we are in America, speak English” took precedence when they came over here and everyone was trying to look and sound American… They even changed their last name to “appear more American.” As a result, my paternal grandparents (who immigrated as children from the same country) spoke their language, but could not read or write in it, and their language skills slowly dissipated over time as family died off and there were few left who spoke their language.

              My maternal side is more of a mixed bag — grandmother is from Ecuador, and while all of my aunts and uncles understand Spanish, only some speak it. It trickles down even more with cousins, some of whom do not know any Spanish. People assume they know Spanish, especially at family gatherings with extended family whom we don’t see all too often, and will get blank stares in return.

              1. Richard Hershberger*

                This is the story of immigrants in America, and has been for centuries. The first generation typically never master English and speak their native language at home. Their children are bilingual, at home and likely at church speaking the language of the old country, but English at school and, unless within a pretty strictly defined enclave, on the streets. The third generation has some of the old language, for speaking with their grandparents, but are more comfortable in English. They don’t see any point to teaching the old language to their kids, who are therefore monolingual in English. This is a generalization, but it holds up pretty well.

              2. Coffee Grinds*

                My grandmother refused to speak Yiddish from the age of 5. She would respond to her parents in English. She regretted this as an adult because she lost all of her Yiddish skills. Then she developed dementia…and now speaks fluent Yiddish.

          2. Leenie*

            I think it’s more like saying you should always write in Spanish, whether you live in Spain or Australia. Some people in Australia will read Spanish. Some in Spain will not. But you can go with the odds.

          3. the cat's pajamas*

            I saw this more as a “sign of the times” issue than an age specific one. For me it’s analogous to sending a telegram. People can still read them, at least in that case as they’re typed, but they are so rarely sent and it’s not as much a part of the culture anymore, so if someone who wasn’t exposed to them received one, they wouldn’t know how to send one back.

            1. Perfectly normal-size space bird*

              I googled “how to send a telegram” and today I learned that there is still one company in the US that you can use to send telegrams and even have them hand delivered. And now I’m dying to send someone a telegram. Though at 59 cents a word, whatever I send needs to be concise.

              1. Festively Dressed Earl*

                Send “I Am Your Singing Telegram” to a friend who’s seen Clue.

        2. e271828*

          A different language versus a different style of writing kinda jumps the argument shark here.

      2. PhyllisB*

        I’m 73 and even though I now print most of the time because my script (cursive) is pretty much illegible, I still sign greeting cards and legal documents in cursive. Used to be it was not a legal signature unless you did. I’ve noticed most documents say print and sign so I don’t know if that’s still true or just a holdover.
        I never thought about it not being taught anymore until one of my grandsons asked me to cash a check he received for his birthday. I told him to put his legal signature on it and he asked me what I meant. I said cursive. He told me he didn’t know how to do that. I was shocked.
        The bank accepted his printed signature so I guess that’s not the rule anymore.

        1. Richard Hershberger*

          It was never true that a legal signature had to be cursive. It was the most common form, and the custom of also printing the name arose for the sake of clarity. But your signature can be whatever you want it to be. It is a written manifestation of your assent to the document being signed. Consider also the old custom of making your mark with an X. That is not just something from the movies. Is was the standard way for someone who was not literate to sign a document, with a witness attesting to the identity of the signer. It seems old-timey today because nearly everyone in the developed world is literate. It is, however, still legally valid.

          Fun fact: some legal documents will place beneath the signature line “(SEAL)” This is to clarify that the signature is being used in place of a proper seal, as in wax and ribbons, again just like in the movies. The seal was the serious way to go about this, but as fewer and fewer people had seals, the signature was grudgingly accepted as a substitute. This raises the question of whether you could use a seal today instead of a signature. Good question. It would play havod with the scanner feeder.

          1. MassMatt*

            Seals or “hanko” are very much a thing in Japan, where there are multiple types, some for personal use and others registered with the government used for opening bank accounts and signing real estate deeds and the like.

            It’s considered a security feature, but while I think it’s an interesting ritual, I don’t gey how it adds security since the seals are mass produced, anyone could order the MassMatt seal.

          2. goddessoftransitory*

            Interesting trivia: The “X” was specific. It stood for “St. Andrew’s mark,” and using it meant you were pledging to be honest in his sacred name.

      3. a raging ball of distinction*

        I’m confused by this. In general my priority is communicating with someone as effectively (for both of us!) as I possibly can. To me the cursive/print divide just seems like written code-switching, which is an undeniable and necessary skill.

    3. Yvette*

      Re: #4
      With regard to cursive, I may, as will be writing in Egyptian hieroglyphics as far as my son is concerned. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t even taught in his school.

      1. Bast*

        I can confirm that in our district it is no longer taught. My older son learned it as he got ahead of the class and they needed to give him something to do, so that’s what they gave him — but it is no longer part of the curriculum.

      2. Jaydee*

        Same. My son is 13 (so not old enough to be anyone’s coworker just yet) and he’s fascinated by cursive because he can’t read or write it.

        If I’m taking notes for myself, I write in a chaotic mashup of print and cursive that’s never exactly the same twice. If I’m writing a note for a coworker, I try to lean more toward print. But even my cursive is probably more like a joined-up printing because I don’t use cursive (D’Nealian) capital letters – at least not the most complicated ones and ones that look least like their print counterparts like F, G, Q, S, T, and Z.

          1. Spring*

            Me, too. Trying to print fast hurts my hand and makes me cranky. For me, cursive is a faster, more comfortable way to write. And because I sort-of speak Spanish, when I take written notes, I just use the shorter word – for example: “todos” instead of “everyone” or hmm… I can’t think of another example. It’s been a while since I handwrote notes – I usually use my laptop.

          2. tangerineRose*

            Writing in cursive is faster for me, too. Taking notes by printing would take so long for me!

        1. Phony Genius*

          Interesting that you mentioned particular letters. Apparently, they changed the cursive Q in 1996 due to the USPS complaining that their computers kept reading it as a 2. (I don’t know who “they” is or how they came to be in charge of this.)

          1. NaoNao*

            Maybe the Palmer Institute or whoever’s in charge of “The Palmer Method” which is the only cursive “body” I can think of!

            1. Be Gneiss*

              I learned the D’Nealian method, if you need a second method for your examples!

          2. amylynn*

            Strange, I was always taught that you should print the address on envelopes that were going to be mailed, based on it easier for humans to read. When I entered the work world employers still kept typewriters around to type envelopes, even though business correspondence was word-processed.

            And, yes, I was taught cursive. Twice. I am still annoyed about the waste of time and not at all disappointed that it was dropped by most school districts.

            1. Michaela T*

              Me either! I literally have a cursive chart on my wall to help me read medical records (lots of MDs think they know how to write cursive, few actually do), and the Q on it looks like a 2. Bought it 2 years ago.

              1. Elitist Semicolon*

                Isn’t there a passage in one of the Ramona books about learning cursive and she doesn’t like the big, floppy Q so she goes back to a printed Q and adds on little kitty ears?

                1. Nona Selah*

                  Yes! I think the kitty ears was Ramona the Pest, but cursive came in a later book. And I did the same thing (less the kitty ears) growing up. I write cursive, but not that capital Q.

          3. Keyboard Cat*

            According to a quick search, “they” is probably Zaner-Bloser, the publisher of the curriculum materials most widely used for teaching cursive writing in the U.S.

            1. Polyhymnia O’Keefe*

              As a kid, my absolute favourite capital letters to write were the ones that were the most different than printing. Q, F, G, Z, in particular.

              To this day, my hybrid cursive-print handwriting includes some of those. For instance, my Js, Fs, and Zs in my personal hybrid are much closer to the Zaner-Bloser cursive than to any printed block letters.

          4. doreen*

            USPS can encourage people to write however they want to ( they keep wanting my address without the hyphen that is actually part of it ) but there really isn’t any “they” to change things. I haven’t seen the Q that looks like a 2 since at least 1977.

        2. Elitist Semicolon*

          Oh man, I remember the D’Nealian workbooks! Trying desperately to follow the dotted lines and being frustrated that my lowercase r never quite was right…

        3. goddessoftransitory*

          When I’m scribbling down notes I print, for what it’s worth–my printing defines “chicken scratch” unless I’m concentrating. But when I write in cards and such, I automatically use cursive, and sign my name in cursive. I’ve had people actually admire my signature, especially electronically, because it looks like words.

          E-signing has deteriorated into such “line and dot” messiness, mostly due to the overuse of the cheap pad being used, that I wonder how long “signatures” are going to be considered legit.

      3. TeaCoziesRUs*

        I HATE this reality for multiple reasons. We actually sought out elementary schools who specifically not only taught cursive but then ENFORCED its use… which ended up being a strong corollary for kids not being taught on computer for anything except a computer lab / typing class (my other priority at the elementary level. Thank God for school choice! My middle schooler now has a Chromebook for school, but most of her teachers still expect the students to write notes during lectures long-hand.

        Funny enough, my handwriting and cursive also became more clear over the last few years. Not only was I helping them with their letter formation, I picked up bullet Journaling at the same time.

        Also, before people start jumping on me, I DO NOT judge anyone who makes a different decision for their kids. Not only are classical liberal arts charter schools not available everywhere, I understand that my thinking is pretty backward to most people. :) For MY family, this was the right choice. I hope that you make the best choice for your family.

          1. Letter Writer 4 (cursive)*

            Yes, this is why I still use so much cursive! All my notes to myself are hand-written. I find that even if I never need to reference them, having written them helps me remember what I need to know.

            1. tangerineRose*

              I’ve found that sometimes when I type something, it feels like the words don’t really stick. Writing in cursive helps me remember, too.

          2. goddessoftransitory*

            Apparently writing, reading and speaking all use very different parts of the brain, and all of them imprint memory in different ways. It’s fascinating!

        1. bishbah*

          I managed to break my dominant arm the same week my third-grade class began learning cursive. I missed out on all the important lessons and never quite caught up. My mom tried to help me privately once my cast was off, but she had been taught Palmer Method and that was not was I was graded on. My handwriting scores were always low and I hated it.

          We were required to use cursive (and to write in pen) until the sixth grade, at which point I switched to print lettering and never looked back. Even my signature is now a fluid form of printing.

          Today I couldn’t sign my name in cursive if I tried.

          1. goddessoftransitory*

            I am a lefty and an upside down writer; my handwriting did not slant properly. The teachers tried, but it was a no-go. Oddly, I have far less of a problem with that now.

        2. Andromeda*

          I respect your choice, but inner-toddler-me did just gasp in horror :P (I learned to read before I could write, and of course all books are printed. I went to a primary school that enforced cursive, or the UK version of it, for the very young kids. Trying to get my uncoordinated five-year-old hands to draw the letters in a way I’d never seen before was a big ol’ NOPE! I just had awful handwriting until they stopped hassling me whenever I tried to print…)

          I do think that writing notes by hand does help with retention, though! Forces you to prioritise the information you’re going to put on the page, to save time and your writing hand. You can also doodle or highlight or make notes in the margins more easily.

      4. umami*

        Heh, I told a story on here once about my boss’ son who wasn’t able to cash a check written in cursive and was told they looked like some kind of hieroglyphics, and I was told the story wasn’t true (even though it was, who would make that up??). So I appreciate this comment!

      5. Worldwalker*

        I’m being horribly pedantic here, I know, but the noun is “hieroglyphs.” Think of it like “photographs” versus “photographic.”

        For something relevant to the thread: There is in fact what is essentially a cursive form of hieroglyphs, called “demotic.” I can read hieroglyphs a little bit, and really need to work on that, but I will never be able to read demotic. Because cursive.

      6. ShiroiKabocha*

        I’m 35 and I learned cursive in school, but I think I may have been one of the very last to do so. There are people only a few years younger than me who apparently can’t read it at all.

        When I was a kid, I kept a diary in cursive, and to keep my Very Important Secrets safe from prying eyes, I hid the diary in a little hiding spot in the woods near my house. One day, I was talking with some of the other kids in the neighborhood, and they told me–in hushed tones of awe–that they’d found a real satanic grimoire out in the woods! Full of mysterious, indecipherable magic spells!! And it must have come from an evil cult!!! Reader, they found my diary. The “magic spells” were a middle school girl’s lamentations over the popularity of low-rise jeans. I didn’t need to hide the diary at all– apparently I’d already encrypted it just by writing in cursive!

        1. morethantired*

          At 6 I begged my mother to teach my cursive because I thought it was a secret code only grownups knew. I was so disappointed when she started teaching me and I found out it was just a different way to write the same letters.

        2. Reed Weird*

          Eh, I’m 25 and had to write all my papers in cursive from 3rd grade until middle school. I think it’s very location specific when cursive got phased out. I still don’t write in proper cursive, just a slightly loopy print that gets more connected the faster I write.

        3. goddessoftransitory*

          PLEASE, write this as a coming of age novel; I will buy it in hardcover!

      7. I&I*

        I remember being taught cursive, and it was torment from beginning to end. Fine motor skills are like any other phys ed: you can improve with practice, but a proportion of us are born to families they don’t run in. However hard I tried, writing ‘nicely’ was just physically difficult for me; always was, always will be. As soon as I was out of school and had to take notes I switched right back to print because it was easier for me to read. All those ‘handwriting’ lessons were a massive waste of time for me.

        If schools want to teach penmanship as part of art class I’m all for it. It’s a nice thing to preserve. But as far as writing goes it’s much more a status symbol than a practical skill; as long as your hand is legible that’s all that really matters. Cursive is often less legible and only the manually adept can cut it; legible cursive is a flex. As an art, worth defending; as a universal rule, it’s well lost.

        I can sympathise with the nostalgia of seeing a picturesque skill pass out of common use, but then I remember what ‘handwriting’ classes were actually LIKE.

        1. I&I*

          (I should clarify that I don’t mean everyone who happens to have a nice cursive hand is flexing on the rest of us! LW4 seems a very cooperative and considerate person. I’m just getting a the slight buzz off a few comments here that fine cursive is something that good, cultured serious people have, and the riffraff have a responsibility to keep up. And that’s just snobbery.)

      8. ampersand*

        It makes sense that anyone who hasn’t had to learn cursive can’t read it–but it’s also wild that that’s the case, because my reality is that we were forced to write in cursive for so many years in school that I think of it as the default. We literally weren’t allowed to print, and now that I think about it, that’s weird. Also I had to read my grandmother’s cursive that she learned circa 1930, so I can read fairly stylized writing; cursive from back then is about as over the top as Hollywood acting of the same era.

        Obviously, writing should be legible and easy for the intended audience to understand (so if print is the answer moving forward, all good). I’m mostly just struck by how ingrained cursive was back in the day and how it’s disappeared to such an extent that younger generations can’t read it. I’ll be curious to see if my daughter will be able to read it when she gets older. I write in a cursive/print mashup because that’s what comes naturally, so maybe she’ll be able to halfway read it. :)

    4. Tisserande d'Encre*

      I’m 28 and learnt cursive in school, but I’ve certainly encountered younger 20-somethings who can’t read it. (Though a not-insignificant factor is people thinking their own handwriting is neater than it is!
      Then again, I also know young aspiring library/museum-archivist who read cursive better than I do, because they frequently work with old documents.

      If I had to pick a “rule”, I’d say go by how much time the person has to read it—signing a card in cursive is fine, a quick note during a training should be printed.

      1. Six Feldspar*

        Also consider how much time you have to write it – I can dash off a note to myself in cursive easily, but a cursive note that other people can actually read generally takes me more time and effort than just printing.

      2. Snoozing not schmoozing*

        One of my archivist friends told me that half the recent intern candidates couldn’t read cursive. This is in a historical research facility! Didn’t they ever see even a copy of a letter or hand-written document in their history classes? You’d think it would come up somewhere, in some class.

        1. kicking-k*

          I’m an archivist. I think it’s unusual not to be able to read it, but reading 16th-century handwriting was part of my training as an archivist. Perhaps they need to run some handwriting-reading classes?

          In my professional experience, 18th-century handwriting, which is often done by clerks or secretaries, is the pinnacle of readability; 19th-century becomes more difficult as literacy broadens but professionalism becomes rarer, and early 20th-century can look beautifully decorative but have letterforms that look odd to the modern eye. And scrawl is almost timeless, but even that can be deciphered if you have a large enough sample size for comparison.

          1. So Tired*

            I’m a historian, not an archivist, and I very much agree with this assessment! I also tend to write in what I call “prusive”, a mashup of cursive and print so perhaps I’m more skewed to being able to read cursive. But you are 100% on point about which eras are easier to read!

          2. Pippa K*

            I sometimes work with very old documents for research so I took a short course to learn to read “secretary hand,” which was quite interesting. It’s just a matter of familiarity – we can fairly easily read whatever letter forms we’re used to seeing and struggle with unfamiliar ones (and I’m not great at reading handwriting in other languages if it’s at all sloppy or irregular). But I’ll be sorry to see current cursive die out, as it’s much faster for writing notes on student papers, etc.!

            1. Jackalope*

              At one point in time I lived in another country and learned to speak that language, including reading handwritten notes. I became proficient in it for the most part, but will never forget helping the student of a friend type up an assignment she had to turn in (note that the assignment had to be typed up but the school didn’t care if she typed it or not just as long as she was the original author). There was this one character she used regularly that I could NOT read; it didn’t look like any number or letter I was familiar with at all. Eventually I figured out based on knowing the likely words and how they were probably spelled that it was the letter M. every single time there was a totally indecipherable letter – and not always in the same way! – it was an M. I still have no idea where she got her specific form of writing an M from because it didn’t look like anything I knew in any handwriting I was familiar with.

              1. Tisserande d'Encre*

                I’m so curious how she was writing this M! Not one of the letters people usually have weird ways of writing IME

                1. Jackalope*

                  I know, right? Usually if an m is going to get confused with another letter it’s an n, maybe a u. I wish I could remember what she did – although part of the issue was that she had multiple illegible scrawls that were all m’s based on where they were in the word. But yeah, I’m still scratching my head about it (and since I never met her, I couldn’t ask her).

              2. a raging ball of distinction*

                Ooooh, was it the French M which, if memory serves, just looks like an inchworm?

                1. Jackalope*

                  I love the French M! Thankfully that’s usually legible (after the first couple of times that I saw it). This was a different language.

              3. Tierrainney*

                My college age child got a job transcribing scanned in hand written forms from Mine companies in the UP from the 1800s. there was one person who it took awhile to figure out that every time this person wrote uu, it was a lower case m.

                the Hamm family showed up several times, and each time their name looked like Hauuuu

                1. Jam on Toast*

                  I do a lot of archival research and I agree that the legibility of handwriting varies hugely, both in informal correspondence, but also in business records. I spent two weeks researching a publisher’s business records and soon recognized the different employees’ handwriting. There was one anonymous bookkeeper who had such eye-watering handwriting that after spending 8 hour days squinting and head tilting and grinding my teeth, I was ready to dig them up from their resting place and do dark magic on their coffin, just to exact my revenge on their horrible penmanship.

                2. Be Gneiss*

                  totally jealous of your college-age child. And if they were old copper mine records, having more that one “u” in a row in last names definitely isn’t out of the question, so that makes it even harder!

          3. Dasein9 (he/him)*

            I worked at an academic library once upon a time and got asked to look through a donation to the archives of some old German documents. To read them, I pulled out a dip pen* and handwriting guides for the old Suetterlin script they used. Easiest way to learn to read a script seemed to be to learn to write it and I should think archivists and historians who specialize in certain eras probably do just that.

            * I did not use the dip pen in the archive itself, for obvious reasons.

            1. Emmy Noether*

              Oooh, I tried to teach myself Sütterlin for fun when I was 12 (because my father had done so for fun when he was 12, with more success than me). If anyone thinks cursive is difficult, take a look at Sütterlin!

              I can still kind of make it out at a speed of about ten seconds per letter. Old German type I can read fluently though, always a neat party trick.

              1. Tau*

                Bizarrely enough, this whole discussion has left me tempted to try to teach myself Sütterlin. Because if your handwriting is going to be illegible to the younger generation anyway, why not just go all the way, right? :D

                (I can also kiiind of decipher it but only if the person wrote very legibly and it still takes me a while. Especially e, s and h get me every time.)

          4. HB*

            Oooh, I have a question for you if you don’t mind! My mother showed me a letter once from my sixth-great grandmother to her mother. My memory is that she wrote in one direction, and then when she got to the bottom of the page she would turn it and write over what she’d written in a different direction. My mother assumed it was a way to save paper. Thing is, I have never seen this technique referenced anywhere else so I’m wondering if this was a common practice at the time, or if it was just a quirk of hers. She and her husband were relatively wealthy so the cost thing doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, except for the fact that the letter was written while on her honeymoon so she may have had a limited amount of personalized stationary with her (but I don’t think she would have invented this on the fly so it had to be something she was already doing, or something other people she knew did). If it helps, the letter would have been from the late 1820s/early 1830s.

            So have you seen this before? Was this a thing? Or was my ancestor just a weirdo who liked to make her mother cross-eyed?

            My mother has another letter from Dolley Madison to one of Martha Washington’s daughters that *doesn’t* do this, but it’s a much shorter letter and also written while she’s First Lady so if anyone is going to have excess stationary it’s going to be her… So I’m wondering if I haven’t seen this method referenced simply because the vast majority of letters that survive are going to be ones from Highly Important and/or Very Wealthy people who wouldn’t need to use a cost-saving technique.

            1. BikeWalkBarb*

              I first read about this in some old novel that described someone doing it. Yes, to save paper and also the postage cost by weight of more pages in the envelope, I believe. I just read a reference to it in the last few days so I looked it up. It’s called a crossed-letter. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossed_letter

              1. Falling Diphthong*

                My own recollection from a novel was that postage was paid by the recipient, not the sender, and so crossing the letter could send the message “thoughtfully not burdening you with excess cost” or “I figure you cannot afford two pieces of paper and so it’s all on one page, and I definitely mean this as a diss.”

            2. Hlao-roo*

              Based on your description, I think this is what’s known as a “crossed letter.” If you google “crossed letter wikipedia” you’ll be able to see some examples. It was fairly common in the early 1800s to save on paper and postage.

            3. Late Bloomer*

              Yep, it’s called cross-writing or cross-hatching, and it was fairly common during the 19th century, supposedly due to a desire to save money on postage (and paper) during the early years of postal systems. However, it was standard enough that many people practiced it even when cost was not an issue.

            4. Higher Ed Cube Farmer*

              This method of crossed writing gets a mention from Laura Ingalls Wilder in one of the later Little House books, I can’t recall which one.
              When you described it, i immediately recognized it as, “Oooh, like Laura’s Ma did when sending a letter to the family back in Wisconsin!”

            5. Sigrid says hey*

              My best friend and I did.this with the notes we passed back and forth in class. We could read it easily, but thought it made it harder for others to pry into our private business.

            6. I&I*

              It comes up in Austen! Miss Bates, in praising her niece Jane as a good correspondent, mentions that ‘in general she fills the whole paper and crosses half.’

              I think it would also have been a practical measure in the days before envelopes. You’d have to fold and seal your own letter, and multiple pages would make a less secure package. Taking maximum use out of a single sheet would make it easier to parcel up.

              https://www.janeaustensummer.org/post/caught-in-the-cross-writing

          5. goddessoftransitory*

            How much did spelling standardization change handwriting and interpretation, do you think?

        2. nnn*

          Not an archivist, but the fact that recent interns can’t read it is incredibly frustrating to me as a person whose job sometimes requires reading scanned documents written in cursive and whose eyesight is not as good as it once was.

          In the past, we would sometimes have student interns transcribe the more difficult cursive (by virtue of the fact that their eyesight tends to be better and their time doesn’t cost the employer as much) and then the more senior employees would do what needs to be done with the information it contains, but in recent years they haven’t been able to make any good progress.

          I wish they’d at least teach students to become fluent in cursive until we develop an AI that can reliably transcribe it! (At this point, people often jump in saying that AI is good at transcribing cursive, but my experience has been that it’s good at the part that’s already effortless to me and adds nothing to the part that I’m struggling with.)

          1. maelen*

            I’m in my upper 50s and learned cursive but switched to mostly print/some connected letters by college. I’ve occasionally done transcription of photos of census and other records from the early 20th century. The software I’ve used has a pop-up of several examples per letter of cursive writing and I still struggled to decipher some names and words. Being fluid in a currently-taught cursive font can help, but it’s certainly not a guarantee of accurate transcription.

      3. Clearance Issues*

        I’m similar, late-20s, learned cursive/script… but if I’m writing a note for any coworker I’m using drafting handwriting.
        One of the interns noticed I jot down notes to myself in cursive and laughed and said they “don’t read old people writing…” I think it stopped being taught and required handwriting style when I was in 5th grade
        It does depend on the younger person, some people will go and learn forgotten skills by themselves.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          *furiously scribbles notes for a heist movie in which the principles communicate with each other in cursive, which none of the young agents investigating them can figure out*

          1. Midwest High School Teacher*

            I absolutely write notes to other teachers in cursive and knowing that most of our high schoolers can’t read them.

            1. PhyllisB*

              That reminds me of my mother. She was a secretary and used shorthand in her job. She would write her Christmas lists in shorthand because she knew my sister and I couldn’t read them. Drove us crazy!! But still didn’t motivate us to learn it.

              1. Clisby*

                I don’t know whether this is still a thing, but a number of years ago the Wall Street Journal had an article about shorthand. It had fallen into such disuse that some people were making quite a decent living deciphering archived shorthand documents – some of legal significance.

          2. TeaCoziesRUs*

            Man…. that reminds me of a joke I heard once I bought my standard-shift (aka stick) car.

            What do you call a stick? A Millennial anti-theft device!

            I can’t count how many garages I went to where the “kid” working there couldn’t drive my car into the bay. They had to get an old-head to do it for them. :D I learned to warn the person at the check-in that my car was a stick.

