March 30, 2008

Writing Weird

A Reader wrote:


So here's a little background. I was taught in the 90's when left-handed writing was never discouraged. However, I can't remember any teacher expressly giving writing directions to lefties either. All the way up to second grade I wrote some of my letters backwards (to the point where I failed a grade over not being able to form proper letters). I know in the FAQ it says that left handed children might do this, but I must have been especially dense to not correct in for three years. Anyway, I'm in honors and AP high school classes so no grudges to the teachers who got me here.

What's bothersome is that I hold a pen/pencil really weird. Searching for it on the internet, only one website I found mentions my approach at all: http://volume22.blogspot.com/2004/04/monkey-grip.html. He calls my way of writing a monkey grip. I love that nickname. Here is the picture they use: http://img1.photobucket.com/albums/1003/dvoyy/p11_124.jpg. When people talk about lefties having trouble holding a pen they don't even give this as an example. I use my ring and middle fingers to form words. The thumb holds the pen in my hand. I'm sure my penmanship would be ten times better with the method this and other left-hand specific websites say is best, but at seventeen I'm still pretty set in my way about writing. Between notes, homework, and random scribbling I can't change this particular bad habit