            1. Falling Diphthong*

              I have two children in their 20s; one can drive stick. It’s in part personality differences, akin to the third graders who are studying cursive on their own because they think it is cool rather than because it is required. In part that the more interested kid was also in a position to be driving tractors (which are stick) and not just Grandma’s old truck in the country when we visit Grandma 1-2 times/year. (The oldest is the one who can drive stick, and nothing made her empathize with her parents faster than trying to teach her younger sibling to drive stick on that truck.)

              I learned to drive stick in the 80s, but after decades not using it I would need a considerable practice period to feel safe doing it. If you’re going on The Amazing Race, learn to drive stick, but otherwise the skill can fall into one of those “What if, 13 years from now, a context arises in which you need to use this skill?!!!” “Well, if I haven’t needed it in the intervening 13 years, I’m probably not sufficiently in practice to pull the skill out in a useful way.” Like the examples of needing to be familiar with a whole bunch of examples of a given handwriting font to be able to decipher messier versions of it–learning stick fluidly is about learning it in a bunch of different conditions, on a bunch of different transmissions.

              1. londonedit*

                ‘Stick shift’ is absolutely standard here in the UK. Automatics are becoming more common but if you pass your driving test in an automatic car, you’re only licenced to drive automatics. If you pass in a manual, you’re licenced to drive both. Being able to drive a manual isn’t a special skill or a generational thing here.

                1. FoxThree*

                  To be fair, so is “joined up writing” (what we commonly call cursive at primary school). All kids are still taught this, and I’d be baffled if most people couldn’t read it, provided it was relatively neat.

              2. PhyllisB*

                Yup. I learned on a stick shift and drove one for years until I had too many kids and had to change to a minivan. (I only had three kids, but you know they always have to carry a buddy.) My husband still drove a truck with stick when my oldest daughter was learning to drive so I insisted she learn to drive it. By the time my two younger ones came along he had converted to automatic so didn’t have one to teach them on. My youngest daughter’s husband taught her to drive a stick so only my son never learned. My grandchildren don’t know how, either.
                I haven’t driven a stick in nearly 40 years now, and I would hate to be put in a situation where I have to drive one now.

                1. TeaCoziesRUs*

                  I’m counting the days until I can get a convertible with a stick again… even if I have to order it from the UK!

                  Also, hubby learned to drive in a stick, but he’s not a fan. He can get you to the hospital if it’s an emergency, but otherwise he just causes repair bills. :D

                  When we went to the UK and Ireland for our honeymoon our roles changed. I became the driver and he became the nav! I actually learned how to drive stick from the passenger seat from a sweet high school friend who didn’t want me killing his clutch, so it came fairly natural to be in the “wrong” seat and driving stick with my left hand.

                  I finally learned how to use a clutch after I rented a car in Nurnburg… nothing like learning how to work the pedals trying to get out of the parking garage! >.<

              3. I Have RBF*

                I used to be able to drive stick. Then I had a stroke, and lost the use of my right hand. While I can clutch, I can’t shift, so I’m stuck with automatic.

              4. e271828*

                Being able to drive stick has served me well on three continents. If you want to get around in the world, you learn different ways to do things!

              5. goddessoftransitory*

                I firmly believe one of the main reasons I can’t drive is my dad insisted on me learning on a stick shift. Once I put the car in a ditch a couple of times he realized it was a bad idea, but too late.

            2. MigraineMonth*

              My parents kept their manual shift car just long enough for me to (attempt to) learn to drive on it. I mostly just learned to restart it every time I came to a stop, because I forgot the clutch every single time.

              When I first went to driver’s ed with its automatic car, the teacher yelled at me for turning the key in the ignition at every stop. Whoops.

          3. DannyG*

            The case would be broken by a retired detective (e.g. someone like Lenny Brisco from law & order or Detective Fish from Barney Miller) .

        2. skunkpunter*

          Maybe I’m completely misreading the tone of this interaction but it sounds like someone needs to tell that intern that ageism in the workplace is not ok (especially if there are legal protections against age discrimination where you live). I can understand making that joke at home or socializing but they might not realize that ageism -or the appearance of ageism – could get them in trouble at work.

          1. Jamie*

            I think it might be a little less about the ability to read cursive and a little more about difficulty reading non-typed communication in general. I think almost anyone could read good handwriting. Many letters in cursive are actually the same or similar to print letters and others, could be picked up a lot of times with context clues. But if you’re not used to reading hand-written communication, bad handwriting is illegible. And cursive is another factor that makes it harder. Given enough time, I think cursive should be decipherable by anyone with and appropriate level of reading comprehension skill in the language you’re using.

            1. Snoozing not schmoozing*

              I use cursive but my adult son prints. I cannot read his printing because it’s so sloppy. If I try to print, it takes much longer because it’s not second nature to me and I don’t have the muscle memory to do it quickly.

        3. Jack Russell Terrier*

          Some places are bringing it back because it has a lot of value for developing fine motor skills.

          I’m in my Fifties so I can def attest to the time spent getting my fingers around the letters. We were taught D’Nealian.

          1. Orv*

            I learned D’Nelian too and it hurt me later because I’d be asked to print something and my letters wouldn’t fit their idea of what printing was. I didn’t learn to print properly until I took drafting class.

      4. Elitist Semicolon*

        I’m convinced the only reason I can read secretary hand and Sütterlin is that I had so many teachers and professors with absolutely foul cursive as to require detective work just to decipher their comments on my papers.

    5. Knighthope*

      People who are recent English language learners may not be able to read cursive easily or at all. When I taught English to Speakers of Other Languages, we were told to avoid using it.

      1. Goldie*

        I speak and read another language with a different alphabet and cannot read it in cursive, unfortunately

        1. Not on board*

          I am old enough to read and write cursive in English – spent years deciphering badly written cursive as well. But I can also read and write in cyrillic – but cursive cyrillic is completely illegible to me. I never really learned it or practiced it and it’s gibberish. I think if I lived in that country, constantly reading and writing in cyrillic I would probably develop the ability to read the cursive, but I rarely come across it here enough to bother with.

          1. Spacewoman Spiff*

            Was just coming here to blab about cursive Cyrillic! I lived in Eastern Europe for years and despite becoming proficient in reading and writing in Cyrillic, I could never get the hang of it in cursive. I didn’t encounter it much so at a certain point, I just decided to focus my language learning energies elsewhere.

            1. Birdie*

              My Russian skills were always poor, but cursive Cyrillic? Nope. Can’t read it, can’t write it.

          2. Another Michael*

            This is so interesting to me – in my college Russian classes we were required to write in cursive Cyrillic and that’s actually what got me into the habit I retain today of writing everything in English in cursive!

      2. Pipe Organ Guy*

        I grew up learning and writing cursive, but it’s American-style cursive. Other countries have different styles of cursive writing, and they can be hard to read by those not well versed in those styles (at least that’s my experience).

        1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          Good point – I’m British and can’t read American cursive uppercase letters, though lowercase are similar enough to ours to be fine.

          1. Beth**

            I learned something today!

            I grew up in America but live in the UK. About 12 years ago, I had a job where I had a secretary (who’s in her 50s now) who routinely typed up my handwritten notes. I wrote in cursive because it’s faster than printing for me.

            My secretary struggled greatly with some of my capital letters, particularly Qs (which look rather like the number 2 in American cursive as I was taught it). I assumed it was lack of education on my secretary’s part. (She also spoke/wrote a non-standard dialogue that included phrases like “we was” that I could not train her out of even when she was writing official documents.) But it sounds like it was just cultural differences.

            1. londonedit*

              Yep, we’re not thick here in Britain, we just write slightly differently.

            2. Tisserande d'Encre*

              I hate the “2” capital Q and would love to know a cursive alternative

              1. Our Mr Wilson*

                I assume this is not an approved method, but letters like Q and G, I just do the lowercase version but bigger for capitals in cursive.

              2. Seven If You Count Bad John*

                I do it like Ramona Quimby, who also hated the “floppy 2” Q—I make like a print Q and use the tail as the connector to the next letter

              3. I Have RBF*

                I take the “2” and close it into a “Q”.

                Apparently what happened long ago is that they had a “Q”, but someone got lazy and stopped closing the front half, so we ended up with a thing that looked like “2”.

          2. ChiliHeeler*

            As an American trained in American style cursive, I think many of our upper case cursive letters are nonsensical. I used them only when I had to in handwriting class. Even at the time, I thought having a handwriting grade included in my middle school GPA was ridiculous. Especially because the cursive I learned was meant for right handed people and I’m a leftie. I would hold my hand differently to account for this but it wasn’t terribly comfortable and my teacher would tell at me and the other lefties for not holding our pens correctly.

            1. Distracted Procrastinator*

              I felt the same way about capital letters. That’s why as soon as I stopped being graded for my handwriting I stopped using the weird ones. My cursive Q is just a print Q where I connect the tail to the next letter. I also don’t use a cursive lower case r.

              Most people have mixed handwriting. It’s rare to find someone who writes exactly like how they were taught to write in 2nd grade. We all evolve our handwriting to suit our preferences.

              1. Indolent Libertine*

                Same here! Print-style cap Q and small r, and usually not more than 3-4 letters connected without a break somewhere no matter how long the word.

            2. No Longer Working*

              I’m a lefty too but I’m not sure if that’s why I’ve settled on using printing for capital letters instead of the old cursive I was taught. My capitals are a sort of hybrid and only a few look like the cursive version – I, J, Z I think. And sometimes my capitals are just larger lowercase letters. Printing requires lifting the pen up and a space between every letter which I find slow to write, and my printing looks messy and not uniform, so I prefer cursive.

        2. Broken Lawn Chair*

          We have some old family letters in 19th century German and we can’t make it out at all.

          1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

            I read Civil War era ship log books. Oh yay, 19th century cursive written on a moving ship, nope not a problem at all. Yes you can tell the difference in writing from when the ship is in port versus at sea.

            I am one of those with bad cursive writing so I always printed anyways.

          2. A (Former) Library Person*

            It’s likely they are written in Sütterlin, a script specific to German and basically indecipherable to anyone who hasn’t specifically learned it, even if they do know some German.

          3. Petty Patty*

            Old German script has entirely different looking letters than American script has. Maybe a third of them look enough the same that you would recognize them.

      3. Kotow*

        That’s interesting although admittedly unsurprising! I speak Polish and it seems that everytime I’ve received a handwritten note or letter from a native speaker they use cursive in standard Polish script. It’s a bit challenging because the letter strokes are different, but still readable. I was never specifically taught how to read the script but picked it up rather quickly. I’m glad it wasn’t entirely avoided because it is so standard and does take practice to recognize.

        1. Check cash*

          I studied Russian and it was always written in cursive, although my handwriting is awful so sometimes I would get marked for endings being wrong and I’d have to be like,..no, that is supposed to a “Ya.”

        2. The Beagle Has Landed*

          My parents were Polish and I read a lot of letters in Polish cursive over the years, but my mom always printed, including her signature. It was a quirk that would have served her well today!

      4. BigLawEx*

        When I’m in Europe, notes are almost always written in cursive – notes from neighbors, notes from the building manager, notes in a shop window about taking a break/lunch…

        Now I’m going to ask if it’s still taught in school. Everyone from about 40 up uses it. I don’t much encounter younger people in that context.

        1. Testing*

          In my particular corner of Europe, I don’t see it that often anymore. I recently wrote a short note using it, and realised I had forgotten some details such as how to make the link between certain letters.

          When I went to school in the 80s and 90s, it was still used (and one old-school teacher memorably gave extra points in tests for using it), but my kids aren’t learning it. It do think it would be useful to at least learn to read it.

          I’m also learning another European language with a different script. Back when I started years ago we were supposed to also practice reading and writing it in cursive. Modern courses I look at don’t do that.

          1. amoeba*

            I feel like most people here write in some hybrid way between cursive and printed letters. Like, some letters are connected, some are more like the cursive ones we originally learned in primary school, some are more like print. It’s generally fine to read for most people. Really printed (with no connections, etc.) is sometimes required on official forms and the like and honestly, it takes me ages to write because it doesn’t “flow” – I’d be pretty annoyed having to write like that at all times!

        2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          Still taught as default in England from age six ish, but ours differs very little from print.

          1. Thegreatprevaricator*

            Ah that explains it. I was reading the discussion thinking I’m sure that children learn joined up handwriting (cursive) in school. I was in fact surprised to learn that the national curriculum requires very specific letter formation. My education was a few decades ago, but I’m sure it wasn’t that specific. My handwriting looks quite different because I got obsessed with Victorian copperplate lettering when covering the Industrial Revolution at school. I do not write copperplate but I retain many more loops than is probably standard. My partner complains my handwriting is hard to read, but it’s fast! I do a lot of handwritten note taking to help me process information.

          2. Tumbleweed*

            haha thank you for this I was reading all this going ‘I either don’t know what cursive is or people are overthinking this massively’. If American cursive is not just joined up writing them maybe that explains it. I couldn’t think of a reason you wouldn’t be able to read joined up writing in particular and I can’t think of anyone I know who writes by hand entirely in print letters, it’s so much slower (some people end up at a bit of a mix for handwriting style and will print some letters and join up others, think this is pretty common).

            Some people’s handwriting is bad (and a lot of them think it’s better than it is) but their ‘print’ writing isn’t massively more easy to read usually in that case unless printed more deliberately (and slower) for legibility than Id usually describe non-joined up handwriting.

            (although I’m an architect and there is a divide in being able to neatly handletter drawings well and quickly that’s more or less on age)

          3. English Rose*

            Another Brit here. I’m very old but had no idea cursive, aka joined up handwriting, was dying. Do people really print when writing, it must take so long? That said, I do print if I’m leaving someone a quick note, for clarity, but when I’m writing for myself, it’s joined-up all the way.
            Perhaps the issue is that writing itself is less common. I know a lot of people take notes (in meetings etc) on laptops or tablets. That doesn’t work for me – I need the brain-hand connection writing gives.

            1. mreasy*

              I have many friends my age (mid-40s) who find printing much quicker to did than cursive! It boggles my mind but I suppose people just teach themselves things differently. All of these friends learned cursive from an early age.

            2. Just Another Cog in the Machine*

              I use a combination print-cursive hybrid when I am trying to write fast.

              I have always found most people’s cursive writing really hard to read. Especially older people (like grandparents when I was a kid or historical documents) who wrote very “flourishy.” It just takes so long for me to read it. But I can read most people’s messy print pretty easily.

          4. londonedit*

            Yep my nephew is in reception (age 5) but he’s learning to print letters with all the ‘tails’ that will eventually allow them to be joined together. That’s different from how it was in the dark ages when I was at school, where you learnt to print letters first and then learnt ‘joined-up writing’ later. Makes more sense to me to do it the way his school is doing it, because you’re not learning one system and then having to do something different a couple of years later.

            That said, this is British ‘joined-up writing’ which isn’t really much different from printing, except that the letters are all joined together, and children are allowed to develop their own personal handwriting style once they know how to do it. It’s not the same as the very formal, looping, American cursive writing that I’ve seen.

            1. ChiliHeeler*

              I had to learn three writing styles in three years: block print in K, denelian (sp?) in 1 and cursive in 2. I found it confusing.

              1. mymotherwasahamster*

                Sounds similar to my experience, except that I always thought D’Nealian (sp? again, though I do remember the “D'” part, which always annoyed 4-year-old me for some reason) was, like, a precursor to cursive?

              2. ecnaseener*

                D’Nealian, yes I remember that! With the tails, the way londonedit’s nephew is learning it. But I think I used D’Nealian for longer than you so we had time to get used to it, cursive wasn’t until either third or fourth grade.

                It was one of those things where the elementary school teachers warned us cursive was required in middle school, but no one seemed to have told the middle school teachers that!

        3. Reb*

          I’m 25 and I learned it, though my primary schools called it “joined-up writing.” It was a relief in secondary school when I was told I didn’t have to write like that, and nowadays I only join-up my letters when I’m being lazy and don’t take my pen off the page.

          My youngest sister never learned to join-up her letters, but that may be more about her than whether or not the school teaches it.

          1. Thegreatprevaricator*

            I’m kind of loving this discussion – for me the advantage of cursive (joined up handwriting, I’m British :) ) is that I minimise taking my hand off the page and that makes it much quicker for me. I specifically adapted some of my lettering to make it easier to run on as much as possible.

        4. WheresMyPen*

          From what I’ve seen of my niece (9) and nephew’s (7) handwriting, they still learn cursive in their British school. It looks the same as it did when I was at primary school twenty years ago. We tend to call it ‘joined up writing’ rather than cursive. But I’d say it’s a simpler, less flowery version of cursive than the old fashioned one my grandad uses. I’ve noticed people sometimes struggle with things like the curly s that looks like a wave or snail shell.

          When I was learning French at school I was fascinated to see students in France learning French cursive on tiny squared paper, right down to making sure their letters were all exactly the same height and width! That I did find a bit tricky to read.

      5. AcademiaNut*

        I find this tends to be particularly true of people whose first language doesn’t use the Roman alphabet, and who learned English after computers became common.
        (FWIW, I’m learning to read and type in Chinese, but gave up on writing by hand after learning enough to count strokes and find characters in a dictionary – even printing is rare enough in daily life that it’s not worth the massive amount of work that goes into learning to write).

        1. Jasmine*

          Academia Nut, I live in Taiwan and have found that many native Chinese speakers are losing their writing skills. They spent SO MANY hours learning how to write characters but the more they type the faster their writing skills go downhill!

      6. KateM*

        I thought it was the opposite – that people outside USA are taught cursive and so would be able to read it! But it is true only people whose native language uses Latin alphabet.
        I learned cursive as child in one country, now live in another country and my 6yo can already write their name in cursive, 9yo does all their homework in cursive as required in school. Admittedly they are a bit different, but we still can read each other’s handwriting.

        1. AnalystintheUK*

          I’m late 30s in the UK and was never taught cursive – in fact, I don’t think I’ve even encountered cursive outside of American cultural things! The closest I can think of would be “joined up writing” but the way I was taught that seems very different from the whole separate font thing that seems to go on in the US

          1. Thegreatprevaricator*

            Cursive is joined up writing, basically, but does sound slightly different.

          2. Agent Diane*

            I’ve been presuming cursive = joined up writing. The latter is taught from primary school in England – my kid got their “pen license” when they were about eight. Writing in it is different to reading it though.

            My everyday writing to myself is a mix of joined up and printed (so I skip the joining up when it’s one I find awkward). It looks like a drunken spider fell in an inkwell but I’m always surprised everyone can read it.

          3. Nebula*

            Cursive and joined-up writing are the same thing. From Wikipedia: “Cursive (also known as joined-up writing) is any style of penmanship in which characters are written joined in a flowing manner, generally for the purpose of making writing faster, in contrast to block letters.”

          4. Amey*

            Cursive and joined-up writing are the same thing. As someone who grew up in the American school system and now lives in Britain and has children in British primary school, there are some differences to the way I was taught, in particular around capital letters and a few things like lower case ‘r’s. I’ve assumed this was a modernisation thing but it might actually be an American/British thing.

            1. Hazel*

              I think you are all correct and the definition of cursive is hanging us up. In N. America, cursive is assumed to mean very loopy, laborious, old school copperplate type writing which can be work to read and write, and as someone said certain letters like capital Q are quite different.
              The joined-up writing taught to me in Britain back in the 70s and even my mum in the late 40s was a more modern, simpler, less loop-and-tail script that really was like more like joined-up printing. And as someone just said, we were allowed to switch from pencil to – gasp – fountain pen – never ballpoint pens – once we were ok at it.
              Cursive/joined up writing makes a lot more sense if you think it was written with fountain pens which are harder to lift from the page without blobbing ink, so you need a continuous flow. Irrelevant with ballpoints.
              But my area of Canada has just gone back to teaching cursive – and still keyboard too – after a five year hiatus. I think it’s a ‘back to basics’ political decision, but some educators say it makes a brain connection that helps reading.

              1. FG*

                Modern American cursive isn’t “copperplate.” The exemplars we used to learn it look somewhat “formal” but in practice most people develop a more casual style. There are folks who perfected the defined style, almost like calligraphy, but they are rare.

              2. sb51*

                Whereas I in the US in the 80’s was taught the full loop-and-tail, complete with a lot of little maxims to remember where all the loops went and how high/low the connections between letters should be. Looks like we did Zaner-Bloser, which was “older” at that point compared to D’Nealian, and we didn’t really do the intermediate stage of “slightly-joined print”, we went straight from print to full-on cursive. (Or possibly that was something I missed when I skipped second grade, actually.)

                I rarely use it these days, although occasionally my brain would just switch over in high school/college on exams and do a blue book of essays in proper cursive for no obvious reason. (I haven’t hand-written out anything that long since.)

                On work cards, I print the “congratulations” (or whatever) part of the message, and then sign my name in cursive; it’s a small enough group that even if someone struggles to read cursive they’ll be able to figure out which of us it is.

                1. umami*

                  Ah! I was wondering why people were saying a capital Q looks like a 2! I also learned the Zaner-Bloser way and never knew there was another. I have excellent cursive handwriting because it was atrocious when I was in 5th grade and my teacher actually took me outside the classroom to give me my report card because he gave me a C in handwriting. I cried because I had always gotten straight As and was devastated, but he started teaching me how to hold my pencil differently so I could write better, and then my grandma taught me to make rows of loops to practice my handwriting, so yeah, I have old-lady handwriting now lol.

            2. ClaireW*

              It could also be modernization in part, I’m 35 and the way I was taught it in school is very slightly different from the current techniques. I kept it up and do calligraphy for fun but I’d say for a lot of folks the difference isn’t particularly noticeable.

      7. Swan*

        Yeah, this is definitely a good rule for all learners of any language (Russian cursive is wild)

        1. Michigander*

          I never write in cursive in English, but interestingly when I was learning Russian (I’ve mostly forgotten it now), I only learned how to write in cursive. I found writing in print in Russian to be SO SLOW.

          1. RussianInTexas*

            I don’t think I would be able to write in print in Russian without seriously thinking how. Cursive? Mine isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty much automatic and super fast. Russian kids are still all learn and write in cursive.
            But there are memes out there along the lines of “Russian cursive makes me cry” for a reason.

        2. ChiliHeeler*

          I have noticed that people educated in a language that uses the cyrrilic alphabet have very similar, precise handwriting because cyrrilic cursive is intense. I have friends who are Russian, Ukrainian, and Bulgarian and their handwriting is far more similar to each other than other people I know who grew up in the same, (Latin-alphabet) education systems as each other.

        3. Seven If You Count Bad John*

          I loved learning Russian cursive. I thought it was really pretty!

    6. Adam*

      I taught my teenage daughter to write cursive because it’s quicker taking notes and writing exams. She was quite into it until her friends complained that they couldn’t read her notes when they wanted to catch up. Certainly with Gen Z, it appears that the ability to write and read cursive is effectively dead.

      1. Morning Flowers*

        This fascinates me — I used to write cursive quite a lot (though I barely handwrite anymore thanks to hand problems), and I do remember using cursive for my high school and college exams … but that was really because I was “supposed” to more than anything, and also because I thought my cursive was pretty. (No one else thought it was legible, even then…)

        But in my experience, print is much faster and easier to write than cursive. Cursive takes more movement of the pencil and more time for me to write. And I honestly wonder if that’s because I’m a lefty, because I can’t tell you the number of things about writing I’ve found are different from righties and lefties, from how you move your hand to how you move your entire arm.

        1. Pipe Organ Guy*

          I’m right-handed, and am amazed by left-handed people writing in cursive. (Leonardo da Vinci is noted for having mirror-image writing, because he was left-handed.) My handwriting has never been a thing of great beauty, but it really suffered in the year I was taking notes frantically trying to keep up with my music history professor fifty years ago. Anything in his lectures was fair game in the exams we had in his course! So many of us were taking notes frantically AND recording his lectures and musical examples.

          1. Pennyworth*

            Left-handed cursive would make an interesting study. My sister and daughter are LH and write neatly with the paper horizontal/normal position. My left-handed friend, who has beautiful writing, turns the paper 90 degrees, so she is basically writing from the top to the bottom of the page. My mother was LH forced to change to RH, and curiously her writing was very like mine (natural RH).

        2. Adelena*

          I think cursive is so much faster to write than to print every letter separately! I could never write more than a couple of short sentences in print. But I guess if you don’t write a lot it doesn’t matter much.

        3. KateM*

          Could also be that you are used to print more. I may start writing a penpal letter in print, but as soon as my thoughts start really flowing, but handwriting starts to flow as well, and I can barely keep up even in cursive then.

          1. Trans-lator*

            My university notes were… quite something for a similar reason. I’d start writing more and more words in cursive as the class went on and I tried to fit everything on the page in time. I was also studying translation, so the whole mess would be peppered with French words and phrases or I’d just switch languages entirely for a bit.

            1. I got this*

              I switched from a French high school to an English uni. Yeah, my notes were pretty bilingual.

            2. TeaCoziesRUs*

              Yup. Neat print at the start, then cursive, then slanted scribble until we could get the professor to breathe… then repeat. :D

          2. Cherry Sours*

            Yay to pen pals! I used to correspond with an obscene number of people all by hand, or typed, with pretty ribbon colors. ;) I still write a few pals by hand…if I start in print, I generally find myself switching to cursive, and vice versa.

            My kids are in their 30’s…all learned cursive in second or third grade. Our local schools don’t teach it, but are in serious discussion re: how to return it to the curriculum.

        4. Missa Brevis*

          It’s probably at least partially because you’re a lefty – cursive is kind of designed to follow your hand, so if your hand is ‘behind’ the letters, I’m sure that complicates the movements. It may also be partially because of what you’re writing with. The smoother and more liquidy the ink of a pen is, and thus the less pressure you need on the page, the better it’s going to work for cursive. Using a fountain pen or a rollerball, I can get cursive going super fast and plenty legible (if not exactly crisp and gorgeous) but I almost always print if I’m using a ballpoint or a mechanical pencil, because they just don’t flow across the page the same.

          1. WoodswomanWrites*

            This is fascinating. It never occurred to me that the pen I use affects the speed at which I can write cursive. I need all the help I can get because even though I’ve been writing in cursive for decades, I do it so rarely now that it’s awkward for my hand, as if I had learned it only recently.

            1. Swan*

              Yeah, the ink in a ballpoint pen is radically different (fountain pens and rollerballs can write under their own weight, ballpoint pens can’t – you need to press them down which when used for long stretches hurts like hell). You also have to hold them differently to write, which I suspect also affects the speed and legibility of cursive when using them.

              1. Agent Diane*

                I use inkgel pens as they give me the flow of ink without all the nib business.

                That might also save my carpets, given we learnt fountain pen writing in a Victorian era schoolroom and were taught to get the ink flowing by swinging the pen hard next to the desk. The wooden floor on either side of every desk was dark with decades of ink droplets!

                1. Amey*

                  Yes me too – I use good quality gel pens because I write much faster and smoother with them than with ballpoint. My handwriting is a (to me) efficient mashup of print and cursive.

              2. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

                Thank you. With this context, suddenly my practical preference for pencils makes perfect sense. Even 4H pencils will write under their own weight, so my hands and grip remain relaxed.

                I’ve been known to fill out paperwork in pencil and photocopy it for legibility.

              3. BikeWalkBarb*

                Thank you for this! Explains why I really dislike certain pens. (The pen recommendations thread on here a while back was epic.)

          2. Anax*

            As a leftie cursive-writer, ink which won’t smear also makes a huge difference. I personally really like PaperMate InkJoy pens, whose ink dries quickly enough that I’m not contorting my hand to avoid smearing, and don’t require pressure the way ballpoint pens do.

            I know not everyone gets silver surfer syndrome, but it was the biggest bane of my notes’ legibility in school – enough to make me swear off pencils as an adult unless I have a good reason to use them.

          3. cnoocy*

            That smear of ink or graphite on the middle and index finger is definitely considerable for some of us lefties. I mostly type these days but in high school I took a test using a magenta ballpoint and in the next class a friend thought I had burned my hand.

            1. Antilles*

              If you learn writing correctly as a lefty, your grip on the pen and hand position are supposed to be positioned differently than a righty (tl;dr: slightly more angled) so that you don’t get that smear on your hand.
              Of course, the problem is that most lefties *never* learn the correct method because typically the people you learn from will likely be right-handers…or left-handers who didn’t learn it correctly themselves.

              1. Clisby*

                Also, at least when I learned cursive in a Catholic school, left-handed students were taught to angle their paper opposite to the way right-handed students angled it (because the writing was supposed to slant slightly.)

            2. goddessoftransitory*

              Ah, the smear of distinction–whenever I use a pencil it blooms once again!

        5. Willow*

          I think the fastest is more a combination of print and cursive. Using connections between letters when it’s convenient but not trying to get every loop or flourish.

          1. Dog momma*

            Willow, that’s what I do. its faster. I had beautiful handwriting til I went to college

          2. amoeba*

            Yup, that’s what people here do, most of the time. I just looked up what kids in school are learning nowadays and it seems like it’s actually basically that (in a more formalised way)! Makes sense – pure printing seems like torture to me, especially remembering the long, long texts I had to write at school. Like, 5-10 pages exams. I’d never have finished printing each letter separately…

          3. essy*

            That’s what I do, too! My cursive and my print training just merged somewhere along the way, so some of my letters tend to look more like their cursive versions whereas others are more print. Of course, my writing can quickly become illegible even to me, but that’s a personal problem :)

          4. GermanGirl*

            That’s what I do as well. I learned print in first grade but was forced to write in cursive 2nd through 8th grade and hated it.
            We did learn Sütterlin (a variant of Kurrent) in 3rd grade, which was fun, but we never got to actually use it for classwork, so it was kinda pointless.

            In 9th grade I switched to print but just don’t lift the pen between letters that would connect anyway if it were cursive. I think it’s pretty neat and legible, and pretty fast too.

            But some people on the school board apparently thought the same and tried to codify that type of writing into a new font, which my husband was taught at school, and it looks just plain awful and is barely legible.

            I also learned to read blackletter typefaces some time along the way, and when we read classics in school I would bring the blackletter books from my grandpa’s library instead of buying the reprints. For some reason, my classmates were very forgetful and we’d often have just enough books present so we could pair up to read. I always offered to share mine of course but nobody else could figure it out so I always had my book to myself.

        6. Anax*

          I’m also a leftie, and I find cursive quicker and more comfortable!

          When I was in school, I preferred printing – I honestly think my hand-eye coordination wasn’t quite there yet when cursive was required (3rd-8th grade), and after that I was rushing to take notes, so I always used printing because at the time it was faster.

          I started bullet journaling in my 20s, and found that cursive is a lot more pleasant now – while in school I always got awful hand cramps when taking pages of notes. I don’t get that problem with cursive, even when I write five pages of notes in a meeting. I think it’s because there are fewer jerky motions, and less pressure required.

          I was a total klutz as a kid, and I wonder how many other kids were just behind the curve on hand-eye coordination, and hated cursive because they just didn’t have the fine motor skills yet.

        7. Nebula*

          I’m left-handed and I find writing in cursive much, much quicker. But then I never really used print for handwriting after I learned cursive aged 7 or whenever it was, so it’s just a lot more mental effort for me to write in print.

        8. Alpacas Are Not Dairy Animals*

          I’m left-handed and despise cursive because it’s associated in my mind with a general educational miasma of “you’re clumsy and do things wrong” that has to do with that, even though I was born too late to be formally discouraged from using my left hand. I also can’t see what the advantage of cursive is supposed to be except looking fancy: what’s ‘easier’ or ‘faster’ seems entirely dependent on personal factors like how much a person has practiced and how their fine motor control is.

          1. Missa Brevis*

            The advantage, if you’ve been taught good technique, and if you’re using a writing utensil well suited to cursive, is that the movement is much smoother, so it can reduce hand cramps and strain on your wrist, and for some people allows them to write faster. Sort of like an elliptical vs a treadmill at the gym – the one where every movement flows into each other instead of having an impact or stop to each step is smoother and gentler on your joints.

            I’m not saying it’s better for everybody, and I’m definitely not suggesting that there’s anything wrong with having a strong aversion to cursive if it doesn’t work well for you, but it can have a few benefits beyond looking cool.

        9. fidget spinner*

          I can write in cursive waaaay faster than I can print. Interesting how it varies for people!

      2. Labrat*

        In the 1990s, my AP English teacher tried to get a couple guys who preffered print to write cursive. The guys’ argument was they could write faster in print because that was what they were used to. They could certainly print fast.

        I tend to have sloppy handwriting if I’m not being careful. In my experience, sloppy printing is easier for others to read that sloppy cursive.

    7. Marcela*

      My teenager learned cursive in elementary school, so some young people can read it.

      1. Buzzybeeworld*

        My teenagers did not learn cursive, but still can generally read it. Unless it’s like really the kind found on old manuscripts, it really isn’t hard to decypher. Especially since a lot of people’s cursive is really a cursive-print hybrid.

      2. Tinkerbell*

        Yep, my kids are 11 and 15 and both learned cursive in 3rd grade (so around age 10). Neither choose to USE it anymore, but they can certainly read it!

      3. CityMouse*

        My MIL writes in cursive and it took a little coaching but my kindergartener can read it (for cards and letters). I do some calligraphy so I know a few styles. I’m not sure whether I might teach my son over a summer or similar as he gets older.

      4. E*

        My 16 year old learned in it 3rd grade and continues to write almost exclusively in cursive. Most of her friends can also read & write cursive but surprisingly have a hard time reading analog clocks.

    8. Bambue*

      as a 34 yo who learned cursive in school and then never used again, I can read cursive if it is neat – but it still takes me 3x as long to read. If it is at all messy then I might start not being able to figure out all the words.

      1. Anax*

        That’s what I hear from a lot of thirty-somethings, as a habitual cursive reader. It’s legible, but it takes much longer.

        1. MassMatt*

          I am compelled to leave this exchange from The Simpsons when Bart was having trouble reading the board at his new school:

          Teacher: “Didn’t you ever learn cursive?”

          Bart: “You mean like ‘hell’, and ‘damn’?”

          Teacher: “I think you might benefit from our ‘leg up’ program
          for, uh, ‘special students’, Bart…”

          1. goddessoftransitory*

            “Bart, you’re not in Sunday School! Don’t swear!”

            Different ep, but still great!

      2. ClaireW*

        I hope this doesn’t sound patronising but I find this so interesting! I’m 35 and learned it in school and kept it up, all of my handwriting is cursive unless it’s like a government form or something, but I can’t see how the letters in cursive would be so different that you can’t honestly read them? Unless you just know people with extra terrible handwriting lol

        1. Anax*

          Honestly, it’s a thing! Even with good handwriting, cursive usually has “missing information”. It’s not always clear, say, whether a letter is an “s” or an “r”. You can figure it out from context, especially with practice, but the letters might be physically almost identical.

          That context is especially tough if you’re not a native speaker, because you don’t have a mental dictionary of every possible word in the language, so it’s a lot harder to guess from context.

          (Is it “cares”, “cases”, “caser”, or “carer”? Are all of those real words? What makes sense in this sentence?)

          For an example – look up Kurrentschrift, the 19th century German cursive script. The local historical society actually gives classes on reading it – not translating, but just figuring out which letter is which – because it’s tough for most English-speakers. Without the context of a shared language, and without past familiarity, cursive is hard!

      3. womp*

        I’m about your age, learned cursive in school, but it wasn’t required past 4th grade or so. I used print after that.
        I recently went back to school (online) and started taking notes in cursive – the extra concentration it takes to write in cursive helps me remember the content better, and asynchronous lectures mean I can pause and take more time to write things down.
        Unfortunately I have reached a point where I DON’T need to concentrate extra hard to write cursive, so my trick doesn’t work anymore. But cursive writing is pretty, and I have started to use it more for birthday cards and such.

      4. Butterfly Counter*

        Honestly, this is going to vary from handwriting-to-handwriting.

        I teach and give some essay questions on in-person exams. I’ve had students who write cursive that I can read from a mile away. I’ve had students write in print that I need a microscope and a cryptography book to get through.

    9. Bruce*

      My cursive was so bad as a young man 45 years ago that when I worked as a night operator the day operators ordered me to stick to printing. I can still write cursive, but from decades of habit usually print.

      1. Bruce*

        On the other hand I found some family letters from the mid 19th century and wow, not only did they have perfect handwriting but it. was. small… Had to fit a lot of words onto a single page of thin paper!

          1. Alanis*

            Cross-writing was mentioned in one of the Little House on the Prairie books. Too bad we didn’t have wikipedia back in the 70s so I could have looked it up!

            1. Bruce*

              My cousin has them now, but I don’t recall the family letters we have used cross-writing… yet I needed a magnifier to read them. If I recall that batch were written by women, one of whom was a school teacher, and penmanship would have been one of her prides! A later batch of letters from around 1906 are much less awe inspiring, written by people who had decent penmanship but who could afford more than one sheet and so not as obsessed with writing in miniscule…

        1. Bruce*

          My wife retired from teaching 3rd grade in 2020, I’ll ask her opinion of the state of teaching cursive in primary school…

      2. Rhododendron*

        I learned cursive in school (I’m in my 60’s) but prefer printing. My cursive and printing are both very legible (I get compliments) but the only time I used cursive for school papers was for my ancient 7th grade science teacher who put more store in beautiful handwriting of homework than in the content of that homework.

        Since that 7th grade teacher, the only things I write in cursive are my signature, and the written-out number words on checks (when I actually write a check as opposed to auto-pay, credit card, or Venmo).

        I never understood the concept of “cursive is faster to write” because I can print much faster, especially when taking notes. I came across one of my college notebooks recently and everything is printed.

        Printing is so much more legible. A childhood friend corresponds in such horrible cursive that I can’t read her letters.

    10. Sam P.*

      I’m 19 and learned to write cursive in elementary school- of course, we never actually used it after that, so I doubt I could write any significant amount in it, but I can read it.

      I do remember being told that once I finished the required cursive book, I should go back to printing everything, because my handwriting was that bad. Still is, to be honest.

    11. BackInTheDay*

      I am 55, and the only time I use cursive anymore is to sign my name onto an official document.

      1. Filosofickle*

        Around 50 I realized I’d all but forgotten how to even sign my name! My last name starts with F and I genuinely can’t figure out how to flow through that letter in cursive anymore.

        1. Alanis*

          I’m 55 and I take copious notes in meeting for work and I have books and books filled with cursive. Obviously a personal preference.

    12. Kotow*

      #4: Perhaps I’m petty and curmudgeony, but this isn’t something I’m willing to accommodate. I write in cursive so that’s what you’re going to get. Even if I start in print it will return to cursive at some point. I’ve even been told my printing is too much like cursive! I’d just stick with what you’re used to doing. There’s also something about changing writing based off of someone’s perceived age that just rubs me the wrong way.

      1. Happy meal with extra happy*

        Really? If an employee or coworker couldn’t read your handwriting, you’d just say, “deal with it”?

        1. Pennyworth*

          Difficult to read text is apparently much better remembered. There is even a font called Sans Forgetica, designed for this.

          1. the Viking Diva*

            That was the intent, but tests showed the font didn’t actually aid memory.

          2. Emily Byrd Starr*

            Forgetica! That name is so hilarious that I actually Googled it to make sure that you weren’t pranking us.

          1. blah*

            What a ridiculous response. As others have stated in these comments, people could have issues reading cursive for any number of reasons: they were never taught, they’re ESL speakers, they’re neurodivergent, etc etc

          2. blah*

            What if someone can’t read cursive for any of the legitimate reasons others have explained elsewhere in the comments? Is that still a skill issue?

          3. Kaisa (The Librarian)*

            Lots of things are skills we no longer require everyone do use in their every day life anymore. Just because something was once useful doesn’t mean it will be forever.

      2. a raging ball of distinction*

        As I mentioned above, to me switching between print and cursive is comparable to code-switching in writing rather than speaking. We’re all already doing this all the time when we talk.

      3. RussianInTexas*

        I am 45, so technically old enough to read cursive, but I cannot read American cursive. You know, for the reasons of it being my second language.
        So I guess I am screwed here.

    13. Stripes*

      I was surprised (but delighted) to discover that my 7 year old 1st grader can read cursive when he read his own birthday cards from my aunt and grandma. So I think you’re good to carry on in cursive unless someone brings it up. If you’re really concerned you could ask a few people directly about it but chances are if no one has brought it up then it’s not a problem.

      I mostly write in cursive myself and even when I “print” it tends to be loopy like cursive and then I forget mid word that I’m trying to print and go back to cursive accidentally. We do a significant amount of hand written communication and I’ve never had a complaint from a coworker or client. On the rare occasion that a coworker is unsure about a word they just ask, but that only happens when they’re reading point form notes I made for myself without context clues.

    14. LDBrain*

      Neurodivergent person here: cursive is really hard for a lot of folks with different brains to read. I’m of an age where we learned it but if I’m tired or in a hurry I actually can’t read it. Unless it’s your signature I would encourage printing. Many folks who have access needs have been shamed for this (I have) and may not speak up.

    15. Fikly*

      Cursive is not nearly a generational norm for older generations as people seem to think (at least in the US). My boomer mother had to relearn letters when she got married in the early 80s and she changed her last name so she could sign it, and she went to public schools.

      Don’t think of it as a generational thing, think of it as a clarity in communications thing. The goal of communication should always be to have the people you are communicating with understand what you want to convey. What is the standard in the US for printed English words? Use that.

      1. Alice in Spreadsheetland*

        The problem is that the ‘standard’ is different for different people, though- if you never learned cursive, print might be your standard. If you never use print, your standard is cursive. There isn’t a single, nation-wide standard for what handwriting people have that’s taught in all schools to everyone.

        1. Fikly*

          That’s not true, though.

          When I use the word standard here, it doesn’t mean what a person uses most commonly. It means, for the type of communication, what is used most commonly. In this case, for written communication in US English, the standard is print.

          If a person can read both cursive and print, they can read print. If a person reads only print, they can read print. That’s why you should adhere to the standard – it allows for communication with the largest group of people. And yes, it’s true that there isn’t a single, nation-wide standard for handwriting, but generally speaking, all of the varieties taught are close enough to printed fonts that they tend to be legible, at least, compensating for people whose handwriting is hard to read for a variety of reasons.

          Now, if you find me a group of people in the US who can read English in cursive but not print, please show them to me, because I will find that fascinating.

        2. Alpacas Are Not Dairy Animals*

          But anyone who can read typewritten/keyboarded material can read neat printing, and that’s currently the closest to a standard that we have.

        3. JB*

          The standard for readable text is definitely print. Regardless of how you were taught to WRITE, you were definitely taught to READ print.

        4. morethantired*

          Standard is print which is why all street signs and such are in print and not cursive. Cursive was designed specifically to make handwriting easier, cleaner and cause less cramping/stress to the hand and wrist, which was necessary when everything needed to be written long hand. There’s a reason it is becoming obsolete and while it’s totally fine to have an affinity for it, it is not the standard.

      2. djx*

        I’m older gen x, learned cursive in primary school, and even did a little work with an archive in library school.

        And you know what? Writing in cursive for other people to read doesn’t make sense to me. Yes, knowing how to read it is cool (my elementary age kid can decipher it). But unless you know the recipient finds it easy to read, don’t do it.

    16. anonforhere*

      I can read cursive just fine as long as it’s not completely terrible! But I can’t *write* it to save my life. Might be neurological in my case, but I think it’s good to remember that those are two different skills. Reading it is both more important and easier, so I’d say at the very least, don’t change what you’re doing pre-emtively.

    17. tabloidtainted*

      If you write in cursive, write in cursive. It’s no more difficult to decipher than the handwriting of people with illegible print penmanship.

      1. Filosofickle*

        I’m not sure that’s true. When I was young, years after I could read and write but before I learned cursive, I had a tiny book that I assumed was in a foreign language because I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. Much later, I realized the book was was a cursive font. It completely changes the shapes of letters and words, so I don’t think everyone can just figure out cursive if they weren’t taught.

      2. JB*

        If you write in illegible print penmanship, you should fix that, too, if you are regularly writing things that other people will read.

        Yes, I know various disabilities can impact the readability of penmanship. I have some of them myself. And of course there is a threshold where disability may make legibility impossible. But it’s absolutely bonkers to say that how you write for yourself is how you’re going to write notes for other people, and everyone else just has to deal with it. Did they let you all get away with this in school? Because if any of my teachers had to spend extra time deciphering my handwriting, they gave me an F for the assignment.

        The degree of disrespect for other people’s time here is so out of pocket.

    18. ChaCha*

      I’m sure this varies school district to school district, but my younger siblings (30 and 27) did not learn to write in cursive in school and I (32) did. They can mostly read it, but sometimes need help.

      That said, I don’t think you necessarily need to change how you write, particularly for something like a card. They’ll figure it out!

    19. k money*

      Re: cursive!
      I’m 22 and can read and write cursive. My best friend writes exclusively in cursive! I’d say my 20 year old brother and 18 year old brother can also read it, maybe not write. Any younger than that and I think it would really be pushing it.

    20. Ann*

      LW4, I ask people if they can make out my writing. Sounds more like I’m thinking it might be too messy, but it’s to gauge that they could read the cursive, in case that helps you.

    21. RagingADHD*

      IDK where you live, but between my own kids, my nieces and nephews, we have samples from all over the US with ages from 15-40. They all learned cursive in elementary school and read/use it perfectly well.

    22. Alice in Spreadsheetland*

      I’m on the younger side (in my 20’s) and cursive is the only font I write in- I’m actually slower and find print more difficult as I’m focusing on writing each letter individually and even differently to how I’m used to, rather than having a ‘flow’ to my writing.
      I think it varies by age! If a colleague told me they were unable to read my writing I’d send them messages over Teams instead (though my current workplace is fully remote so it’s unlikely to happen). It’s just too laborious to print and I’m a fast typer.

      It does make me… sad? Concerned? That there may be such a huge generational split that young people can’t even read what older ones write!

      1. FellowKid*

        Fellow young person here who also learned cursive in school and still primarily writes in it — I feel like this idea that “young” people can’t read or write cursive is actually wrong. Also — cursive isn’t that much different than print.

    23. nodandsmile*

      Our tooth fairy has always written replies to my (now 10yo) daughter in cursive. She can read it, but it definitely takes more concentration than MY handwriting

      1. WoodswomanWrites*

        I once was a secret chocolate fairy for my co-workers for two years before people guessed it was me. My default is all caps printing and no one recognized the cursive I put on my notes. I only got caught when a bunch of them sat down to figure it out and determined by process of elimination that it must be me.

        1. Annie*

          I love this idea! Almost makes me miss working in an office so I could do that. Almost.

    24. Glazed Donut*

      For LW4, I wonder what prompts this question: Did the individuals not follow through with what was written, or did they say they couldn’t read it?
      Like many generational questions, I say – go on a case by case basis. If someone says they can’t read your handwriting (cursive or not!), then adjust. Until then, keep on. There’s not going to be a hard line for any of these things.

    25. Evelyn Karnate*

      In grad school I worked on a lot of late medieval manuscripts, and many of them were written in a “bastard hand” halfway between printing and cursive. That’s the best description of my handwriting, and I don’t get complaints about legibility (even from Gen Z).

      1. allathian*

        That’s my handwriting, too. I’m 52 and we definitely learned cursive at school, in 3rd grade. When we went to the UK when I was 12, I had to switch to printing because my teachers couldn’t read Finnish cursive. When we returned to Finland a year later, I had to write essays in cursive but filled my exercise books in print.

        In the early 00s, they stopped teaching classic cursive writing. The current style is a “bastard hand” with joined-up letters where that comes naturally, but no whorls or loops. I still sign my name in classic cursive, but my writing has started to resemble the current style that our son uses.

        Our son who’s in 8th grade has recently started reading cursive. But even as late as 6th grade, he had to ask someone else to read what his grandparents wrote on his Christmas and birthday cards/presents, even though he’s one of the strongest readers in his class, and probably the only boy who’ll read voluntarily (he recently finished Dune, the first book that he hadn’t read in translation before reading it in English, and he just started reading LotR in English, which he has previously read in Finnish and Swedish).

        To the LW I’d say that there’s no need to make any assumptions based on age, write in cursive unless and until someone says that they can’t read your handwriting. To do otherwise would be ageist and possibly ableist.

        1. Cat*

          That’s what I do too! I’m a high school English teacher and write extensive handwritten notes on kids’ papers (actually, using an iPad with Apple Pencil). My kids say they can mostly read it. Sometimes I get kids asking me to translate, bit not that often. I have also learned what words are most likely to trip them up, and I am more careful with those. It’s my experience the kids actually enjoy the opportunity to figure it out.

      2. Six Feldspar*

        That’s my style too except when I’m writing my own notes I skip letters (eg the n in reading) or condense words (tomorrow becomes tmw). Fine for me but I wouldn’t put someone else through that! Especially when my handwriting gets messier the faster I go…

      3. djx*

        Cool. Now can we get a shout-out to my homies using fraktur! Come on yall, I know you’re out there! Woot woot!

      4. goddessoftransitory*

        I read that as “grade school” and was amazed at the advanced curricula!

    26. Sharpie*

      Can someone please explain what yous all mean when you say cursive? I write joined-up. As in, it looks like print letters but joined up – I’m guessing there’s much more of a difference between your joined-up writing (‘cursive’?) and print where each letter is written separately.

      I have no idea about what’s taught these days but when I was a kid, we were taught how to take our print letters and join them to their neighbours, writing each word as one continuous flow to make things quicker to write – very handy when writing essays in exam conditions years later. Joined-up writing is not copperplate or anything like, the letters are basically the exact same shape as the print letters, just with ligatures linking each letter to the one following.

      (Nesting fail below , sorry about that!)

        1. Sharpiecollector*

          Could someone link to a page with good examples of modern cursive and print (US)? I’m in the UK, and having difficulty imagining why writing in block capitals (is that print?) would be quicker to write than joined-up.
          I hand- write all the time at work and home, and it is often a little messy, depending on speed, but it’s not fancy curly writing that is difficult to read

          1. londonedit*

            There is definitely a style of American cursive writing that is very formal-looking, lots of loops and squiggles, and some of the capital letters don’t look anything like printed ones. For ages I assumed that was what people meant when they talked about ‘cursive’ – I didn’t realise it can also just mean ‘joined-up writing’.

            I’m imagining people are meaning the formal American style of cursive when they’re talking about it here – that’s the only sort that I can imagine being difficult to read. British-style joined-up writing is basically the same as non-joined-up, but you join the letters together. So I can’t see why it would be difficult to read – and it’s quicker to write, too, because you’re running letters together rather than writing each one individually.

          2. Amey*

            Print isn’t block capitals. It’s capital and lower case letters but they’re not linked to each other.

            1. Sharpie*

              I honestly have no idea why I said block capitals = print. I meant, writing the individual letters separately = equal print which is a very different thing indeed.

              *confused Pikachu at my own words*

          3. YetAnotherAnalyst*

            The way I think most Americans who are still in the workforce learned for cursive is the Zaner Bloser method – it’s very loopy, has an entirely different set of letters for cursive than for print (the capital G is particularly egregious), and has a pronounced forward slant. Printing is straight up and down, and uses the much more distinguishable printed forms of the letters. My printed handwriting does tend to join up unless I’m taking care not to (like filling out a form).
            Some examples from a national handwriting contest, with both cursive and printing, which also shows about when Americans tend to learn cursive (if they do): https://www.wect.com/2023/06/07/meet-kids-with-best-handwriting-country/

            1. Letter Writer 4 (cursive)*

              Thank you! The cursive examples there are close to what my writing looks like, though mine’s a bit narrower.

      1. Labrat*

        According to wikipedia, joined-up is another word for cursive, though I don’t think the letters I learned look exactly like print. I tried to pist the link, but I think it got eaten.

      2. coffee*

        My grandmother sent me cards in copperplate. Beautiful, but took a little while to read!

        1. coffee*

          Also some of the replies do sound to me like people are saying cursive but meaning copperplate, but it’s hard to know!

            1. coffee*

              I always saw the difference as being that Copperplate has more flourishes, and a dense number of flourishes can obscure the word a bit. Possibly my grandmother was too fond of the flourish lol.

              1. Labrat*

                I think I would have loved it if Copperplate had been the style of Calligraphy they taught in my school. We had a really basic printing.

            2. PhyllisB*

              Yup. I learned on a stick shift and drove one for years until I had too many kids and had to change to a minivan. (I only had three kids, but you know they always have to carry a buddy.) My husband still drove a truck with stick when my oldest daughter was learning to drive so I insisted she learn to drive it. By the time my two younger ones came along he had converted to automatic so didn’t have one to teach them on. My youngest daughter’s husband taught her to drive a stick so only my son never learned. My grandchildren don’t know how, either.
              I haven’t driven a stick in nearly 40 years now, and I would hate to be put in a situation where I have to drive one now.

            3. PhyllisB*

              I’ve read a lot of references to Copperplate, but nothing about the Palmer method. Is that totally passe?

          1. coffee*

            I was also wondering if America teaches different styles/fonts of handwriting in different states, and yep – common fonts are Zaner-Bloser or D’Nealian, and Zaner-Bloser is more distinct in its print vs cursive. So I think this question will also depend on what font each person is used to using.

          2. sb51*

            Copperplate, AFAIK, is an older style of cursive — most modern-ish writers are using Zaner-Bloser or D’Nealian, though if you’re going through Great-Grandma’s recipes you’ll run into Spencer and Palmer. (If you can read one of those, you’ll be OK with the others, although some of the capitals vary wildly.) I think copperplate predates both of those, but is also still used as “fancy” lettering for monograms etc.

            1. Sharpie*

              See, I don’t think of handwriting styles having different names! Copperplate was just the most ‘cursive’ way of writing that I could think of.

              Now.im going to have to see if I can dig out the photo of the most gorgeous handwriting I’ve ever seen, written by an English clerk back in the eighteenth century. (Or early nineteenth, I can’t remember the exact date)

              1. Sharpie*

                This is an example of my own handwriting, if links are allowed: https://i.imgur.com/zFXXWJx.jpg

                And here’s an example of some anonymous clerk’s handwriting from the eighteenth century, when everything except books, posters and blank forms were handwritten, which makes research in the period alternatively fun and really really challenging: https://imgur.com/AaLjRl1

      3. Anonymoose*

        I’m an American expat living in the UK. Our elementary-school-aged kids have learned “joined up” writing, not cursive. But I think they mostly mean the same thing, or at least what the kids have learned is similar to what I learned as a kid. There is a huge emphasis in their primary school in learning and writing in joined-up writing – print is very much out of favour.

        1. allathian*

          Interesting. Granted, I lived in the UK 40 years ago, so things may have changed. But as I posted above, I had to switch back to printing because my teachers couldn’t read my Finnish cursive writing, which looked a lot like the Copperplate font, even if my hand was never that neat. I still retained the joined-up letters, so maybe that explains it.

          Our family has kept some letters my paternal grandparents wrote to each other when they were courting, and my grandmother’s handwriting was so neat that it looked like calligraphy.

      4. Ellis Bell*

        We don’t call it cursive in the UK, we call it joined up handwriting or script. So, I’m curious if people are talking about traditional joined up lettering where the lower case R is backwards and the lower case S is like a little hook. It sounds like it from what people are saying about different shaped letters, and I know primary schools aren’t teaching this as much as they used to.

        1. bamcheeks*

          Yeah, I was going to ask this too. My kids are certainly learning joined-up writing in school in the UK, but I think cursive is a stricter and more specific style, like Copperplate. I used to have an American girlfriend, and her handwriting was much stricter and more regular than most British writing, more like the French penpals I had as a child, so I’ve always assumed when Americans said cursive they did actually mean CursiveTM.

          1. londonedit*

            Yep, same. I had an American pen friend as a teenager and her letters were always in the most immaculate cursive font, like Copperplate. My British ‘joined-up writing’ has its own style that I naturally developed, it doesn’t follow a set of rules. Until I read another discussion about cursive writing here I assumed ‘cursive’ was only used to refer to the very formal American sort of writing.

        2. doreen*

          In the US, anything that isn’t print is called cursive or script – everything from the fancy, every letter at the same exact angle script I only see 80 year old women use , to a mish-mash of print/cursive to the chicken scratch that my son writes. Everyone’s is different – I haven’t see the Q that looks like a “2” since I was in grade school and only the 80 year old women use the capital “A” that looks very different from the printed one. I understood what joined up handwriting means – but I never heard it before today.

          1. YetAnotherAnalyst*

            I would disagree with this! I’m in the US, and I would call my print, even though many of the letters join up. Cursive, to me, is loopy, slanted, and has letter forms that are completely distinct from print (G, Q, Z, r, s being prime examples).

            1. doreen*

              You aren’t exactly disagreeing with me – I have no idea what your writing looks like and no idea whether I’d call it printing or cursive but what I’m saying is that in the US we don’t refer to three or four distinct forms of handwriting. We don’t refer to “print” which is different from “joined-up handwriting” which is different from “cursive”. It’s more like “print” vs “everything else” , like you would call your handwriting “print” even though many of the letters join up.

      5. Irish Teacher.*

        My impression is that Americans call joined up writing cursive.

        When I learn joined up writing I primary, we learn different versions of a few letters, s, r and f and maybe one or two more, but the difference overall wasn’t much greater than say the difference between the a we see here and the one one writes. Everybody’s handwriting is different anyway. I would fine it surprising if somebody could read all the variations that aren’t joined together, but none that are.

        1. Hazel*

          I think in N. America, cursive is conflated with a fairly formal style (commenters named D’Nealian and Blosner?) because that is what is commonly learned, around age 8.
          In the UK, the word cursive seems to be rarely used, and joined-up writing is usually less loopy, with letters joined together but formed similarly to print.
          It sounds like in Europe some countries use a more formal style.
          So all of these are both cursive and joined-up, but the fonts taught vary. I think in N.America some kids dread learning cursive because it is harder/more different than print, while others rejoice in it.

      6. Clisby*

        At least with the cursive I learned, some letters would look like print letters joined up, but some were totally different. For example, the cursive “s” looked nothing like a print “s.” Same for the print “r”, “f”, “z”. And in the capital letters, the cursive letters for “G”, “Q”, “S” looked nothing like the print ones.

    27. talos*

      I’m 24 and can read/write cursive (I often do, it’s faster for notes and looks nice in cards for people whom I know can read it), but my 20 year old younger sister cannot.

      I suspect that none of my colleagues who grew up not writing Latin characters (Chinese, Russian, many parts of India, lots of others) can read cursive either.

    28. An academic*

      I teach hundreds of college students as a time, and my graders are generally also college students. Out of 650 freshmen, maybe 3 will use cursive on their exams. Of my 4 undergraduate graders, maybe 1 or 2 will not be able to read cursive well enough to grade. Often, those undergrads are people who are fluent in English but spend their primary and secondary education in a country with a non-alphabetic script. So, it’s probably OK but be careful if the person isn’t from the US.

    29. Swan*

      LW4…it is indeed unlikely your younger coworkers can read cursive, unless maybe they have a strong interest in handwriting/calligraphy (which is a good chunk of people it seems, but that may be confirmation bias on my end due to the circles I hang around in) or people with history degrees who are used to looking at primary sources.

      Unfortunately a lot of people have decided that handwriting is useless these days so a lot of schools are no longer teaching it (and if anyone can tell me what, if anything, is being done to replace the teaching of fine motor skills that comes with handwriting I’ll be interested to know!)

      I remember once reading a story (fictional, I believe) about a history teacher who was giving a test on some historical document (declaration of independence or something of that nature) and provided her pupils with two copies: a scan of the original and a typed copy. Almost all kids failed except the two who could read cursive and the teacher revealed that not only did this test not count for grades, but also that she purposely snuck errors into the typed copy because the actual lesson she wanted to teach was the importance of primary sources and how you cannot necessarily trust what others – including herself – are telling you about things. I thought it was pretty neat.

      Also I’m just realising that the inability to read cursive makes passing notes a viable option again because teachers will be on the lookout for secret texting and other kids can’t read it anyway.

    30. BikeWalkBarb*

      I’m curious about how all the printing people sign official documents. Do they print their names? That somehow doesn’t feel as signature-y to me as cursive. I’m thinking back to all that time in grade school practicing my signature to make it look pretty. Does this still happen?

      I’m also curious about how the movement away from cursive in school sits alongside people journaling with Instagram-worthy calligraphic flourishes. Cursive writing has become a hobby, apparently?

      My cursive is a hybrid, definitely not the Palmer Method or whatever it was they taught me in school. It’s about half-print but faster for me than having a physical break between letters. Printing has always seemed more laborious.

      The whole discussion of handwritten communication is irrelevant to my work life because I’m 100% telework. Even before that started in 2020, almost every card I’ve signed for a colleague for years and years has been an e-card with lots of typefaces available–easier to get signatures electronically than to circulate a physical item. Some of those typefaces are pretty hard to read. I appreciate the comments from people noting that printed writing reduces barriers to reading comprehension.

      1. Elsewise*

        I scribble, personally. My signature looks a lot like First initial, wavy lines, last initial, some more wavy lines. (My dad’s looked like a barcode, and there is not a single L or T in his name! He’s also not a doctor. Very easy for teenage me to forge, though.)

      2. I got this*

        my signature is First and last initial and something completely illegible after the last initial. It was once my last name.
        Blame having to sign 100 lab books every week in grad school, when I was a TA

        1. SarahKay*

          Same here, although in my case it was working in a big department store where I was having to sign for all the deliveries to our departments. 20+ signatures a day shortened me from SK-longlastname to SK squiggle.
          I can now sign something faster than I can initial it!

      3. londonedit*

        It’s funny, because I’ve never associated signatures with a particular type of writing, but there are a few people in these comments saying ‘how do you sign your name if you don’t write in cursive’, so it must be a thing. To me, signatures don’t have to be done in a certain style – the whole point is making up a way of signing your name that’s unique to you. Mine’s just the first letter and then a load of squiggles, but it’s the same every time I write it. I’ve never had the idea that my signature has to be a beautifully rendered cursive version of my name.

        1. Ellis Bell*

          I am wondering how old I am now, because I definitely thought I had to use the more formal joinable versions of letters. My first name begins with an E and only in my sig do I write it like a three that starts with an upswing from the bottom.

          1. londonedit*

            I’m in my 40s and my parents are in their 70s, and none of us have signatures where you can actually read the name it’s meant to be! In fact, I’m sure I was told that you shouldn’t simply write your name nicely, your signature is meant to be unique. My dad’s is all spiky and my mum’s is all squiggly.

        2. YetAnotherAnalyst*

          When I got married, one of my biggest concerns was that my new last name started with a G, and cursive Gs were the bane of my existence. I spent literal weeks trying to sign my married name in some way that looked halfway reasonable! Fortunately my new father-in-law was originally from the UK and made cursive Gs entirely differently, so that’s what I ended up with. But the idea that your signature must or should be cursive is very much a thing in the US.

      4. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

        Signing my name is literally the only time I use cursive. Despite being right-handed I find cursive slow and tedious. All those fiddly loops.

      5. Pastor Petty Labelle*

        Depressingly with e-file in courts signatures have become: typed name /s

        the /s stands for signed. Personally I hate it because you have no clue if it is actually signed by the person or not.

        My PDF program lets me save an actual signature that I can then insert into the document. So you know if you see my scribble I actually signed it.

      6. MC*

        Signatures do not need to be written in cursive – that’s how it’s often traditionally done but there is no requirement to do so. Technically it doesn’t even need to be your name. It just needs to be something distinct that can be linked to you.

        1. NotUniversallyTrue*

          Not true, at least not always. I had a signature rejected recently because it wasn’t in cursive. Disconnected printed letters were not acceptable.

      7. SignatureWoes*

        Many formal signatures have to be in some form of cursive (squiggles or other illegible script okay). They will reject block/printed letters.

        In some cases, they require people to have relatively consistent signatures. I’ve periodically run into trouble at banks because my signature varies a lot depending in my mood (and now also by how bad my eczema is) and I don’t always fall within the variance level they require.

      8. a raging ball of distinction*

        I’m going to guess that we don’t really know yet because print-onlys haven’t yet had to sign their name often enough to *have* a signature. When I was younger I would sign my name but my signature didn’t really develop until I worked a job in college where I had to sign for a delivery every day. By the end of the summer my signature looked pretty similar to how it still does now.
        I think for most people a signature develops over time from the repetition, rather than being A Thing that’s deliberately created

      9. djx*

        “I’m curious about how all the printing people sign official documents. Do they print their names? That somehow doesn’t feel as signature-y to me as cursive.”

        I learned cursive in elementary school but hated it and never wrote it unless forced to. Late in high school I just started using letters that were similar to print, but joined together in a nearly illegible scrawl. Technically that’s cursive – joined up – but as an example the capital J I used is similar to print and not cursive as taught in school. Sort of like “I got this” describes.

        My wife grew up in a place with a non Western language – her signature is basically print.

      10. RussianInTexas*

        First initial, second initial, some kind of wavy scribble.
        My partner’s signature is a loop. Just a loop. He is absolutely old enough to know how to write and read cursive.

    31. Shakti*

      My daughter is 11 and they don’t teach it in school, but she can read it. She wants to learn to write in it and her friends do too. I think there’s a movement with younger kids to bring back handwriting and cursive because they find handwriting things a better way to get their thoughts in place. I think cursive is going to make a comeback tbh

      1. Swan*

        That makes sense – I also find it easier to brainstorm when handwriting.

        With the exception of major papers like my master’s thesis I always write first versions by hand – if you give me Word which let’s me easily delete things I spend too much time obsessing over getting the sentence perfect, whereas with handwriting I just get stuff of the page and move on, editing will happen later.

        1. Janne*

          I love my Correctbook (other brands are for example Greenbook and Bambook) for brainstorming — it has “whiteboard” pages and you write in it with erasable markers, so it’s really easy to quickly write and draw things, erase bits of it, write new things around it, etc. I also use it a lot when I want to explain things to colleagues. It’s like carrying my own little whiteboard/flipover.

          1. Pupper*

            Ooh yeah, I love those things too! Especially if you’re learning a new language involving a new script – they’re great for practice!

            (Odds of me needing to handwrite anything in Japanese are low but I find learning to handwrite the characters helps me with reading them.)

      2. Janne*

        The discussion on teaching cursive here (Netherlands) was also that they think (I don’t know if there is evidence) that it helps to prevent mirroring letters, because you are forced to start left and end right. I don’t know if it helped though — my brother is dyslexic and his cursive is impossible to read, so you can’t even see if he’s mirroring his b’s and d’s.

    32. The Grinchess*

      This a thing for a certain age group! I had no idea until I ran into it at my work a couple of years back. They stopped teaching how to write it so certain people have never had to learn to read it. I offered to stop and said I would print my notes instead but they declined and said it was good practice for them and they wanted to learn how to read it, which I thought was great!

      I saw recently in the news schools were going to start teaching it again. Amazing the stuff we take for granted as “simple” and “everyday”!

    33. Awkwardness*

      I feel a bit stupid for my question, but what would OP use instead? Block letters?

      If cusive is what I think it is and what google seems to tell me it is…. I do not understand the question. The degree to which the different letters are linked together may vary from one person to the other, some may tend to round letters, some to sharp letters, but it all would be cursive?

        1. Lexi Vipond*

          And when you say ‘print’ do you just mean carefully writing each letter separately? Or literally typing things and printing them out?

          I’m not sure where Awkwardness is, but I’m in the UK, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard ‘print’ used for writing here – only ‘in print’ in the sense of published in a newspaper or a book.

          My handwriting is less joined up if I’m e.g. labelling something very carefully, or writing for a very young child, and more joined up if I’m writing quickly, but it’s all just handwriting.

          1. londonedit*

            I think ‘print’ means writing the letters out separately, and ‘cursive’ means what we’d call any version of ‘joined-up writing’.

            1. Cyborg Llama Horde*

              Yes, I think you’re right — that’s what I would mean, and based on the way OP writes, I assume she’s in the US. (“Cursive” also means a very formal hand, like you’d see on e.g. the US Declaration of Independence.)

          2. Ellis Bell*

            We use ‘print’ in schools. Sometimes a kid doesn’t get on very well with joined up writing, so after giving it a go, we may tell them to abandon the attempts and to use a neat print instead. Some people’s writing comes undone with the speed of joined up formations.

      1. panda*

        In the forms of cursive taught in the US, a number of letters are formed differently from print (non-cursive handwriting). The most apparent/confusing to read is probably r. D’Nealian script is one of the common teaching methods, you can look it up on wikipedia to see what it looks like, and there’s also an example of the print writing that students are taught first with that method.

        1. amoeba*

          Ah, yeah, I do believe that’s where a lot of the confusion here stems from – looking at that, it looks like simplified joint-up writing to me (at least if you actually use the little hooks at the end of some of the letters to join them, which I would guess happens somewhat automatically once you become fluent writing?) Handwritten “print”/block letters for me in Europe would be much more like, well, exactly like what the printed words in, say, Arial look like.

        2. Awkwardness*

          That explains a lot. When I looked up “cursive” i thought that would be a another term to indicate handwriting, and print would mean block letters as in a newspaper.

          1. Awkwardness*

            I, as an example, write my “n” similar to my “u” in handwriting, and they are joined. But “numeric” would be a single “n”, then “um”, “er”, “i” and “c”.
            I still would have called this cursive, but maybe I am wrong in my understanding.
            Haha, this is all quite confusing!

            1. Cyborg Llama Horde*

              For me, “numeric” is a long loopy squiggle: hump hump, point point, hump hump hump, oblong loop, hump that is slightly more defined, point with a dot, c with joins. There are no vertical lines the way I do when printing, even at the starting n.

              (US cursive as it used to be taught in schools)

      2. Tau*

        I prefer print handwriting pretty strongly. What that means is that I form every letter separately, none of them are joined, and shape my letters in line with a printed font rather than using any of the alternations common in cursive to allow writing them in a single movement (such as f or z going below the line of writing, b being open, s being more like a little triangle, etc.). My school made a pretty sharp distinction between the two, and I was only allowed to use print in essays and exams starting from… I think it was eleventh grade? Up until then everything had to be cursive, in exactly the style taught – I actually had to switch my cursive style in sixth grade because we’d moved and teachers in Germany objected to the US style.

    34. Garblesnark*

      I am 29.

      Awhile ago when I managed a silent generation employee, she complimented me on my cursive. She said it was very neat and legible and she really liked that young people still use it.

      Aaaand that’s the complete list of my coworkers who have been able to read my handwriting without having it specifically clarified for them that yes, it’s English writing.

      1. hello*

        erm, if you follow the links, the writer of that sample is actually English. what I learned as a kid in the US slightly different in form (most noticeably, the capital Gs and lowercase r’s, but other small differences as well). that example is actually more readable than what I learned, to be honest.

        1. RC*

          Yeah the r’s are jumping out at me as not how I learned, and I definitely always close my p’s too. Lowercase g is also not how I learned.

          Middle millennial here and I definitely learned and still write in cursive, but an elementary/middle school pen pal program I do explicitly tells us not to write in cursive because the kids probably can’t read it (so that’s where I just type instead).

          1. ScruffyInternHerder*

            Agreed. My kids struggle a bit with cursive (my own preferred writing style is all caps, block lettering, I blame my career) as its not something they see on the regular.

            As far as learning it? When exactly? My kids have spent far more time dealing with standardized testing than I recall (and that my school records from elementary and middle school show having happened) ever doing so. I’d argue that perhaps we could go back to teaching it if we removed some of the standardized testing that the teachers agree is useless. Much of it is put in place by politicians and those without an education background.

            1. Dek*

              I agree that teaching for standardized testing needs to be changed (or done away with entirely), but I don’t think re-replacing it with cursive would be all that helpful.

              Maybe typing classes, maybe some very early information literacy, given how kids from a young age have access to social media/youtube/etc, but often don’t have the discernment needed to safely navigate it (and for that matter, neither do adults. More reason to actively teach it in schools)

              1. ScruffyInternHerder*

                To be clear – I’m not advocating for all of the time that standardized testing takes up to be replaced with cursive handwriting lessons. There are a lot of topics that could be taught in that cumulative amount of time. But between the tests themselves, and the test prep? That’s a lot of time dedicated to something that I’ve never heard an educator claim to be helpful in the least.

                FWIW – typing was taught in my kids’ district from upper elementary through middle school, as was “early information literacy” in middle school, as an elective. There isn’t so much a typing class as I knew it (and mine was honestly pretty worthless as it was taught as though it was 1960 and we were all going to be secretaries….in the 90s, when most of us were taking it as a pre-req for the computer class the HS offered) but more a short and concise segment of a different class such as Basic Computer Functions.

            2. JustaTech*

              An aside: the last time I took the SAT (effff you, College Board!) we had to write a statement about not cheating on the test. The statement had to be written in cursive to “count”. Hardly anyone could remember how to write in cursive well enough to get it written, to the point that the test proctor had to write it out in cursive on the blackboard so that we wouldn’t be any later starting the test.

              That was about 2000-2001.

        2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          The sample is not how English children are currently taught (though possibly an older British style).

        3. Font Nerd*

          Depending on your age, in the USA you might of learned “Spencer” cursive which they haven’t taught in decades. The “Palmer” method came later, but has also fallen out of style. My kid who is currently in public school is learning Zaner-Blosser which has a modern simple Q, but still a funky G.

          1. Polaris*

            I believe there’s another one, late 1970s vintage, that’s similar to Z-B, but just a little different. Some things about D’Nealian look familiar – like slanting the printing as a stepping stone to cursive – with how I was taught. I definitely did not learn Palmer, there are too many lower case letters that just look awkward to write out (r, v, and x, notably) and bear zero resemblance to anything I’ve seen in my life! Spencer looks like you’d need a fountain pen to write, honestly. Its pretty, but I cannot see myself having the time to scratch that out in a meeting!

            1. JustaTech*

              Pretty much the only time I use cursive, aside from signing my name, is when I’m making color commentary notes in meetings – it’s easier to scratch out and harder to read upside down across the table.

      2. Buni*

        As a UK teacher in schools that very much still expect joined-up: yeah, pretty close. I would expect one of my students to close up their p’s and b’s, and the capitals don’t need to be anywhere near that fancy, but the rest is fairly standard.

    35. Quoth the Raven*

      I’m 37 and not from the USA. I learnt cursive growing up and I actually had to write in it the first time I worked as a teacher in my early 20s, but how effectively I’m able to read it depends a lot on the person writing it. My mum’s super readable to me but my best friend’s is extremely hard to the point of sometimes being illegible, for example.

      For the record, I can’t write in cursive very well these days, either, and during my last term as a teacher in my early 30s I wasn’t required to use it anymore.

    36. coffee*

      We used to print out documents for our top-level staff and get feedback back via handwritten notes on the page. I tell you what, some of the comments were a mystery, and we used to pass pages around the team to decipher. I was pretty good at it! Could get an entire sentence from a few words and a bunch of squiggles. Some of my other coworkers were like “I’ll take your word for it.” So I think it’s going to vary person by person.

    37. shedubba*

      This is one of those things that I keep seeing online, framed as a “generational divide” thing, but I haven’t seen it at all in person. 3 of my kids have gone to 3rd grade in 2 different schools in different states, and all of them have learned cursive. Conversely, when I was in college, I knew people who were my peers and older that struggled to read cursive (I’m an elder Millennial, bordering on Gen X). I’ve never seen anyone bring up actual numbers on the percentage of schools that teach cursive in different years, but I think this issue is probably less a generational thing and more a “some schools just don’t teach cursive and that’s always been a thing” thing, and it feels icky (and maybe infantilizing?) to not use cursive just for younger coworkers.

      That said, I like the suggestion about using cursive for things others can take time to read and printing for things that need to be read and understood quickly. No unnecessary age judgements, just optimizing your behavior for business needs.

      1. Circe*

        Indeed. It’s required teaching in publ8c schools in 23 US states according to mycursive . com.

    38. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      The purpose of writing anything is to communicate, so imo it’s best to print when writing by hand to others. Recipients especially who have a visual disability, worsening eyesight with age or have ESL would find it easier.

      So interesting to learn that younger Americans probably struggle to read cursive writing. In the interests of efficiency and inclusiveness, the default should be to rule out cursive in US workplaces.

      I’m late 60s and have always lived in Western European countries.
      Cursive is still taught and used in schools here, presumably because it is quicker to write than printing, when done properly.
      Hence all ages can read & write it, at least native speakers – German cursive can be challenging with the 4 extra alphabet characters.

      I was taught cursive in the UK from around age 8 and used to have good handwriting, but years of frantic scribbling at Uni (7 years BSc to PhD) rendered it an embarassing scrawl that is illegible to anyone but me.
      I write cursive for speed for my own notes, but I always write in block capitals for physical notes to other people – rare as I almost always use EM/text or print out a letter from iPad.

      1. Six Feldspar*

        Agree on both counts, especially if the notes are going to be scanned! I’m a little scarred from squinting at handwriting in old pdfs, and god help whoever had to mark my last exam…

      2. djx*

        “The purpose of writing anything is to communicate, so imo it’s best to print when writing by hand to others.”

        This. That’s it.

      3. Garblesnark*

        I don’t know that “rule out” is the answer.
        I keep a lot of notes at work that are just for me. No one else needs to read them, so I don’t think it should matter whether they’re in handwriting no one else enjoys reading.

    39. Big Pig*

      I assume it is called cursive officially in the UK too but I remember it being joined up handwriting. Pretty sure it is still taught in the UK (it was 10 years ago when I was studying to be a teacher but never did become one) although not the lovely old fashioned style that my mum (school in Scotland in the late 50s and the 60s) has. I do notice more men I know have printing style handwriting but no idea why.

    40. Auntierandi*

      I find this thread so fascinating. My first impulse was that the letter writer was massively overthinking. My 7 year old niece, who has recieved no instruction in cursive, was able to parse a sentence my mom had written in cursive. She read it only a little less confidently and easily than she does print. I am surprised to see so many responses that cursive is unreadable for gen x.

      1. Claire*

        This thread is fascinating to me, because things are the opposite in my country (France). We are taught cursive only, not print. Obviously print is super easy to read so no need to learn that, but I’d be unable to write it.

        1. Scarlet2*

          Yes, I was born in Belgium (French speaking side) and it’s the same there. It’s just how you’re taught to write. When I discovered much later that some people in the US were never taught how to write (or even read) cursive, it just blew my mind.
          If I needed to write in print, it would take ages.

          1. Pupper*

            Also born in Belgium but on the Dutch-speaking side and same here. We would have these little example cards with the alphabet taped to our desk, too, so you could always refer to it when you forgot a letter.

            I do tend to write more print-like if I’m using a ballpoint or a pencil, but I also try to avoid writing with those (ballpoints friggin’ hurt if you’re trying to write more than a birthday card). But even then it’s not “real” print because if I tried to do that I’d probably spend an hour on a simple note.

      2. Elsa*

        Yeah, I think there is a separate question of whether someone who wasn’t taught to read cursive can figure out how to read it anyway. My kids are very lazy about reading cursive – they didn’t learn it in school and when they come across it they usually ask me to read it to them. Note that some kids’ books, like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, include “diary entries” written in a cursive font.

        But I’ve always figured that if my kids cared enough to figure it out, they could take a few minutes to look over the cursive alphabet and a few more minutes to commit it to memory. It seems like a very attainable skill for someone who reads English fluently to learn to make out neatly written cursive writing.

      3. Tumbleweed*

        same yeah (and also was thinking it’s a bit patronising to change your writing if you think someone is young?). I don’t think working out how to read something in cursive is particularly difficult – if you are used to written or typed English text in the first place and the persons handwriting is halfway decent. And I’m dyslexic.

        so idk, it seems to be the latest generational divide talking point so maybe that’s why people are overthinking it. But I wonder if many of the people going ‘the youth can’t read my cursive’ just…don’t have great handwriting in the first place. (not saying mines great – but self aware it’s not)

    41. IndigoHippo*

      I’m in the UK, aged 35 but I teach undergraduate students. Lots of my students still hand write notes in class instead of using a laptop (in fairness I teach Ancient Greek and I think typing in a different alphabet takes some learning when you’re using a Latin keyboard. They might type in other classes but use pen and paper in mine). I haven’t noticed any decline in the use of cursive (i. e. joined up writing? Assuming that’s what US readers are talking about rather than e.g.a full on copperplate script) either looking at their notes or when marking exam scripts if I’m honest. My generation were taught cursive at primary school from about 7 or 8 and I don’t think that’s changed. I mark plenty of egregiously illegible work but that’s not new and god knows I was guilty of producing egregiously illegible exam scripts as a student so I guess that’s just karma!!

    42. Dogwoodblossom*

      For all the folks speculating about speed of writing, this actually has to do with pen and ink technology. Cursive is much faster to write in *with a fountain pen* because the ink flows continuously (plus if you pick up the pen a bunch you’re more likely to get drips).

      Nowadays most folks write with ball point pens because they’re cheap and they don’t leak everywhere. The ink is formulated differently for a ballpoint and you cannot get that continuous flow. You have to pick the pen to refresh the ink. So block print is faster than cursive if you’re writing with a ballpoint pen.

      1. Dogwoodblossom*

        Also I’m almost 40 and I was sort of taught a little cursive in elementary, but it was really just those dotted line worksheets where you draw over the shape of pre-printed letters. We were never encouraged to actually write in it, despite dire warnings that in college everything we turned in would have to be written in cursive. Which was ridiculous because by the 90s everything you turned in in college had to be *typed.* I tried to keep doing it on my own by looking at the cursive alphabet border around the top of the classroom (because I took that warning about college very seriously in 3rd grade) but then my mom told me my cursive was terrible and I gave up. I can read it with some effort but outside of the occasional card it has never really come up.

      2. Morning Reading*

        Yes, I prefer to print everything handwritten and I love a good ball point pen. Fountain pens are terrible for this because they risk a blot between every letter. I can see how the flow is better for someone doing joined writing but I can never manage it. A lighter touch is required. Printing has more of a bounce.

      3. D’Arcy*

        I had the extreme displeasure of daily handwriting lessons with a cheap Bic ballpoint, and did not learn about fountain pens until years later as a young adult.

    43. a Gen Z representative*

      I’m 24 and have no problem reading or writing cursive. I learned in elementary school.

      1. Disabled trans lesbian*

        I’m 29 and I can read and write cursive, though my handwriting is atrocious enough I like to joke about having a doctor’s handwriting (my degree is healthcare related but I’m not an MD)
        If it has to be readable to my colleagues, I make sure to print it.

    44. Earlk*

      Cursive isn’t really a thing in the UK but whenever ~I’ve seen examples of it online I don’t understand why it needs to be taught? I can see why you wouldn’t use it on an official form or something, but it’s just slightly fancy writing and completely readable imo.

      1. Lady Lessa*

        Not necessarily. In a book that I recently read about a man looking to learn about his grandfather (WWII adult), a number of formal German documents were written in a specific handwriting. Now the current generation cannot read it, so the documents are essentially lost. The author of the book was lucky that his mother could still read it.

        1. Tau*

          Yeah, Sütterlin and generally Kurrent (the old German blackletter handwriting forms) are IMO a good comparison here. If I want to read my grandmother’s old postcards, I have to really focus, rely a lot on context, and probably won’t get everything – and that’s if she took the time to make sure everything was neat and legible. Any sort of quickly jotted down notes are generally unintelligible. And I feel like Sütterlin is closer to the cursive I was taught than that is to print, honestly.

        2. Earlk*

          I have been trying to compare notes written in the two but as a I only know English and not German it’s not easy for me to compare.

          There’s also possibly a difference between old fashioned cursive and modern cursive.

        3. GermanGirl*

          If you want someone to help you read German Sütterlin, look for a native German speaker. I speak a handful of languages, but I can only read cursive or Sütterlin in those languages where I’m fluent enough to solve NYT-level crosswords. I think it’s because you fill in the gaps where the writing is ambiguous by using your experience with the language, which is just impossible even at B2 level.

          So yeah, that’s another point in favour of not writing cursive to people who aren’t fluent, unless your cursive is much neater than your printing for some reason.

    45. BubbleTea*

      I’m 33. Cursive was not taught in UK schools when I was there (we learned “joined up writing” which isn’t the same thing) but I taught myself at university. No one has ever had trouble reading my writing.

    46. Does it*

      Maybe I’m older than intended for this question (25) and I also live in the UK but… I can read cursive! To me it would make no difference. I work providing services to much much older people (think 70+ on average) who give me a lot of handwritten notes, and the handwriting I struggle with is not the cursive, it’s the scrawling. I have younger siblings currently in university and I’m pretty sure they can read it too. Is it something you really need to be explicitly “taught”? I don’t think it is?

      1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

        In the US it is. The letter forms for many letters are totally unlike the printed versions.

    47. Felix*

      You should write a few notes to colleagues and simply ask if they can read them – not to ask if they know cursive, but to learn whether or not yours is legible. I am 34, was taught cursive in school, but am currently going through an issue with my boss who likes to communicate through written notes, but his writing just isn’t clear. Cursive isn’t the issue – it’s the individual who uses it.

    48. Volunteer Enforcer*

      I am 27, the oldest age for gen Z. I have never seen cursive, but like to think that my Dad’s handwriting is similar and can rarely read that. Take it how you will.

    49. ElliottRook*

      What I can’t figure out is this: when we decided that we didn’t have time to teach kids both printing and cursive, and that we needed to devote time to teaching typing (valid) and that meant we had to cut one of the handwriting styles (less valid, imho)…we cut cursive?! Cursive is so much faster to physically write than printing with all the lifting of the pen from paper–and if you really wanted to print after only being taught cursive, you could reverse-engineer how to from looking at typed words. I’m completely baffled that this is the decision that was made in our efficiency-obsessed world.

      1. Cursive for days printing for hours*

        agree to disagree, I learned both printing and cursive in school. Cursive was optional for assignments in second/ third grade (on the assumption you were still learning) and required on all assignments in fourth/ fifth grade so I do very competently write in cursive, however as soon as it wasn’t required I went back to printing because it takes SO much less time to write. It makes sense that printing would take less time because there is less ink that has to hit the page (think how long it takes to black out the whole night sky on a coloring sheet versus two simple dots for the character’s eyes – of course the dots are much faster than the blackout, and cursive is essentially asking you to black out the space between the letters)

      2. Check cash*

        They don’t teach typing though. I am 43 and started taking typing classes in 2nd grade and it was a whole quarter in middle school. I was shocked, that kids who are always on computers (and did a full year virtual!) cannot type.

        Cursive is taught in non-public schools a lot in the US because it helps with reading and making connections to other words. So there’s a brain-connection to this.

        My printing is garbage, but I basically link all the letters for this reason…its faster and sitting there trying to print each letter.

        1. Bunny*

          I was taught typing in middle school, and so were most (all?) of my peers, who are all college aged. So I think *not* teaching it would be atypical in my experience.

      3. YetAnotherAnalyst*

        If you only have time to teach one letter form, print letters are probably more than 90% of what you actually encounter in adult life. I haven’t had to write in cursive for a good 20 years (besides signing my name), but every form I’ve filled out as an adult has said “please print”.

      4. sb51*

        It’s not faster for a lot of us, and I have, when I concentrate on it, a perfectly good cursive hand. But making all those loops and making sure I get the transitions between letters right takes mental energy, plus having to go back and add the bits to t/i/x slows down my flow.

        I don’t lift the pen much for print, and I do have a few standard ligatures (“the” is two motions – the upright of the t, and then the crossbar leads into a modified cursive h (no loop, just a point) and then into a more upright e than proper cursive. Rather than the point of the t, a full looping h, and then an e that often looks more like an l unless I’m being careful with my heights; that was always one of the things I had to erase over and over, to get the ls and es distinct, and then finally go back and cross the T.)

    50. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      In case it is of interest, the cursive form currently taught in England (UK education is devolved) looks like this:

      https://www.hillcross.merton.sch.uk/_site/data/files/users/18/images/809F8B46419B039127D981239FB40166.jpg

      You will note that this varies very little from print except that each letter has a joining flick at beginning and end.

      Children start by learning print in preschool, then “pre-cursive” from around age 5/6 where they effectively print but with all the extra flicks on each individual letter, then overlap the flicks for “joined-up”/cursive.

      Classroom materials such as posters will often use “pre-cursive” typefaces to reinforce the letter shapes.

    51. Finn*

      Not in the US, so not sure how relevant this is, since I learnt cursive (I guess, we called it “writing letters” and the other option would be “printing letters”) in my 2nd or 3rd year at school and even kids now still learn it. I had learnt print in the 1st year. But I’ve read books written in cursive quite early, certainly before I had learnt all the letters, not sure when exactly. I obviously can’t say anything about what would’ve happened had I never learnt it, but judging by the handwritings of people I know, cursive is far closer to print than some of those and I’d assume it’s readable.
      And, half the letters in cursive are the almost same just connected, and the ones that aren’t are relatively easily guessable.

      1. YetAnotherAnalyst*

        I don’t think I’ve ever even seen a book written in cursive! In my experience/usage, it’s exclusively a handwriting thing. I still haven’t found a computer font that actually looks like the cursive I learned, probably because some letters connect at the midline and others connect at the base, so you’d need two off everything.

        1. JB*

          There are many fonts that look like all sorts of cursive handwriting styles. But yes, typically they are meant to be used in graphic design programs that can dynamically adjust the letters.

          If you keep your eyes peeled you will see them used on book covers, in ads, etc.

    52. GrumpyPenguin*

      To be honest, I Have never met anyone who can’t read and write cursive, no matter the age. My nephew is currently learning it in his first year of school.

    53. Michigander*

      I remember being told in elementary school that we had to learn cursive because when we got to high school we’d have to write everything in cursive. But by the time we got to high school no one cared how we wrote and most people had already gotten bad at cursive. I don’t know if the elementary school teachers knew they were lying and just said it to make us learn, or if in the past you truly did need to use cursive in high school and things had just changed rapidly.

      1. GrumpyPenguin*

        That probably depends on the high school. My teachers were very adamant about using cursive. Partly they were right, cursive is smoother to write. Today I use a mixture of both styles, depending on how fast I need to write.

      2. londonedit*

        We were very much allowed to develop our own handwriting style at secondary school (UK). No one really minded whether you were using joined-up handwriting or not, as long as it was neat enough and legible enough. I feel like, from the information I’ve gathered through reading AAM for a few years, American high schools are far more strict about this sort of thing.

      3. YetAnotherAnalyst*

        When I took the GREs, circa 2002, you had to copy out the paragraph about not cheating in cursive. I think the SATs had something similar? But I think those were the only situations where I’ve ever had to use cursive, since maybe 4th grade…

        1. Michigander*

          There was something similar for the SATs. I remember because it took us all forever to get through, because most of us hadn’t used cursive in years.

        2. hello*

          yep, the SATs had that into the 2010s, not sure about now. most of us just halfassed print-with-connections. I mean, I doubt they’d care even if you did it entirely in print, but it was a bit of fun, I guess.

      4. MC*

        I’m 38 and remember being told the same in elementary school – that we needed to learn cursive because everything in high school and college would require it. Then I got to high school and it was “I don’t care how you write, just what you write, and also major assignments must be typed anyway”.

        I have not written anything in proper cursive in nearly 25 years. Print is much easier and faster for me, plus then I can actually read my own handwriting.

    54. Bryce*

      Is there such a thing as cursive-only dyslexic? I learned it and can write it but reading it takes a lot of focus to get all the lines and curves to stop moving when reading any cursive other than my own. Because of that I’ve always thought of writing notes in print as just being considerate, and this is my first exposure to so many people having no issues.

    55. Justin*

      I’m 37. I can read it and write it given, having just bought a house, I have had to sign a ton of things.

      But it is exclusively used for signatures for me and makes me wonder why it’s there for anything else.

    56. Kat*

      It probably varies a bit based on local schools, but at least where I am, you can’t assume young people know cursive.

      I’m about to turn 30- My class was the last one in my public elementary school to offically learn cursive, and even then we didn’t spend a ton of time on it because “we don’t really need it”. My mom taught me cursive so I use it, but a lot of my peers struggled to read it. And trying to get anyone younger than me to read cursive usually is a lost cause.

      On some level I agree that cursive is dying so we shouldn’t spend a ton of time teaching penmanship to children. However, I think it’s a huge mistake that we don’t at least teach children to read cursive, since it can hinder their ability to communicate with older people later on.

    57. HH*

      It’s not just young people who cannot read cursive. My husband learned English as his second language and can read and write and speak it beautifully. But reading cursive is impossible for him. I have to read hand written notes he receives when written in cursive. So it’s an exclusive way of communicating when not everyone can read it.

    58. Just Me*

      as a 30-something, I’m not sure I’m considered the younger audience or not anymore…but… my personal opinion is that neatly written cursive is no more difficult to read than print. The vast majority of the letters look the same as printing, they’re just connected. Here’s where the issue comes in though, poorly written cursive is nearly impossible to read whereas poorly written printing is generally much more readable. I know the writer says her handwriting is good, but a lot of people vastly overestimate their abilities. It’s very understandable – we usually know what we meant and we know our little quirks like for me the middle two letters might need to be flip- flopped or my ‘e’ will usually land on top of the next letter, but other people don’t have that advantage. If the writer is willing to switch to printing (for all work, not just people deemed young) it would likely be beneficial.

    59. Jay*

      I’m 48, so, not young.
      While I learned Cursive in school, I’ve always hated it, intensely.
      The day that I figured out that I didn’t have to use it as an adult (sometime in collage) was the last time I used it as an adult for anything other than signing my name. Granted, a big factor in this is that my handwriting is so bad even I can’t read it most of the time.
      At this point, Cursive is basically Calligraphy Lite. It’s archaic, difficult to do, and hard to read. But also looks nice if done correctly. It’s just not really a good choice for communicating with people.

      1. Irish Teacher.*

        I disliked it too. I liked the way I wrote and considered joined up writing to look a lot less appealing and to be a lot less legible, so for the years we were required to use it in school, I made sure to use my own writing outside school so I would maintain the habit of it. Yeah, this meant I had to maintain two writing styles for the last three or four years of primary school (and for a while, I wrote sometimes in a mix of both), but I was stubborn enough to keep it up and once I started secondary, at going-on-13, I returned to my own almost-like-typing handwriting (though I did kind of mix for a while before I completely got out of any habit of joining stuff).

        I only started joining up my signature well into my 30s.

        And back in the days when one still applied for jobs with handwritten cover letters, I had at least one interviewer ask if I’d written or typed the letter and ask if I did calligraphy because he thought my writing was pretty.

        I don’t think neat cursive is problematic for reading though. Though a lot of people really struggle to write it neatly. I’ve had some 1st years coming in to secondary where I don’t know if I should tell them to try and relearn to write without joining letters up because they can’t do it neatly. On the other hand, I know it’s asking a lot to ask them to completely change their writing style.

    60. kicking-k*

      I think it’s pretty condescending to assume young people can’t read cursive! I’m middle-aged but my grade-school-age children were taught it at school and can both write and read it so long as it isn’t scrawly. Besides, this is only a greetings card message – they can work out it probably says “Congratulations and all the best for the future!” or similar. It’s not as though you are making them decipher pages of messily handwritten notes with vital information in them.

      1. Letter Writer 4 (cursive)*

        Generally, yes. The note during a training was an urgent thing that I needed the person to do fairly immediately, though (and I didn’t want to interrupt the training by speaking out loud), so that’s not always the case.

    61. Perfectly Particular*

      My 15 year old took an interest in cursive when she was younger, so I bought her a practice book & helped her learn. She can sign her name, and read cursive just fine (maybe with the exception of Q & Z). She normally prints or types. My son is 18, took no interest in learning cursive, prints his name, and can’t always read my slightly-loopy 1/2-cursive mom-font.

      For work, my co-op students are my son’s age, but I have them take their own notes, or we use electronic communication, so it hasn’t really come up!

    62. Katie*

      My daughter can read and has read cursive as long as she could read. They are mostly the same letters just connected a bit.

    63. Falling Diphthong*

      Reading through this quite fascinating discussion, I realize that the invention of the typewriter is roughly concurrent with the expectation of universal literacy.

    64. Slinky*

      I work in archives. When we hire students, they need to be able to read cursive in historic documents, so we ask this explicitly. For 10+ years, when we ask this question, we almost invariably get a “no,” so I would not assume that young people today can read cursive. I’m not sure exactly where the cut-off is, but since we were getting this answer from college students 10 years ago, I would say this trend probably started for people born in the 1990s.

      That said, some states are beginning to teach cursive again. I don’t think it’s that important for people to know how to write cursive, but all of the United States’ founding documents were written in cursive. People need to be able to read the originals, as well as historic documents from their own families. I hope this doesn’t become a forgotten skill!

      1. YetAnotherAnalyst*

        Eh, the founding documents aren’t that bad – a nibbed pen makes cursive much more legible. I’d say the nonstandard spelling, long “s”, and archaic abbreviations are a bigger danger there . It’s the 20th century stuff written very quickly with ballpoint and questionable Palmer script that kills me.

    65. François Caron*

      I used to write cursive, THEN SWITCHED TO ALL CAPS IN HIGH SCHOOL.

      MY POST-IT NOTES ALL LOOK LIKE THIS. :)

    66. Doc McCracken*

      In my part of the US, teaching cursive is optional for public school. I send my child to a private school and they teach cursive. It depresses me in my line of work because learning cursive helps certain parts of brain development. As an adult diagnosed later in life with ADHD, linking the letters while I’m writing helps me focus more effectively.

    67. Dinwar*

      “(Also, the idea that we all used to learn basically a second font to write in is pretty fascinating.)”

      When you think about it, it’s 4 separate fonts. Upper and lower case are similar, but different enough to count as separate fonts in both cursive and print.

      As for reading it, I’ve found a lot of young people can’t. A lot of older people can’t either, once they stop routinely using it. It’s one reason we’re not allowed to use it in field books–we need to make sure anyone can read them.

    68. Jules the First*

      This has been a fascinating discussion – having grown up in Canada and taught D’Neilien cursive, it hadn’t occurred to me to wonder why my UK colleagues have such poor cursive, until I started looking at letter-learning stuff in the UK with my kid and realised y’all make your letters differently! I also find it funny that after nearly 20 years working in architecture, I can tell which school you studied at by looking at your handwriting (most older architects had to study architectural lettering at school as a hangover from when we actually had to hand letter technical drawings, and the individual schools develop a distinctive “fist” over the years), but many of my younger colleagues will struggle to tell apart the handwriting of people who went to the same school.

      (My writing, after seven years of penmanship lessons, has settled into a solidly Bastard hand, but I can still do flawless D’Neilien, Copperplate, Italic, standard print, and paintbrush hand when required)

      1. londonedit*

        It’s not ‘poor cursive’, we just don’t learn the very formal American style. Children are encouraged to develop their own handwriting style once they’ve mastered the basics.

        1. YetAnotherAnalyst*

          To be honest, I find it much more legible than the cursive we learned in the US – but some of it doesn’t even register as cursive to me.

    69. Cursivedoesnotmeanwhatithinkitmeans*

      I prefer print to cursive but am old enough to have learned cursive in grade school and even in middle/high school had required papers in cursive.

      My young children are in a Montessori school in the US and they still learn cursive first since it is easier for children to learn to keep all the letters of a word together vs writingeverythingasonelongword. There have been rumors that traditional public schools are bringing back cursive too for the same reason.

      But realistically, I can go for weeks without handwriting anything these days.

    70. YayCursive*

      I still right in cursive, although I’m old . But, my second grader goes to public school in the south (US) and he just started learning cursive. So I think it’s still around!

    71. Justme, The OG*

      This is quite frankly the last place I expected to see “Can Gen Z red cursive” discourse. But yes, some can. I’m also an Elder Millennial and can’t read some people’s handwriting.

    72. TX_TRUCKER*

      Texas reintroduced cursive as a requirement in public schools a few years ago … but they didn’t specify which type or font to use. This has led to a big marketing fight in the publishing world with different cursive curriculums. Texas and California are the largest buyers of textbooks in the USA and their decision to accept or not accept a book has huge financial implications.

      But related to the original question, I think neat cursive is easier to understand than sloppy print, even for folks who don’t normally read cursive. If your legibility is good on either, I would switch to print for all notes.

    73. Yellow*

      My 7 year old is into writing in cursive. I have no idea where she is learning this, but apparenlty some of the youth are still into it.

      That said, I write in a printing/cursive hybrid, and even I can’t read my own writing half the time.

      1. Dinwar*

        My oldest (10) is doing the same thing. He can write faster and more legibly in cursive (becuse he’s not rushing), and got special permission to do his school work in cursive. Which is wild to me–I had to get special permission to print!

    74. Andi*

      My oldest is 21 and learned cursive in school (by which I mean they spent 4 weeks doing it) – she can still recognize some letters but not all. My youngest is 18 and did not ever learn cursive, and cannot read it at all. None of their friends can read cursive either. I am frequently called on to decipher handwritten notes from people over 60-ish that they come across.

    75. Merrie*

      A few years ago we left our kids with a babysitter and they tried to make a recipe my husband has for strawberry pie. They goofed up the recipe because they all had trouble reading it — it’s written in cursive. That babysitter is about 20 now. My oldest kid is 12 and she’s never been taught cursive in school.

    76. I just work here*

      Print. Go for print. I work in health care. One day recently, I got to work and the staff (young millennials and genz) told me that we had a patient who couldn’t communicate and it was really challenging. “We gave her a white board but what she writes isn’t intelligible.” She was writing in cursive. Her handwriting was perfectly clear, they just couldn’t read it. I’m not sure where the hard line is, but most people under 30 or so don’t seem to be able to read cursive any more.

      1. djx*

        My son is a tween and quite smart. Even without being taught he can figure out cursive – I’ve seen him do it. Enough letters are similar that he can understand a paragraph in cursive. But it takes effort for him to think about it. And if you gave him just a few words, particularly proper names or a technical term he does not know, he’d have serious trouble.

    77. Hawk*

      I was born in 89 and my school system still taught me cursive through (US) fifth grade (age 10). My brother was born in 93 and school stopped teaching him somewhere between third and fourth grade (age 8 and 9). He can’t really read it. He’s also dyslexic, so that also had an impact. I can read cursive fairly well, but unfortunately my writing is poor because I was out sick a lot. I decided to teach myself more cursive at one point because I heard you score higher on the SAT writing portion if you write it in cursive. I took the test within the first three years it was offered.

      I think for OP’s situation, it depends on the region, but I’d say anyone under 30 may not be as familiar with cursive. Some still may read and write in it, though, so don’t completely discount it.

    78. Raisin Walking to the Moon*

      Tested this with three 22-year-old medical students who were raised in the US. Two learned it and never use it, and could read it. One never learned it, but could read it and said “that’s an r, right? i can figure it out from context.”
      That sparked a memory of how I learned to read cursive in kindergarten, before it was taught.
      So yeah, it’s readable if you write clearly.

      1. djx*

        “One never learned it, but could read it and said “that’s an r, right? i can figure it out from context.””

        My tween son is the same.

    79. Morning Reading*

      I attended elementary school in the 1960s and learned cursive, but I hated it and printed anything handwritten as soon as we were allowed not to use cursive. The only thing is can write well is my own signature. Usually I can read other people’s cursive although I have trouble with tiny scrawl.
      A funny story: years ago, when I was with my college boyfriend checking into a motel somewhere, for some reason we were not going to be allowed to stay in the same room unless we were married. So I had to sign the register with his last name. But I couldn’t remember how to make the first letter of his last name in cursive. It came back to me (maybe I copied his) but I held the pen and wrote that name like a third-grader, very slowly, probably with my tongue stuck out sideways.
      (It started with an S and had a G on the end. Tricky!)

    80. Kesnit*

      Late 40s here…

      I was taught cursive about age 8 or 9 and required to use it until 9th grade (age 13). My cursive is UNREADABLE. When I started high school, I switched back to printing. (1) It cab be read. (2) It’s a lot faster for me than trying to make my cursive readable.

      When I went to college, we were told to write in all-caps because it is easier to read. (Engineering major). I’ve been writing in all-caps for about 30 years now.

      In 2007, I took the Law School Admission Test. At that time, we were required to write an oath in cursive on our answer sheet, stating we weren’t cheating on the test. I wrote it out, but realized that I could not remember how to make some of the letters, so just kind of made vague shapes that I thought were right. When I took the LSAT again in 2008 (twice), that cursive pledge was gone.

      1. djx*

        ” we were told to write in all-caps because it is easier to read. ”

        LOL. Some stuff, particularly short stuff, is *maybe* easier to read in all caps. But extended text in all caps? That’s exhausting. The letters look even more similar to each other than lower case, and without mixed case its’ even harder to know when sentences start.

        All caps might seems easier to read in some cases because some people write it more carefully. But writing at the same speed/level of care, for someone trained in both? No way.

        1. Polyhymnia O’Keefe*

          My dad (and my grandma, for as long as I ever knew her handwriting, which is kind of interesting for a woman who was educated in the ’40s) writes in all caps, but mixed sizes. The beginning of a sentence is a slightly bigger capital letter. Maybe not quite the same size difference as an upper-case to lower-case letter, but enough that you can see where a new sentence begins.

          When I was experimenting with my own handwriting and trying to decide what it would look like, that was a phase I went through. It didn’t last particularly long.

    81. Jamie*

      I’m a professor and I stopped leaving cursive comments in 2016 or so, because of student feedback that they couldn’t read them. I would have thought they were outliers, except that one of my own kids (whom I know to be smart and willing to try hard things) said he couldn’t read a cursive letter I sent him at camp.

    82. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

      My young 20-somethings either can’t read cursive at all or have a hard time with it.

    83. sb51*

      Data point: I see fairly regular queries on the “Old Recipes” reddit for people asking for a translation of their grandmother’s cursive — while lots of younger people can read it (and are often the ones translating), it’s not universal any more. (Also some of the abbreviations have fallen out of favor — ditto marks (look like double quotes) to mean “same as previous line” is evidently rare enough these days to confuse people. Which doesn’t matter for a card but might for other work product.)

    84. Bookworm81*

      We were literally just talking about this last night because there was a cursive Z on some packaging and it threw my 15 year old for a loop. The 15 and the 12 year old both said they can almost always read cursive even though they can’t write.

    85. Ex-prof*

      In 2016 I was working on a book and there were a few places where I asked to use a cursive font. The editor mentioned that her high-school-aged children could not read cursive. They’d be in their early to mid 20s now.

      I think in the US, if anything it’s still being taught in more rural, traditional schools where old curricula tend to hang around longer.

      1. Ex-prof*

        As an addendum: I write in a mix of cursive and print. I suspect no one can read my notes. I often can’t read them myself.

    86. Mim*

      I’m in my late 40s, learned cursive in school, can write in cursive, and have always had a heck of a time reading anyone else’s cursive writing unless it was cartoonishly like the model letter shape they taught us to write in 1985. And basically nobody writes like that, because that’s not how handwriting works.

      Cursive is especially for people who have dyslexia or any other visual process issues. And even though kids are still taught cursive in schools (I have kid young enough to know that they learn cursive in our district), it’s so seldomly used in most situations that kids and younger folks probably won’t have had much practice reading it since they learned it in school.

      Cursive was invented/adapted because it made it easier to write with a quill. As a person who has been learning calligraphy and often writes with fountain pens or even dip pens (when at home — easier to switch inks on a whim!), even I think that it’s outdated and that we shouldn’t expect it to be used in day to day communication. I think that most folks would be able to decode it if needed (and written neatly, not too stylized) in a greeting card or something, but it’s literally harder to read, and the fact that we live in a world where most people rarely if never see it should not be a judgment on those peoples’ inability to read it easily. Personally, my actual calligraphy skills are sub-elementary at best (I do it for fun), and my cursive feels a bit stilted and childish looking because I haven’t used it regularly since the 90’s. So even on greeting cards I print, except sometimes for my name.

    87. JK!*

      I remember proudly deciphering people’s cursive writing (the style with the loops, etc, not just “joined-up”) in first grade, so it should be possible for someone to read a short amount of neat writing whether they learned to write it in school or not.

      1. djx*

        Yeah. Actually the longer the text the easier it is to decipher since context will help. Whereas a word like “Jer” might be very hard or impossible since all the letters are different from print.

    88. WishIWasMakingThisUp*

      In about 2017 or thereabouts, I was wearing a shirt in which said “F*** Trump” in cursive, and a very earnest lady came up to me in a store and said it was so great of me to wear that “to show support” and “there’s so many of us that are afraid to say we support him.” Speechless.

    89. Dek*

      I’m old enough that I learned cursive growing up, but I *hated* it, and…kinda still do?

      It was significantly harder for me to write neatly in cursive. And I’ll be honest, I think most people who *think* they have good handwriting in cursive really don’t. A lot of the letters are *very* similar, and because of the way they’re joined it can often make them difficult to parse. I’ve had to sort through old letters in our archives, and it’s always frustrating when I get to one that’s just…so many loops and squiggles.

      It kind of frustrates me when folks bemoan the loss of cursive as a common method of writing, because I think it was never all that great in the first place.

      THAT said…I think writing cursive on a card should be fine, especially if you take the time to make sure it’s crisp and legible.

      1. Dek*

        Addendum — I once got in so much trouble for using a lowercase cursive k. The label I was making needed a lowercase k, and I kept getting it back being told to fix it, and my boss seemed to think I was being obstinate on purpose or something when I’d send it back having made sure the stem, or whatever you call it, was long enough to be distinguishable from a capital r, because to them I was just writing an R over and over again, meanwhile I was just about near tears because I legit did not understand what the problem was and boss was getting more and more upset with me. Because I’d used the cursive k before and it had been fine.

        So…I kinda have that against cursive too. Too easy to confuse letters.

    90. CS*

      I’m 38. My cursive is much nicer than my printing. Maybe it’s the ADHD and the fact my brain spins a million miles a minute and connecting the letters is quicker for me? When did they stop teaching cursive in public schools? I heard some schools here (Canada) who stopped teaching are starting to again.

    91. Runcible Wintergreen*

      I’m a late 20s Millenial, and I say… write in whatever way is natural, and let young people figure it out. In my early days of working, one of the biggest things I had to learn is that you don’t need to tell people how you think they should be doing things, even if you think there’s a better way. It’s important to learn how to compromise with other people’s working styles, just as Boomers and Gen Xers have learned how to use new technology that has emerged in the last few decades. People over the age of 40 are going to be in the workforce for years so these generational differences will continue to exist. Learning cursive to read a birthday card is a very low stakes way to start learning how to adapt.

    92. Tradd*

      My handwriting is large and loopy, both cursive and print. I do not adjust what I write for anyone. If you want to be able to read something from me, you give me the ability to type it. I can’t tell how many organizations/medical places give out forms you have to fill out by hand, with tiny fields for the info. Give me forms to fill out online ahead of time. I’ve had places that bellyaches about not being able to read my handwriting. I told them they need to give the ability to type into forms and send them online some way or print them out. I’ve gotten very good with filing out forms on my iPad and then signing them with a stylus and emailing them. Or printing out as needed. The iPad will often allow you to type into fields that aren’t writeable PDFs.

    93. Prorata*

      I will write in cursive until they pry my pen from my cold, dead, fingers. :-)

      And to be honest, my writing, be it cursive or print, is nearly illegible – part of why they had me learn to type (on a 30 year old manual typewriter) in seventh grade. And why I seldom use handwritten notes in the business environment.

      1. Tradd*

        Yep, manual typewriter in the early 80s. It was so sticky that I still pound on keyboards to this day. Can’t break myself of the habit! LOL

        1. Prorata*

          Late 1940’s vintage Royal my parents found at a yard sale….had to repair the link from a key to the corresponding type bar….amazing what you can do with a large paperclip…..still have it, and occasionally run a page to two through it for old times sake.

          And used to beat up keyboards as a result of learning on a manual……took years to finally lighten up!!

          1. Tradd*

            That’s neat! I love old typewriters and had a vintage 60s one for a while about 10 years ago but it aggravated my hand issues, so I gave it away. People were fascinated by getting typed letters! I still handwrite letters.

          2. I Have RBF*

            I still haven’t learned to lighten up on a keyboard. I learned to type on a manual typewriter in the 70s, typed all of my term papers on a cranky portable through the 80s. Never had an electric typewriter. I regularly wear the letters off of keyboards, even the older mechanicals. My daily driver is a mechanical that is backlit and can stand my pounding.

    94. YoungDuffer*

      I’m right on the cusp of Gen Z/Millennial, and I was taught cursive and can still read it. I can take notes in cursive a lot faster than printing, and everyone I work with can read and write in it.

    95. violinosaur*

      I’m in my 20s and write in cursive (it’s faster and prettier!), and, my students (4-18) can all read it just fine. It’s a bit off-putting seeing comments that people might change their handwriting based on my age, almost like they’re perceiving inferior intelligence. Perhaps important to note I’m Australian, so different edu system

    96. MCMonkeyBean*

      I’m not exactly young but honestly I think writing in cursive has been generally out of touch for a very very long time because, as Alison said, bad or messy cursive is hard to read for everyone and a lot of people have bad or messy handwriting.

      I remember when I learned cursive in elementary school they were like “in middle school they won’t even accept your assignments if they’re not in cursive!” Then in middle school the teachers were all like “please, please, please do NOT write in cursive!”

    97. queen b*

      my cousin, who is … 18 I believe cannot read cursive (I’m 30) so I’m not sure what the cut off is! I think my cousins who are 22-24 CAN still read it so maybe you’re still fine?

    98. I'm A Little Teapot*

      Write in whatever way you prefer as long as it is neat and legible. Be willing and pleasant about translating your handwriting for people, regardless of how you write.

      I write this as someone who definitely struggles reading cursive, but I also struggle reading messy printed writing.

    99. MistOrMister*

      It is fascinating to me how everyone has such different experiences with cursive.

      At 41, I write with a mashup of print and cursive. I tend to start with print then get tired of the efforr and change to cursive because it is faster for me to write. But it can be a bastardized, chicken scratch-ish
      version, for sure.

      I think I would just write however I am used to when writing to younger colleagues unless I know for a fact that someone can’t read cursive. I think at this point we can’t assume anyone does or doesn’t know it based on their age. The main focus should be on legibility. I can read cursive just fine in most cases but many people have such bad handwriting that I can’t make out what they’re saying and I think that causes a lot of issues. In my experience, when someone has bad handwriting, it is much harder to read in cursive versus print so that might be playing into this issue as well.

    100. Zephy*

      I also default to cursive-or-mostly-cursive when writing. I was an algebra instructor for 9th graders in 2013-14. I wrote “good job!” on a student’s paper – all of those letters look more or less like the print version, especially the way I write them, and the girl stared at her paper and then looked up at me and said “miss, I can’t read this.” It is possible that she had difficulty reading in general, but the immediate response to seeing some loopy-swoopy letters was “I can’t read this.”

      1. LWH*

        I learned cursive but I couldn’t read the cursive most of my teacher’s wrote either. It was just messy handwriting!

    101. High School Teacher, Texas*

      I’ve noticed since 2015, the number of kids who can read and write cursive has dropped. I no longer do board notes in cursive.

    102. I'm just here for the cats!*

      I think OP could do a mix. Like write Farewell in cursive, and then if there was any meaningful message they wanted to say, put that in print.

    103. Miss Pickles the cat*

      where I work, gel pens are strictly forbidden. black or blue ball point pens only. I tend to print most of the time when I am writing, although I never really thought about it being because I need to use ball point pens. My printing is slightly more readable than my cursive, which starts out ok and then devolves into terrible very shortly.

        1. Spring*

          Oh! Now I understand – gel pens, like normal pens, but the ink is gel instead of whatever ballpoint ink is made out of. When I saw “gel,” I thought of the sparkly, glow in the dark pens (which are so much fun, but def not for work documents).

        2. Phony Genius*

          Ink from gel pens is easier to remove from paper if you want to commit fraud.

          1. Missa Brevis*

            Wait, what? I’m pretty sure it’s the other way around. Ballpoint ink is less likely to penetrate the paper and is more likely to be soluble in alcohol or acetone than most gel inks, which makes it easier to lift.

            1. Phony Genius*

              I heard it’s because you don’t have to press down as hard with a gel pen, so there’s no indentation in the paper. The indentation not matching what is written would be evidence of funny business.

    104. PottedPlantEnthusiast*

      I (28) learned cursive and can read it just fine; my sibling (25) learned to read it. In the environment I grew up in, most kids would have seen cursive, written by a relative or peer. However, I doubt that’s everyone’s experience so err on the side of printing, myself.

    105. JLG*

      I’m 28 and I learned cursive in the 3rd grade. Have never used it since with the exception of one semester employed cataloging letters in a college archive. My little brother is 25, and never learned it in school. I think print all around would be safer for the work place if you have a range of ages and the goal is to be understood by everyone.

    106. fhqwhgads*

      I think it may be googlable what decade cursive stopped being a thing in most US schools, and thus you could figure out the cutoff that way. As it is, my first reaction reading the question is “wait how young is “younger”? how old is “older”?”

      1. footiepjs*

        Sure, if you want to google dozens of times if you don’t know which state the person is from.

    107. Hey Ms!*

      I teach high school, and I don’t use cursive. They can barely read/write printed handwriting! They’re typers (/texters).

      But for my more curious students, they like to learn cursive because, according to them, it’s like a secret code. They want know what their parents are writing!

      Or they want to be able to sign their name like a star.

      It’s one of those things were as I grow older (almost 40), I appreciate knowing how to do because I just like knowing and learning stuff. It’s like learning to play the piano: it’s not mandatory for anyone or everyone, but it’s a cool skill to have and it can be used for really amazing things. It’s an artform mixed with a communication need.

      Don’t lose it, but you don’t have to use it.

    108. CaptainMeg*

      Honestly, the cursive is going to depend on the individual. I relearned cursive as an adult because I work with a lot of dyslexic students and they’re taught cursive in their intervention classes. Plus a group of them were blunt and said they couldn’t read my handwriting so cursive became part of my homemade curriculum for my handwriting.

      Some states have brought cursive back into the curriculum, but a lot of times it is safer to go with print especially if you are unsure they can read cursive.

    109. Ms. Elaneous*

      Special skills
      I am impressed that the USPS gets mail to me that is addressed by hand in unusual++ handwriting.

      I once offered to rewrite some exam notes I made in a hurry — The Department Head reminded me that she was a nurse, after all.

      Pharmacists also.

      Appreciate all you guys! ✒

    110. LWH*

      I learned cursive in school. Hated it, no interest in it still being taught. Cursive isn’t a font you study and memorize, it is meant to be a much more natural form of shorthand. Most people develop their own natural shorthand without forcing them into the cursive font box. It’s also miserable for left handers (like me, there is NOTHING natural about writing cursive as a left hander, push vs pull matters a lot in handwriting) and is from a time when ink flowed, these letters aren’t nice with a ballpoint pen or pencil. Historical documents don’t resemble cursive written in middle schools so I don’t buy that angle for teaching it anyway. I think people are enamored with the idea of cursive without actually asking why it exists, what has changed in the way we write over time, etc. We should in fact be asking why.

      Soapboxing aside, as someone who DID learn it? I find most other people’s cursive to be unreadable. The thing about it being a form of shorthand means that it tends to be sloppy for most people. And frankly most people aren’t going to dedicate more than half a cycle of brain processing power to reading the note on a greeting card anyway. They’re just going to say thank you and move on.

      1. Jackalope*

        It’s possible that some people are not thinking it through when they say they want cursive to make a comeback, but given that this thread has hundreds of posts and many of them are people explaining WHY they want cursive to keep being taught, I don’t think that’s a problem in this particular conversation.

        I will say as a fellow lefty that I still find cursive easier than print for the most part. I use both on the regular, but being able to link all of the letters rather than pick my pen up each time I move from one letter to the next is faster for me. I can totally see how it could be different for other people, but if I could I’d use cursive pretty much all the time. (I have to fill out lots of forms on the regular and those don’t work as well with cursive most of the time, so have to use both.)

    111. Katrine Fonsmark*

      Ok probably a silly question, but if kids aren’t learning cursive anymore, how do they learn to sign their names? I mean, you can’t print your signature right? A lot of official documents actually ask you to print AND sign.

      1. Hey Ms!*

        I’ve found that if they learn cursive, it is so that they can sign their name. Most can do some variation of that, or write so that their name looks a little fancy.

      2. Crooked Bird*

        I sign my name by writing it in the fastest, most flowing version of my natural (printed) handwriting, and print it by carefully printing each letter making sure you can really tell the u’s from the n’s (not a given, and my name has several.) The 2 look quite different, and no-one’s ever complained.

    112. Buni*

      I teach in UK state school, ages 7 – 11, and we are definitely still teaching / expecting joined up writing – NOT Cursive, which I would say is a specific ‘font’ of joined-up, but defo joined-up. I was in Secondary / High school in the late 80s – mid 90s and we were ONLY allowed to use fountain pens, so if you hadn’t mastered good handwriting by then you were screwed.

      I wish we could have a little free-upload gallery here so everyone could post their handwriting, I’m fascinated!

      1. londonedit*

        Yep, I said further up but my nephew is in reception and he’s learning to write letters with all the tails that they’ll later use for joined-up handwriting. It’s not formal cursive, though – that isn’t taught and wasn’t taught when I was at school 35+ years ago either. It was the same when I was at secondary school – you had to use a fountain pen, and you were expected to write neatly. Though there was no set handwriting style that you had to use – it just had to be neat and legible. Most people used joined-up writing but mine became a mix of the two, whatever was quicker to write. I’ve never done an exam or an essay or any sort of not-specifically-handwriting-related school work where handwriting mattered as long as it was legible and not a mess.

        1. Buni*

          Yep this; no one set handwriting style, just has to be neat, legible to all and joined-up.

    113. a raging ball of distinction*

      I hadn’t taken tales of The Death Of Cursive particularly seriously until my 13 YO stepkid told me proudly “I can read cursive.” I was surprised that she talked about that as an unusual or noteworthy skill, and that’s what made me take The Death Of Cursive seriously. My other two stepkids I now write notes to using block print (my standard non-cursivey option)
      Mostly I feel bad for The Youngs because writing in cursive (or more accurately the sort of half-cursive most of us end up adopting) is just so much easier and faster!
      FWIW, I graduated high school in 2001. My elementary school had *professional cursive specialists* come in once (twice?) a week to teach us cursive in the third grade. Anyone else wonder what happened to the Reinhart Method?!

    114. I've Escaped Cubicle Land*

      I used to teach Pre K and we taught the D`nealian handwriting so it would be easier for them to learn cursive later. All the local elementary schools used it at the time too. My own kids (now hitting their 30’s were taught it in schools. In the work place things tend to be via Teams, emails, or PDF so pretty much print but for a hand written note I wouldn’t say cursive is unusual. Depends on the length of the note. Longer notes are faster to write in cursive and shorter notes tend to be more likely in print. As someone who worked in education I hope they keep teaching it if for nothing else so today’s kids can read historic documents themselves.

    115. FuzzFrogs*

      I use cursive as my default, but I’m aware it’s dying, so here’s my etiquette:

      –cursive for personal notes/to-dos.
      –print for any written messages for others, EXCEPT
      –cards for significant occasions.

      I will say about the card thing: when I’m actually writing out a substantial message, I do tend to switch to print. But if it’s just “Congrats! We’ll be thinking of you,” it’s gonna go in cursive. I feel like, especially on group cards, your effort is more important than your words.

    116. WantonSeedStitch*

      On a going-away card that’s being signed by lots of people, it’s often necessary to write fairly small. When you’re reading small writing, print is usually more legible even to people who can read cursive just fine. I would worry less about a handwritten note that’s written in normal-sized handwriting, but even then, as many people have noted, personal idiosyncrasies in writing style can make it more of an effort to parse cursive even for those who grew up using and reading it unless you have a Very Standardized Style with no flourishes or quirks. Whenever I’m trying to communicate with someone at work using hand-written notes, especially for the first time, I’ll say, “let me know if you have trouble deciphering my handwriting”–an acknowledgement that it might not always be the neatest or that even if it is, it may be hard to process.

    117. shamwow*

      I’m old enough that I did learn cursive, and I have never been able to read it. There’s just too much variation in how people write it (I think the speed it allows means people are prone to blurring letters together) and it’s almost never as neat as people think it is ime. I have letters my grandmother wrote to her friend, and she had 1950s English teacher cursive – the neatest it can possibly be, and I still struggle. Maybe it’s because I don’t see it every day, maybe it’s the touch of dyslexia I have that makes me more reliant on serif fonts with standard spacing, who knows.

    118. daffodil*

      I think the easy answer to OP’s question is to just ask the colleagues in question! it’s less a matter of “can zoomers read cursive” than “can my young colleagues read my cursive writing” and that’s a question for them!

    119. Blackbeard*

      The thought that younger generations could be unable to read or write cursive is pretty depressing.

      What’s next? Needing a calculator to compute 2+2?

      OP#4, please keep writing in cursive :)

      1. LWH*

        Do you think the average American knows how to use an abacus? Is it a good skill? Sure, and some countries still teach it even. Is it a tragedy if someone doesn’t know it? No, it’s really not that necessary. Cursive to me is more like calligraphy, it’s nice if you learn to do it but it’s not something I’d weep about the young people not knowing.

    120. Lazuli Rose*

      My oldest son’s (30) class* did not learn cursive writing. They didn’t teach it in school. I tired to teach it to him, but it was for naught because they didn’t use it at all so he ended up printing everything. Even his signature is just printed letters. He can read cursive if it’s neat cursive, but if it gets loopy and fancy he can’t. It hasn’t caused any issues as far as I know.

      *Several grades of grades where not taught cursive in our district for some reason. My youngest son (27), was taught cursive but he writes in print as well, but signs his name in cursive.

    121. SuprisinglyADHD*

      I can say that despite learning cursive from 3rd to 12th grade, I can barely read it; even neat cursive is difficult because the loops and swirls make it hard for me to tell N from M or F from L. Also, in college my professors all specifically said not to hand in anything written in cursive for the same reason. Even neat cursive is far from standardized, I basically have to learn all over again for each person.
      To note: I don’t have dyslexia, and I’m an extremely fast reader normally, but with cursive fonts, including printed computer fonts, I might as well be illiterate, even with 8 years of training and another 15 of practice since.
      However, if the notes are short and your penmanship is great, I don’t think you have to change. A few lines isn’t a huge hardship, and I’m sure that like most people, changing your handwriting will require a lot of effort. Honestly, I print when I write for more than a couple of sentences I try to type it, my penmanship deteriorates rapidly from my hands getting fatigued.

    122. CeeDoo*

      The more we integrate technology into classrooms, the less practice students get with handwriting of any type. They type, they click, they use a handheld controller. They lose the fine motor control it takes to write neatly and their handwriting looks like a 7 year old even when they are in high school. It’s not their fault. They just click or type far more than they actually write.

    123. Bird Lady*

      I agree with the comments about legibility of the writing, whether its cursive or print. I’ve seen very sloppy handwriting for both fonts that make the content impossible to read. So, not to sound like a grade school teacher, but yes, neatness counts!!

      I’m 42, so cusp Gen-X/ Millennial, and we had to write our cursive letters in those black and white composition books until we got to middle school (6th grade for me). My cursive is excellent, and I’ve been asked to write notes for people. I think partially this is because I was big into calligraphy in my late teens and early twenties. How we write things is as nearly as important as the things we write, at least in my opinion.

      My own “every day” handwriting is a mix of print and cursive. For example, I refuse to write a cursive “f” but my “l” will have a small loop rather than being a straight line. It’s easier to write this way, especially if note taking in a meeting, and it’s obvious what the letter is in context to the rest of the letters in the word. So if the tail of my “g” connects to another letter, people still know what the word is.

    124. kupo*

      I’m 45 and wasn’t taught cursive (they taught us italics instead which was a pointless waste of time). I had to teach myself to read cursive and still have trouble reading it.

    125. Seven If You Count Bad John*

      So I guess my issue with the cursive question is, the OP wrote these notes to their employees, and the employees didn’t question it or come back saying “I can’t read this”. This is a non-problem! If the person can’t read your memo and they don’t *tell* you that, then the problem isn’t the cursive, it’s that your employee didn’t communicate the issue. I deal all day long with paperwork that’s turned in from technicians and when I can’t read or interpret what’s there (“dude is this an S or a 5?) I ASK.

      For a data point, I was taught cursive and use it extensively, have reasonably nice handwriting when I care to/am using good writing instruments/ not in a hurry. But my regular writing tends to be a mix and sometimes it is unreadable except to myself. So my feelings aren’t hurt if someone comes by my desk and says “what does this mean?”

    126. Dread Gazebo*

      I’m 29 and learned cursive at a K-8 Catholic school. I can still read it largely because it made getting a history degree slightly easier, but my own cursive handwriting has always been atrocious enough to give a nun an aneurysm, so I spare us all its use. I think if your cursive is neat, most people will at least be able to parse the gist of it whether or not they learned to write cursive. If your cursive isn’t neat, your mileage will probably vary wildly.

    127. Sabrina*

      I’m 43 and can’t read cursive, but that’s because my teacher in the 3/4 grades went rouge and refused to teach it. In school I only had one teacher the wrote in it as well, so since the issue was never forced I didn’t learn it. It’s so pretty, but the skill has been lost to me.

    128. Ineffable Bastard*

      I write cursive by default (I’m South American) and people there always found my handwriting ugly. Readable, nothing wrong, just ugly. I have mobility issues, so it might explain why it barely improved despite many calligraphy lessons and working with things that demand handwriting.

      Then I moved to Canada and went to college with much younger people. They think my penmanship is amazing, neat, fancy. Only one student out of 60 could not read it, and this one could not read any kind of cursive. My professors were also okay with my cursive in exams.

      I wish I could write faster or better in print, but my print letters are wobbly, irregular, and really slow to write. My Canadian colleagues have wonderful print handwriting.

    129. Media Monkey*

      UK person here. can i confirm that what is called “cursive” in the US is what i would call “joined up writing/ handwriting”? not some calligraphic/ specerian hand? can confirm i don’t know any uk school that doesn’t teach “joined up writing” – my 15 year old uses/ reads/ writes it. i don’t have the tidiest writng, epseiclaly if i’m writing quickly but i’ve never had someone have an issue with reading it!

      1. Cubefarmer*

        US school systems have stopped teaching it. In some ways, I get it, because we’re typing almost everything now anyway, and the amount of time focusing on simple penmanship was slightly exorbitant.

      2. sb51*

        Spencerian is an older style but I as an American absolutely mean a flourishy looping script by “cursive”. My mom and previous generations use various versions for just about anything; my dad and I have very similar print styles with occasional joined letters.

        I think the definition is definitely part of the confusion, especially since I was taught to go formal to the utmost on things like cards. It’s the difference between people lazily not lifting the pen a lot and people like me erasing furiously (or carefully trying to “fix” in pen) when we accidentally add the wrong number of loops vs points on a word like “little” which is basically six vertical lines/loops in a row before you go back and dot/cross some of them. We got marked down for the slightest deviation from the standard in cursive lessons, although since I was on the cusp of change by middle/high school teachers weren’t nitpicking our style and most allowed printing. (We were also explicitly taught touch-typing, which has apparently also fallen by the wayside and I think is more of a loss.)

    130. Cubefarmer*

      This comment will likely get lost, but…

      I went back to school last year as an older student, and was in class with a bunch of 20-somethings. I would occasionally share my (handwritten) notes (I actually hated this class and prof, so in solidarity to anyone who missed this awful class, I shared my notes.) I always asked if a recipient had a problem reading my (neat) cursive handwriting and nobody said that they did. So, I think younger generations can read it, even if they themselves don’t use it.

    131. Beth*

      I think print is the way to go–not because of age, but because of general readability. I think most people can read cursive when it’s by-the-books. If it’s really neatly, consistently, and precisely written, it’s not that hard to parse.

      But most people’s cursive isn’t that! Most people have adopted a variation on a letter or three, rushed a word here or there, squeezed a word that they thought would fit on this line, made stylistic choices that might be beautiful but aren’t quite as readable, etc. If we all read cursive all the time, maybe we’d be used to it enough to parse all of this. But we don’t; most of us learned as kids but don’t see it often as adults, and some of us (especially young people and people whose first language uses a different writing system) may have never formally learned it. Being beautiful isn’t the same thing as being readable, and readable is the priority.

      1. LWH*

        “If we all read cursive all the time, maybe we’d be used to it enough to parse all of this. ”

        This is pretty true, I’ve learned Japanese as a second language and I really struggle with kanji written in any kind of super stylized way. Native readers would have no problem but to me it changes the characters too much for my brain to make the connection. The more you see a style of writing the more you can read it when it deviates from the norm.

    132. Procedure Publisher*

      I find my cursive writing to be more readable compared to my print handwriting. If I write something in cursive today, I’m more likely to be able to read it down the road if I had wrote it in print.

    133. Lctrombone*

      I had to learn cursive I’m school (I’m 27),but my younger sibling (25 y/o) didn’t. I think many people in their 20s never formally learned to write in cursive. It’s probably a toss up if your coworker can read it or not.

    134. MrsPookie*

      My son is 27. He can ‘kinda’ (his words) read cursive. So there’s that…..

      1. Jenzee*

        My young adult kids can’t read cursive. It surprised me, too, because I thought that even if you can’t write it, it doesn’t look that different.

        FWIW, I’m 52 and can’t write in cursive anymore myself.

        1. kupo*

          To me it looks *very* different and takes at least 10x as long to read. I’m 45 and my elementary school did not teach cursive.

    135. Janine*

      Question–does anyone have recommendations for training materials etc in teaching people who do not know how to read cursive to do so? At my organization there is a genuine need for all staff to be able to read cursive because we work with older community members who still use it as well as historical documents. Our latest hire is mid-twenties and can read cursive (we do ask in interviews) but I anticipate it will start coming up. I learned to read it by being taught to write it in school, so I’m not sure how to go about training staff in the workplace–from the comments here it sounds like some people can teach themselves, but others need more support.

      1. Too Many Tabs Open*

        I don’t know of specific materials, but if you have a decent university history department near you, you might contact them and ask to talk with whoever teaches paleography (the reading of old handwriting and manuscripts).

      2. glouby*

        I was taught cursive but still struggle to read many historical documents, because there is no one way to write and spell that humans have adhered to across time and space, even in the same language. Paleography is the way!

    136. IWriteHowIWrite*

      Maybe I’m being unreasonable, but my handwriting is a cross between printed and cursive. I don’t use the formal cursive capital letters and tend to have breaks in words as they are mingled between printed and cursive.

      I’m not relearning how to write because someone can’t read the occasional thing that isn’t typed out or in an email. #sorrynotsorry but them having to work a bit to figure out what it says is nowhere near the work of me having to relearn how I write.

    137. Chick-n-Boots*

      Yeah, I think cursive is finally going the way of the dinosaur. As Alison noted, it is kinda weird that we were all required to learn a second “font” for writing for so many years! I write in kind of a hybrid myself but it’s probably more print than cursive at this point and it’s fairly legible. Most of my correspondence with colleagues and interns is typed anyway so I’m really the only person that needs to be able to read my handwriting on the reg.

      My brother, however, works in a field where they have a lot of seasonal help so they employ a lot of teens and college age youth in the spring and summer. He’s been amused on more than one occasion by a young person who works with him being kind of baffled by his handwriting – one recent teen hadn’t ever seen cursive and thought he was writing in another language! It’s just so antiquated now to handwrite and to use cursive and yes, I do think the younger the generation, the less likely they will be to be able to read it. If you like it for your notes to yourself, go for it. But if these notes need to be read by others, I think defaulting to print is the safer bet, regardless of how old or young your audience is.

    138. Claire*

      I write in something pretty close to d’nealian cursive because I re-taught myself handwriting in 8th grade (early 90s) due to frustration with my awful penmanship. My kids (18, 15, 13) are mostly used to reading my handwriting and can decipher cursive, but I have to be pretty deliberate about how I form letters. More formal/older cursive with a stronger slant and thinner letters is a complete mystery to them. Interestingly, my oldest is dysgraphic and has handwriting on roughly the level of a kindergartner in English, but he’s been taking Arabic as his high school language for 3 years, which uses cursive as the default. I know absolutely no Arabic, but even I can tell that his penmanship in Arabic is pretty damn good. I suspect it’s because he has to write slower since he has to think more about the vocabulary/sounds/phonics, but it gives me hope there’s possibility of improvement in his English handwriting!

    139. CursiveDinoasaur*

      I have 3 nephews who are all teenagers and not one of them can read cursive. They say it’s like looking at a foreign language, they can’t recognize letters or words. It’s sad we’re losing this as a cultural touchstone.

    140. MiddleAgedMillennial*

      I was one of the last classes of students taught cursive in school (my younger sister wasn’t taught a few years later). I have a hard time reading cursive, but it really depends on the handwriting! Historical letters/documents that I had to study in college? Nearly illegible. My parent’s letters home when they were in college? Easy. It takes me longer to read and write cursive, but I’m just not used to using it on a regular basis. I would say keep using the cursive, especially since it doesn’t sound like the younger report has complained about about the writer’s handwriting being illegible.

    141. Clisby*

      I’m way past the bloom of my youth, but I guess my 27-year-old and 22-year-old give me some insight. Yes, they can read cursive just fine – they were required to learn cursive, and use it, when they attended (public) school. Not sure what’s going on with younger ones.

    142. Wobbegong*

      I’m a younger person (24) in the workforce who can read and write well in cursive, and I think that at least learning to read cursive is a basic and relatively easy communication skill everyone should be sure to learn since it’s still so common to encounter. On the other side of the same effective communication coin, making the switch to writing in print seems practical as cursive proficiency seems to have started to dip. I guess my philosophy is to try our best to effectively communicate with one another whichever side of the font divide you fall on!

    143. Anon for this*

      I (34) still remember the day when I went to take the SAT, and for the written portion of the exam the proctor of the test had to handwrite the cursive alphabet on the board because it had to be in cursive and half the room didn’t know how to write in cursive.

      It can only have gotten worse since then. Which is sad, because cursive writing is so pretty, but printed letters take less time.

    144. Kyrielle*

      I might go with print to be safe. I have two kids – neither old enough for college yet – who can read cursive, but they picked up that skill in self-defense because I write in (sloppy, sorry) cursive still. Some of their peers have parents who are enough younger than me that they (the parents) weren’t taught cursive in school either, and without someone in their life using it, where would they pick it up? (I use it because it’s faster for me than printing.)

    145. Wanda Moosejaw*

      I’m on team cursive — bad/illegible handwriting happens in print too!

      As an aside, I received one of those “do you want to sell your house? I have a buyer” letters from two realtors earlier this week — one signed their name in cursive, the other in bubble print that looked like a 7th grader wrote it. My immediate gut reaction to that was…not favorable. Makes me immediately think of them as too young/immature, which I realize is not fair, but there you go!

    146. Sigrid says hey*

      I found out that schools weren’t teaching/using cursive any more when my godson handed the card I gave him for his high-school graduation to his mom and asked her to read it to him. I was gobsmacked.
      He told me he’d done a “unit” on cursive in grade three, but had never been required to use it outside of those two weeks.

    147. leon*

      I’m 23 and I can read cursive. Most people in my generation/that I know can read cursive if it is legible. As other commenters pointed out, legibility is key over font for us. If OP is getting comments on legibility and niceness it’s probably fine, better than the illegible print some people have. Gen X’s mixed cursive is easier. Some people struggle to read the super super loopy Baby Boomer cursive. I would always default to very careful print for notes around the office when I was an intern. We also had a lot of people from different cultures with different first languages. I also learned from a friend that cursive actually helps some people with dyslexia! I genuinely believe that cursive reading is not as much of an age thing as people believe. Forgive me for saying, I have felt as though older adults have almost a weird hangup on being the Ones To Know It, when in my experience everyone is pretty mixed on exposure.

    148. Dr. Vibrissae*

      It’s interesting to see these perspectives (related question: did anyone have to learn D’Nealian writing? I didn’t, but we moved and my younger sister did)

      I tend to travel back and forth between print and cursive, although most people find my handwriting legible. My spouse’s handwriting is nearly illegible, even to himself in any form. Having spent a good deal of time trying to decipher hand written histories and notes from other llama specialists (which often include non-standard abbreviations and various groomer specialty shorthands and acronyms) I have something of a knack in reading any handwriting I come across. Interestingly, my daughter’s school does not teach cursive, but she is fascinated by it and really wants to learn, so we’ve been practicing more. But penmanship in print or cursive is not much of a focus these days.

      1. D'Arcy*

        I had to learn D’Nealian, because I was home schooled by a parent who grew up in a foreign Catholic convent school and thus felt cursive penmanship was a matter of course.

    149. JFC*

      The younger generation has grown up with apps and devices that have different types of creative fonts, which they can read. I don’t see cursive being any different when you think of it like a font. If it’s clear and legible, I think they can read it. If it’s a mess, then I doubt people of any age would be able to read it well.

      I’m 41, so right at the cusp where I do remember learning how to write cursive in elementary school. It’s never been my strong suit. The capital letters in particular always were a problem for me. I think I was in high school or college when I started writing in print exclusively and never looked back. The only time I do cursive now is when I have to sign my name, and even that is more of a scrawl with semi-legible capital letters for my first and last names.

      1. LWH*

        “If it’s clear and legible, I think they can read it. If it’s a mess, then I doubt people of any age would be able to read it well.”

        This is why I think a lot of the “zoomers can’t even read cursive!” stuff is overblown. I think the problem is that a lot of people write really, really illegible cursive.

    150. Emily Byrd Starr*

      My cursive is terrible and always has been. I only use it when I have to sign my name. I remember asking my teacher (this had to have been 1988) why we still had to learn penmanship since we had computers. She told me that it’s because we don’t use computers for everything.

      What do you know, I predicted the future!

    151. Emily Byrd Starr*

      Also, I just remembered that people with dyslexia can’t read cursive, regardless of their age. For that reason alone, we should all use print.

    152. Susan*

      I think that, at its heart, this is really a different issue. I don’t worry about my handwriting because it isn’t the best way to communicate with anyone at work anymore.

      The note to a direct report – why isn’t it a text?
      Even the card works better when passed around electronically for signature. You can still pick your font! And they will all be readable.

      If I’m not initiating the communication, I just reply in the same way it was sent. It’s been a long time since that was handwritten. (I’m 64.)

    153. PubintAtty*

      I am in mid 40’s and can’t read cursive(dyslexia combined with moving schools a lot so no one ever taught me) If I get a handwritten letter or note in cursive at work I have to ask an admin person to read it to me or transcribe it.

    154. iglwif*

      I’m 50. I learned cursive writing twice: first in 1981/2, from a first-grade handwriting workbook at a terrible school in Spain while we were on sabbatical there, and again in 1982/3, in a Grade 3 classroom back home in Canada. My Canadian teachers repeatedly told me my writing was “wrong” (chiefly because of the way I formed my lower-case f’s and p’s). I complied as long as I had to, but gradually reverted. Then I experimented over the years — I did greek e’s for a while, I quit doing the capital Q that looks like a 2, I tilted right and left …

      As a result, my handwriting is kinda wacky, and not always legible to other people unless I try hard, but it’s very fast (especially with fountain pens, which I prefer) and it’s always legible to ME. For my own notes, that’s what matters. This isn’t universal, of course, but I find taking my own notes on paper helps me retain content from meetings and calls.

      When I’m writing a card or note to someone, I work hard on making my writing legible. Except if I’m writing to a child, in which case … my neatest printing!

    155. babylawyer*

      I’m 25, so probably a bit younger than the average reader here, but not a true youngster. I learned to write cursive in elementary school, but although we were told that cursive was the norm for handwritten work in middle school and beyond, that did not end up being the case. I can read and write cursive just fine, but I’m not sure about those younger than myself.

    156. AltOrca*

      I’m 30, I did learn cursive in school and can read it (but like Allison said depending on the writer). I couldn’t speak to anyone younger than me, but it might be worth saying casually to a younger colleague “Let me know if you can read my writing ok or if you’d prefer it printed/typed” as long as it doesn’t come across as condescending like “young people these days can’t even read cursive anymore”. I have said similar things to colleagues because I just have awful printing and so the comment reflects more on my own writing rather than their reading skills.

    157. Clara*

      I’m 22 and can read and write cursive. I am a bit of an old soul though, and like fountain pens and nice stationery. But the majority of my similarly aged friends can READ it, at a minimum, even if they can’t write it.

    158. PMGO*

      I’m going to be the outlier here and say that I’m 34 and use cursive on a daily basis at work. Everyone I encounter is generally presumed to be “fluent” in cursive. But our industry (development) involves personal correspondence with the elderly and/or upper classes, so it’s common. I have noticed that younger members of the upper classes do still use/read cursive, though. It’s used quite a bit on formal invitations and notes.

    159. Desk worker*

      My daughter is 25 and learned to read and write cursive in 2nd/3rd grade -in TX, USA. I feel there’s a regional piece here. Although I don’t know what that is.

    160. Letter Writer 4 (cursive)*

      I’m finding the discussion fascinating! Thank you all. Since it seems like a lot of the answers are, “It depends,” I figure I’d let you all critique my actual writing. https://postimg.cc/xJprqgHH

      1. kupo*

        I have difficulty reading cursive and can read this, but it does take me longer than reading printed letters. But not as long as chicken skratch.

    161. Momma Bear*

      My teenager, who unfortunately never learned cursive in elementary school, can read cursive. Most of us use some version of print script anyway. I would hope that if someone couldn’t read your note they’d say something. Some people have terrible penmanship, no matter if they use cursive or not, and it’s still decipherable.

    162. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

      I have a 20 yo daughter who exclusively writes in cursive. She struggles to print legibly. She did have issues in Jr. high with peers not being able to read it but to be fair she had a habit thenof writing in the equivalent of about 4pt in pencil. By high school and her progression to 8 pt size even though most peers did not write in it, most can read it.

      My 17 yo son writes exclusively in print. Can read cursive although if handwriting is messy he can decipher print better than cursive.

    163. Too Many Tabs Open*

      My tween child looked at a card someone else had handwritten to me in cursive and said “I have no idea what that says”. It was beautiful handwriting too.

      I print most of the time, but my cursive is still faster, so I use that when I’m writing in a journal or handwriting a rough draft of fiction. (The fact that my handwriting is bad and other people are going to find it hard to read? Bonus.)

    164. ReallyBadPerson*

      This old dandelion has gone completely to seed, but I do think the ability to read and write in cursive depends on the elementary school one attended. My kids (late millennial, early gen Z) learned cursive, but I know a few of their friends, who attended different schools, did not. To avoid confusion, I’d just print.

    165. Veryanon*

      I’m in my 50’s and when I’m trying to write something quickly, I use a kind of hybrid cursive/print deal that’s not too bad. I don’t think I’ve used actual cursive writing since I’ve been in school, except to sign my name. That being said, my mother (who went to Catholic school) has beautiful cursive writing and I think I’d miss it if it died out entirely.

    166. Ollie*

      I got a birthday card for my grandson, age 16, and signed a nice note in cursive. He couldn’t read it. I don’t know what the age cut off is but they are no longer teaching cursive in school.

    167. Doctor What*

      I’m Gen-X and my niece and nephew are both in their early 20s (23 and 21), and neither one of them can read or write cursive. I, too, thought it would be easy to read, but then, I’ve been reading it for 40 years, at least. When they get cards, etc. they have asked their parents to “translate” them for them.

      I’m working on my family’s genealogy and I’ve had to make a concerted effort to make sure I write my notes in print!

    168. Coleen*

      I am 38, my husband will be 34 later this year. I can read/write cursive and he cannot.

    169. Twinklefae*

      It also depends on where you are from. France for instance is still teaching Cursive and doesn’t teach print at all.

    170. Jules the 3rd*

      I know about 20 people under the age of 30. None can read cursive. Go with print.

    171. Tree*

      My kid (16) was required to write in cursive in 4th grade, without having learned it or even a printing hand that leads well to cursive. She can write her name and that’s it.

      I was taught Denelean printing, and had to write cursive after 3rd grade. Now I write a hybrid cursive printing that nobody else can read except my wife sometimes. I’m 43.

      My mother has a beautiful hand, but it’s not the hand I learned. I have to work to read her writing. When she writes letters to the kid, I read them out loud to her.

    172. I Have RBF*

      They taught us both printing and cursive in grade school in the 60s. I was an A/B student, except for penmanship. There I was a solid D-. No matter how much I practiced, my handwriting just sucked. It got worse after college. Then after my stroke in my 30s, I had to switch hands. My writing sucked equally with my supposed “off” hand. My ambidexterity meant “equally bad handwriting with both hands.”

      I now make my living behind a keyboard.

      I can still read, and sort of write cursive. But unless I approach it like artsy calligraphy, it still is bad.

    173. Midwest Manager*

      I’m in the “use print when possible for everyone” camp, but I will mention that I have elementary-aged children and their curriculum includes cursive. They really enjoyed learning how to write “fancy” and are perfectly able to read it.

    174. WhyIsEverythingBananas*

      I’m 32. I write and read cursive fluently, but some of my peers don’t…and my understanding is that the next generation or two down can’t necessarily read it. They don’t get taught cursive in school anymore. So likely, much as I’m a STAUNCH supporter of cursive (I’ll be teaching my kids), unless you have absolutely copperplate handwriting, you’re best off to print if you want to be sure to be understood. My own cursive is…not beautiful. I usually understand it but my friends complain when I write in cursive that they can’t read it.

    175. Kat*

      I live outside the USA, and cursive for English isn’t taught neither where I live for the last 30+ years nor was it taught all that much in the ex Soviet country I grew up in, so that’s also something to consider, IMO.

    176. Kate*

      So, I am an elder millennial and I did not learn cursive. I can read it if it’s extremely neat, but very few people’s is extremely neat. And for context…my friends have me read them the cursive people write in things like cards because they can’t read it at all.

    177. Oh January*

      I’m a teacher in my mid 30s, and I never really learned to print. I can do it, but it takes something like 3 or 4 times as long. I wasn’t allowed to print at school until Grade 9, and by then I was just like, well, I’ll keep writing in cursive. My cursive is textbook – anyone my age or older who sees it invariably comments on its neatness/legibility.

      I made the executive decision that my (early teens) students are just going to have to deal, for efficiency reasons, but I also encourage them to ask “what does that saaaaaay” if they can’t tell and never act offended that they can’t read it. They mostly pick it up after about a month even though none of them learn to write in cursive anymore.

    178. JB*

      I get sort of heated on this subject. I don’t even consider myself that young (early 30’s), but I can’t write in cursive. It was still taught in schools when I was younger, but my family moved and in my old school district cursive was taught later than when it was taught in the district we moved to. So it was expected that I already knew it at the new school. I did my best to keep up with my peers and my parents tried to help me learn it, but basically the second it was no longer “required” to write in cursive I stopped and it never stuck with me. Like Alison said, I can read it (maybe it’s because I still sort of learned it?) if it’s written neatly. However, I CONSTANTLY get comments from people about how I must not be able to read cursive. Someone even made a comment about how it meant my brain was underdeveloped (something about how learning cursive connects certain neural pathways? I can’t remember the rationale exactly)! I think a lot of people who write in cursive and but find that others have trouble reading it don’t want to admit that they probably just have bad handwriting…

    179. Quill*

      I’m in my early 30’s, but cursive was being taught in school in my hometown at least until 6 years ago, and my college and high school aged cousins also had to learn it, briefly. I think plenty more people can read it than can write it, still.

    180. earnedDegreeAt37*

      I’m 46 and I was in community college (Dallas county) back in 2011, we had a history professor that was probably close to 90 years old, he would write on the whiteboard only in cursive and it was really bad. Because I was older and was used to reading bad cursive, almost everyone in class asked me to scan my notes and send it to them, I wrote my notes mostly in print. Physically writing the notes helped me retain the lecture better, however I now exclusively take notes on computer when I’m being trained at work, so I have evolved.

      That professor was a trip. He would lecture on stuff and we would never be tested on it, he would also tell us to read a certain chapter for the week then test us on completely different chapter. I finally wised up and just read the whole textbook. He tried to show us a PBS show on VHS he taped back in 1990 and the tape was in bad shape so we just heard the audio and saw squiggly marks on the screen.

    181. Moose*

      I’m 20 and I learned how to read and write cursive (Catholic schools represent!) I usually take notes for my college classes on paper with gel pens that glide between letters easily, so I use cursive or a hybrid connected-print style that has some cursive touches like curly tails on ys since the pen makes it easier to flow the letters together rather than pull it up for each character. When I’m using pencils or ballpoint pens that require me to press into the paper more to make a mark, I usually switch to print since it’s easier that way.

      I’m an outlier in my note-taking methods, since most other students I know either type or take notes by hand on tablets, but for adhd reasons I can’t take notes on a computer without getting distracted. I’m sorry trees :( even though the gels smudge more easily, I have grip strength issues that make it tiring and painful to use a pen that I have to push into rather than glide across the paper, which is why I usually use the gels and cursive/half-cursive. Personally I think that cursive is falling into disuse partly because typing has taken over some of its applications and partly because most people use pencils or ballpoint pens nowadays, which make printing a lot easier. When fountain pens were the main writing tool, it makes a lot of sense that people would use cursive more since fountain pens make it significantly easier to write several letters at once than to write each individually without causing inkblots.

      I also agree with the other people in this thread that people’s knowledge and use of cursive is really variable. Pretty much everyone knows how to sign their name, but the only people my age I know who know how to write cursive went to Catholic schools, and reading cursive is mostly dependent on how legible the writer’s handwriting is generally. If someone’s cursive is clean, large enough to see each letter, and the letters are distinct enough to tell apart, the majority of people can read it if they take a minute, but crunched messy writing in either print or cursive is going to be difficult for most.

      Personally I like knowing how to use it, because I’m a little anxious and once heard that the ability to write cursive and the ability to write print are stored in different sections of the brain, so sometimes after a head injury people have lost one skill or the other but not both. That’s wildly unlikely, but hey! It’s a cool fact.

    182. Cormorant*

      There’s definitely going to be a certain generation of people who can’t read it. I’m old enough that I learned how when I was in school (I don’t write in it myself because I’d rather be understood than fast, but I can read it just fine) and now the schools are starting to teach it again. I think there was a state law requiring them to recently (California)?

      My daughter is only in first grade and they haven’t gotten into it yet, but a friend’s 2nd-grader was bragging about learning cursive at school the other day so it won’t be long before I have to confront cursive again.

    183. Indie*

      My mother tongue uses Cyrillic and if you ever tired to read cursive Cyrillic, you know the pain. My writing wasn’t messy, it was quite nice actually, but everyone was complaining that it was unreadable. And I failed quite a few classes after that. So I started to use print for classwork, and continued to use cursive for notes (I know, right?) Cursive for me is much faster, looks pretty and comes with a built-in privacy settings. When I write in English, I use a bastardized print that feels like cursive to me (with ligatures and embellishments), is still pretty legible but also faster than standard print. I caught my kids using something similar even though they have only been taught print.

    184. Msd*

      Printing takes so much longer than cursive. I can’t stand printing more than a couple of words when writing by hand.

    185. Is 30 young enough?*

      I can read cursive, though I do struggle with it a bit.

      In fairness, I often strughle a bit with handwriting.

    186. tan audel*

      I (millennial) went to a school that didn’t teach cursive (because it taught italics instead)—even if you don’t formally learn cursive, you definitely learn to read it, because you’re going to be exposed to it just existing in the world. (I taught myself a frankencursive pulling all the bits I liked best from other people’s handwriting as a kid, and I switch between that and print/a hybrid freely). I think you’re fine, as long as it’s largely legible/certain letters don’t all look the same.

    187. It's Me*

      It genuinely depends on the handwriting. At best, it’s legible and just takes a moment for my eyes/brain to adjust. Unfortunately, I don’t think most people are the best judge of the legibility of their own handwriting. OP *might* be okay, given the compliments, but “Your handwriting is so nice/pretty” doesn’t necessarily mean “I can easily parse what that says at a glance.”

      For the record, I’m in my 30s. I would imagine the difficulty is more pronounced in even younger people.

    188. Marshmallows*

      This has probably been mentioned, but I have a visual processing disorder which makes it hard to read much of anything, but cursive is the worst. I know cursive, I can read and write it if i absolutely have to, but it’s much harder than print and takes much longer. I’m 40. Even people that were raised when they “still taught cursive” can struggle with it. So I vote for avoiding it mostly.

    189. Miss 404*

      Brit in her mid-20s here – I still learned what you Yanks call cursive (aka “joined-up writing”) in primary school as the default. It does at least mean I can read it, but since I’m left-handed AND probably dyspraxic, it absolutely wrecked my handwriting, so now no-one else can read mine!

    190. CursiveIsDeadLongLiveCursive*

      I’m an elder millennial, so I was taught cursive in elementary school. Nowadays, I work in museums and sometimes have to read or transcribe old handwritten documents and labels. The ability to read cursive is something I actually put on my resume now. It’s a dying skill. My vote is that you should write in print if you want everyone to be able to read it.

      As an aside, I wish I could travel back in time and force some 19th century botanists to take penmanship lessons. Some of their notes are illegible to my entire team.

    191. Mmm.*

      I love that #4 isn’t being judgemental. It’s not their fault that it’s no longer taught!

      I would eliminate cursive entirely. I have dyslexia, and it’s harder to read cursive (for me; that’s not always the case). It doesn’t affect my work, so no one knows. If you have any coworkers who don’t speak English as their native language, they may never have learned cursive. Plus, it could make people feel like writing cursive is an expectation (though it likely isn’t), and they could feel uncomfortable about that. I have terrible cursive writing because I never learned to hold a pen correctly (yep, I’m a mess!), and I am self-conscious about it, but I’d feel weird responding to beautiful script with my printing.

      However, even those who grew up in a cursive era (like me!) learned to read print. You can absolutely use cursive in your day-to-day life and on your self-reminders, of course. But just for the sake of overall accessibility, I’d switch.

    192. Middle school teacher*

      I’m at 7th grade teacher at an urban school and I’d say about 80% of my students can read cursive, excluding the unusual capital letters like Q. Ones who didn’t start their schooling in the US/have another first language are least likely to be able to read it. Almost none of them can write in it, although about 60% can sign their names.

    193. KatherineJ*

      My niece is 10 and was taught cursive in school. My nephew is 6, and he is picking it up already. I think it’s fine. You would be surprised what teachers can sneak in while sticking to the curriculum. Ironically, I have trouble reading cursive because I haven’t kept up with it as a skill. My printing has always been nicer than my handwriting, and I was able to print quickly for notes in school.

    194. Katherine*

      Why not ask people whether they can read your writing? I’m in my 30s and can read most people’s handwriting, but my own is awful so i often have to take twice as long to write something that is legible to others, and often just print in block capitals to ensure legibility to people i dont know well. Which caused an issue where my husband got confused because I dont put horizontal lines on my block capital I’s.

    195. thatjillgirl*

      I’m a pharmacist. I LOVE to write in cursive in my personal life (they were still teaching it when I was in grade school 25ish years ago), but I never write in cursive at work, because it’s crucial that the things I write be clearly legible. Err on the side of print if you’re worried about others reading it and not clearly understanding your communication.

      (On that note, I know it’s an old joke for doctors to have bad handwriting, but there are FAR too many prescribers out there with messy handwriting. To any prescribers out there, if you want your patient to get the correct medication, you need to write it clearly! We pharmacists are pretty good at deciphering the scribbles, but we aren’t magic!)

    196. Bunny*

      21-year-old here. I was taught and am able to read/write cursive no problem — unless it’s quite messy of course, but that’s more a handwriting in general stipulation than a cursive in specific one.

    197. 21*

      Dunno if anyone will see this but I’m 21 and learned cursive in elementary school! I write it poorly, but read it fine. I’ve gone through life assuming that it’s readable to basically anyone, but now I’m not so sure? I guess learning disabilities, English not being your mother tongue, etc. would put one at a disadvantage. But in general I assume people my age can read cursive.

    198. lilsheba*

      Cursive writing is the oldest form of communication there is, don’t abandon it. Keep using it. Keep using analog clocks too. For gods sake.

    199. CurmudgeonWriter*

      Cursive is fine. What next, being forced to use only one- or two-syllable words for all communications? Cursive has been around for hundreds of years for a pretty good reason. I’m not giving it up even if it’s a little hard to write or read at times.

    200. Zeus*

      For me (mid-twenties, can read cursive but don’t enjoy it) I don’t see much point in using cursive if you’re not writing with a fountain pen. Print is easier with a ballpoint, and more likely to be able to be read – why not just use that?

  1. Escapee from Corporate Management*

    OP1, you cannot care about someone’s job more than they do. You want them to want to succeed. Turning in poor work materials and being unresponsive during work hours are ways they are showing you they don’t want that. You should either manage them to do better ASAP or manage them out.

    BTW, do not let this person manage your intern. This employee cannot even self-manage.

    1. ENFP in Texas*

      +1000 on not letting them manage an intern. There is nothing the intern needs to be learning about the work world from them, and you would be doing the intern a serious disservice.

      1. Momma Bear*

        Very very much agree. They need to get their own professional norms under control first. Not only might it teach the intern the wrong behavior, if the intern has a better work ethic, they might be frustrated and hampered by the employee’s behavior. Please find someone else while you work on getting this employee in line.

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        This. Modeling “late and sloppy work is okay” will not do them any favors.

    2. acl*

      Another +1000 about not letting her manage the intern. For one thing, she’s not qualified. For another, it’s a huge disservice to the intern who is there to learn, among other things, how to function successfully in the work environment.

      1. Myrin*

        Right? I actually said “NO!” out loud when I read that. Do not let this woman loose on some poor intern.

        1. JSPA*

          Yup. For the intern’s sake; and because the employee is not even keeping her own head above water, and clearly has no bandwidth to handle an intern. Zero favors to anybody, here.

      2. AngryOctopus*

        This. That poor intern doesn’t need to be coming in at her start time only to have to wait for her manager to bother to show up. Add to that, what kind of instruction is the intern going to get from someone who is 1-habitually late and 2-handing in rushed/shoddy work? It’s likely the intern is going to notice almost immediately that their manager is subpar, and they’re not going to have a good experience for their summer. You don’t want that! You want the intern to have a good experience, and to learn! You can’t let her manage them, and you need to have a serious conversation with her about expectations around being on time to meetings, not skipping meetings, and work quality, starting yesterday.

        1. Seven If You Count Bad John*

          “ It’s likely the intern is going to notice almost immediately that their manager is subpar”

          Or, worse, they *won’t* notice, because they’re an intern and don’t have enough work experience to have a healthy baseline, and will learn *all the wrong lessons*.

          1. fidget spinner*

            “Oh cool, I guess it’s fine to routinely come to work and hour and a half late!”

        2. goddessoftransitory*

          It could also affect the reputation of the LW’s company going forward–“Oh, that’s the place where the interns get the shaft.” If I was interning I’d be pissed if my employers seemed to think this was how I wanted to spend my time.

      3. Turquoisecow*

        +10000

        Part of internships is learning business norms. An intern under this person would learn that shoddy work and lateness are the way to go, and that would be a disservice to the intern and their future employers.

      4. Kay*

        When I read that I screamed out in my head “WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU THINKING!?!?” – the girl needs a stern conversation and likely firing but the OP is worried about how to get her to wake up on time?? What?? This girl is the perfect example of (almost) everything an intern should not be!!

      1. Spring*

        It’s really surprising that the company is even thinking about having the OP’s employee manage an intern! Even if they’re “next on the list” to do it, NOOOOOOOO!

        1. Momma Bear*

          Managing an intern should be something you are skilled to handle, not a “well, who’s next?” situation. This employee can’t even handle herself.

    3. CityMouse*

      If this had just been about someone starting work late, that would be a different story, but this person isn’t just late to.meetings, their work is late and bad. I don’t understand how rhis person isn’t on a PIP, at a minimum. You absolutely don’t let someone failing the job manage an intern.

      1. Chas*

        I think this is fair, my work is generally considered to be good, but my internal motivation is terrible so I’m often in later than I’m supposed to be, unless there’s some kind of meeting in the morning to force me to get in by a certain time (luckily for me our workplace is fairly casual, and my boss doesn’t seem to mind as long as I get work done, which is probably contributing to me not being motivated to get in on time). But if you give me a student to train then suddenly I’m capable of getting in 10 minutes earlier than my start time every day, because if I’m late it’ll mean the student is kept waiting and that would be rude!

        1. Slow Gin Lizz*

          I was wondering when reading the letter why these kinds of letters always seem to ask “my employee is always late, how can I make sure she’s on time?” and then go on to say that the employee also does sub-par work but doesn’t ask “how can I make sure she starts doing her work better?” And then I started wondering if there are also letters that say “my employee is always late but her work is incredible, how can I make sure she starts work on time?” Does anyone know if there are any of these letters?

          In any case, as usual AAM is correct and the OP is asking the wrong question and trying to solve the wrong problem. The sub-par work, missing meetings, and the employee not being available when she should be are the real issues here and that’s what OP should be focusing on and talking to her employee about. Maybe she has a sleep disorder, maybe not, but that’s for her and her doctor to figure out, not OP.

          1. Alright Alright Alright*

            There are the second type of letter, but I think they more often come from the employee who is frustrated that despite doing great work, their boss is dinging them for being 10 minutes late. I don’t know what that is! It’s always entertaining to read a letter from the misguided boss and see their thought process, though (like the infamous leap day birthday).

            1. Smithy*

              I do think those are the bulk of “I’m late but turn in great work” letters – but I think there’s also a smaller subset of those letters where someone does great individual contributions but isn’t understanding why their absence/lateness for more collective work is such an issue.

              A few weeks ago, I think there was a letter around team meetings being missed entirely without notice and confusion around why that was being brought up as an issue. So, I do think even when work is being done at a high level, that kind of regular lateness or absence can be accompanied by downplaying the importance of more collective or team efforts. Which sometimes can be silly (i.e. for the OP with team meetings, if those meetings were for 100’s of people it’s understandable to think that roll call wouldn’t be called and noticing absences would be a little punitive) but not always (a smaller meeting where they will wait for everyone they think might be there – and repeated no shows impacts those who are there.)

              1. Colette*

                And sometimes the person is getting their own work done – and done well – but they are also blocking other people.

                1. Smithy*

                  Yeah – quite frankly general “team player” or other soft skills pieces where tardiness, absences, etc are a problem.

                  Obviously someone doing poor work shouldn’t be overseeing an intern. But someone who does amazing work but has an attendance schedule that fluctuates wildly and shows up late to meetings – that can also be harmful for an intern or more junior staff on their team. It makes that person less available for questions, it puts a larger burden on hourly staff to be waiting for a salaried staff member to be available to assign tasks or review work.

                  Things like being a part of the informal parts of onboarding new hires, being a source of information to junior staff/interns, as well as not making colleagues wait or guess if you’re coming at all can reach a point where excellent individual contributions only go so far.

                2. not nice, don't care*

                  I had a coworker like this. Did really amazing complicated work, but was a total ass and enjoyed mean girl games and bullying, in addition to refusing to document her work or crosstrain an emergency backup.
                  Yeah, it was rough trying to recreate her processes after she left, but the vibe is so much better.

              2. Tio*

                These are the flavors I see:
                1. I’m technically late but no one is waiting on me and I turn in great work/ My employee is late but otherwise doing great. Answer: Clock watching is irrelevant if they’re not holding anyone up, but if they are coverage based, holding people up, or the bosses are sticklers about it, you’ll have to fix it or get a different job/person
                2. I’m late to/miss meetings but otherwise do great work. Answer: You’re inconveniencing other people, be on time or notify them if you’re running late, and don’t do it too often because you affect other people.
                3. My employee is late and also does terrible work, how do I make them be on time? Answer: You have missed the actual problem by a mile, focus on the bad work and address the lateness together or later

              3. goddessoftransitory*

                I agree. It’s one thing if everyone is working on individual projects only (although still not a great look) but frankly, being routinely late is saying “I don’t value other people’s time.”

                A person who regularly shows up “just a little” late is holding up everybody else’s work and schedule, and at best becomes the missing stair that has to be worked around. Resentment of this starts early, and can metastasize into serious morale issues.

          2. porfa*

            Those letters crop up occasionally but Alison tells them rightly to stay in their lane and focus on output and work impact (or lack of)

          3. fhqwhgads*

            If the letter were “my employee is always late but her work is incredbile” the answer would be “stop clock-watching someone doing great work unless it has a measureable effect on others”. Pretty sure there’s been at least one of those. Maybe not from a manager, but from a peer.

            I think the questions from managers where the work is shoddy and the person is late seem to focus on the lateness because though they’re not explicitly stating it, they somehow think the work is shoddy because the person is rushed and the person is rushed because they’re late, ergo, fixing the lateness would fix the shoddy work. I don’t necessarily agree with that root cause analysis, but I can see why someone might get stuck in that thought process.

            1. Observer*

              they somehow think the work is shoddy because the person is rushed and the person is rushed because they’re late, ergo, fixing the lateness would fix the shoddy work.

              Sometimes that’s actually true. But it still doesn’t really matter. Talking about the clock is a losing game in these kinds of situations. But talking specifically about the work problems is a lot hard to side track if the manager is handling things well. And ultimately, it’s on the worker to figure this out, not the manager.

            2. Also-ADHD*

              I do think the problems sound separate frankly. That doesn’t mean the lateness isn’t a problem (missing meetings etc) but I think it’s a leap to connect lateness, especially related to early morning hours, if that’s the particular struggle identified as the cause of the shoddy work. Probably need to address both problems separately, though the lateness first is fine.

          4. Observer*

            I was wondering when reading the letter why these kinds of letters always seem to ask “my employee is always late, how can I make sure she’s on time?” and then go on to say that the employee also does sub-par work but doesn’t ask “how can I make sure she starts doing her work better?

            Yes. That’s just really missing the point, isn’t it.

            In any case, as usual AAM is correct and the OP is asking the wrong question and trying to solve the wrong problem.

            Totally!

            LW, if you are reading the comments, please take this very seriously. You are focusing on the one thing that is none of your business, and ignoring all of the stuff that REALLY matters.

        2. NeutralJanet*

          That might be true for the average chronically late person, who is always 5 minutes late, but I can’t imagine that someone who regularly comes in an hour and 15 minutes late is going to start coming in on time on her accord.

          1. sara*

            This. Huge difference between a few minutes late and over an hour late! The few minutes thing feels like being overly obsessed with the clock and penalizing people who might need to take public transit (etc.), assuming others are not relying on the person to be there on time (i.e. front desk coverage, etc.). But being over an hour late on in-person days and maybe multiple hours late (“late morning”) on WFH days seems more like the employee is simply…skipping huge portions of the work day! That is a much more serious issue.

          2. MigraineMonth*

            I sometimes log on an hour and 15 minutes late, but thus far no one has cared. If my manager made it clear that I had to be logged in on time or I’d face discipline and lose my job, I’d be logged on 5 minutes early every day. (I’ve done it in the past, when I had to catch the bus or at jobs that weren’t so flexible with their hours.)

        3. Observer*

          so I’m often in later than I’m supposed to be, unless there’s some kind of meeting in the morning to force me to get in by a certain time

          That’s a key thing. The LW is pretty clear that this person does NOT do what you do – ie force yourself to get in on time. *She* gets in late or even missed meetings. If she’s doing that to her coworkers, why would I expect something different from her when it’s “only” an intern.

          In your case I would hope that the manager sees that you understand that when there are other people involved you do make it work.

      2. Anon Y Mouse*

        Yes, this.
        I could be – potentially – the late colleague. I am not my best until late morning, and when WFHing I might well look bleary at a nine o’clock meeting.

        However, I would consider an eight o’clock start time to be close to a deal-breaker for taking a job. I actually have a job that allows me to work flexible hours, walk my kids to school which wakes me up some, and don’t start until 9.30 at the earliest (I make up the hours by working in the evening, when I’m at my best).

        I have delayed sleep phase caused by ADHD and for me, these things are “reasonable adjustments” which my employer would be a obliged to consider under UK law were it not that this particular firm offers them to everyone anyway. While I wouldn’t diagnose the colleague in the post, it’s not impossible that’s her problem (the messiness, the disorganisation, the rushing all suggest it) and I’m not sure how that (or another medical issue) would gel with Alison’s usual advice not to reveal ADHD to her employer. Can you say you have a disability without revealing what it is?

        I do think she needs to be on a PIP, and I say this as someone who has been and who successfully made major changes. Give her clear messaging and a chance – she may make it work or look elsewhere.

      3. JF*

        I feel like they aren’t on a PIP because of comments like the one below – if one, as a a manager, wants to be seen as a good, accomodating manager there can be a hypercorrection to things like this that can exacerbate and hide true performance issues, especially in a hybrid/remote scenario. I’ve seen this play out a few times.

        1. CityMouse*

          The whole “I’m a cool manager.” vibe.

          I’m used to manage now I focus more in training and it is terrible when someone you are working with fails out. I’ve personally managed to turn around the vast majority I’ve worked with, but that does involve setting clear boundaries and being very clear when work quality is unacceptable. I provide guidance and resources, but I cannot accept bad work.

          By letting things slide, LW isn’t doing anything to help this person turn her work and behavior around. It’s not doing the employee favors.

          1. Pastor Petty Labelle*

            Plus everyone else sees what this person is getting away with. How is her turning things in late and half done affecting everyone else’s work? Are they having to pick up the slack?

            You can’t be so accomodating to one person that you disaccomodate everyone else.

            OP its time to be blunt — work starts at 8, I need you to be here then, can you do that? If she starts with excuses, you need to say, then you need to plan better because if you can’t get here on time we will have to let you go. And mean it.

        2. hbc*

          Yeah, I think what’s sometimes difficult to understand is that it’s so much harder to be a good, accommodating manager. Writing someone up every time they’re not in their seat by 8:00:01 takes no thought. Judging when someone’s once-in-a-while delays have slipped across the fuzzy line of unacceptability takes a lot of work, and some annoying conversations to correct.

        3. Olive*

          Looking at some of the comments further down, I can see how a new manager might be confused about what’s reasonable – there are a lot of people acting like it’s unreasonable to expect an employee to have morning meetings.

          1. Also-ADHD*

            My comments have been treated that way, even though my point was it’s not unreasonable but it’s also not very “flexible” and so employers/managers need to be clear. If there’s a hard start and a ton of meetings and activity in the early morning time box (8-10), that’s going to impede the kinds of flexibility most commonly used in jobs, for start time/parent stuff/etc. So it’s not very flexible compared to the modern workplace (or of it is widely flexible in where you can work from, what days you’re in office, how many days in office, what times you work outside 8-10 mornings being rigid—none of which seems to be the case here), then recognize it’s not actually that flexible but somewhere in the norm of jobs with very standardized schedules and ways of working. That’s not “wrong”—flexible isn’t always better and isn’t always even possible. But I’m failing to see how particularly flexible the work is. Instead, I would say the norms are rigid but unspoken/undefined which does not make them flexible but does lead to issues like this continuing without being addressed (and people taking advantage because they figure it’s flexible).

            1. AngryOctopus*

              Your definition of “flexible” is very different from lots of other people’s definitions of “flexible” (I might even say it’s a very rigid definition), and people have been pointing out that if you waltz in thinking your definition of ‘flexible’ is the only one possible, you’re going to be disappointed way more than you’ll be happy.

            2. nodramalama*

              Im just not sure your definition of flexible necessarily aligns with how most people think about flexible work

        4. Escapee from Corporate Management*

          Did OP1 post? Can you direct me to the comment? Thanks!

      4. Beth*

        Yeah, it’s one thing if someone needs an adjusted schedule due to sleep issues–that can be a medical accommodation. But this sounds like someone who’s committed to half-assing it at work across the board. That’s not a schedule issue.

        1. Seven If You Count Bad John*

          I’m now cycling on the phrase “committed to half-assing” because that’s somehow both an oxymoron and completely accurate. :D

      5. Observer*

        If this had just been about someone starting work late, that would be a different story, but this person isn’t just late to.meetings

        Just late to work would be one thing. But late to meetings is a whole different issue and would be a major problem, even without the shoddy work. The two together really are a major issue.

        So, yes this person should be on a PIP and absolutely not managing an intern.

        1. Momma Bear*

          Late or missing meetings is egregious. I’m not a morning person, but when my boss added me to a meeting earlier than I often come in, I made it a point to attend. Some situations require flexibility. Many of our engineers don’t roll in until 10 but they stay past 7 so it doesn’t matter. But they are “on time” for them/their role.

          Also, if the person appears on camera like they rolled out of bed, then it needs to be clearly spelled out what attendance looks like – camera on, dressed and presentable as if she was in the office (so hair brushed, no night guard). People who abuse WFH are why so many other people can’t do WFH. Management gets twitchy and takes it away from everyone. If she can’t effectively WFH, then she shouldn’t have the privalidge.

          1. Kara*

            May i ask why it wouldn’t be simpler to just specify that the camera is off unless you’re dressed for the office? If you’re visible to your coworkers/customers whether it’s because of physical presence or camera on, you need to be dressed for business? (Genuine question, i feel like I’m missing something in your comment)

    4. WellRed*

      I can’t believe OP thinks managing an intern is even an option! OP, you may have a live and live office vibe, but I’d be surprised if some of the other employees aren’t also irritated by the sleeper. Please put on your manager pants.

    5. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      Glad I am not the only one who thought this person should not be managing someone when they can’t even manage themselves.

      OP you would not be doing your employee nor the intern any favors if you let this person manage your intern. Managing an intern should be done by someone willing and able to show good work habits to an intern, a sort of reward for good work. If you allow this, you are signaling to your report that her behavior is okay.

    6. Just Thinkin' Here*

      I came in here to make the comment about the internship assignment. I wonder who OP 1 is trying to punish? The intern? The employee? Because you don’t assign a college intern who has never worked in the real world to someone who is already struggling in the workplace. I’d be worried this assignment would maximize a bad experience for both sides.

    7. Tio*

      Another +1000 on not managing the intern! You want someone managing the intern that will teach them the CORRECT habits, and this person has none of those, it sounds like! If anything, I would take the intern away from her and explain why – she is not meeting many of the job standards required and therefore you can’t entrust an intern to her. And you need to be clear – and be ready – that she could lose her job if this continues.

    8. Observer*

      BTW, do not let this person manage your intern. This employee cannot even self-manage.

      Agreed with this SO hard. I was really taken aback that you apparently have not considered taking this away from her. It would be bad even if it were an employee with a lot of experience. But this is an *intern*, which means that they are probably going to need *more* presence than typical. And this is someone who is not in, not responsive when supposedly working from home, *and* does sloppy work. That’s a terrible person to be managing an intern.

    9. Chick-n-Boots*

      I have a modicum of sympathy for that person because I am a total night owl and not a morning person either. However, I recognized when I went out into the work world that the larger world would not conform to my needs – I was going to have to figure out how to adjust. I commuted to a job in DC for many years that required you to be at your desk at 8:30am which meant I had to leave my house by 7am and it SUUUUUUUCKED. But that’s life. I had to figure it out if I wanted to do that job. Now I work in another field (and I’m far more established in my career) and I have the flexibility I need to make my job schedule work so I don’t have to be ready to work at 8am. But at this point in my life, the odds of me taking a job that required that are slim to none.

      LW, I think Alison’s right that you need to get really clear with that person where there IS flexibility, where there ISN’T, and where they are failing to meet their obligations as an employee and part of that team. They either need to figure out how to deal with the job they have as it is, work with HR on an ADA accommodation (assuming that’s appropriate for the circumstances), or they really need to find a job that better aligns with their personal needs. It’s OK to not be a morning person but it’s not OK to just decide arbitrarily that your workplace is going to bend to your needs when you are the one that is out of sync with the office culture or workplace norms/needs.

    10. EmmaPoet*

      Agreed, please do not do this to the intern. Part of what they’re coming in to learn is business norms, and they’re going to take away all the wrong things from a supervisor like this one.

    11. Elle Woods*

      Absolutely do not let this person manage an intern. It will reflect poorly on the employee and the company and give the intern a very poor example of how to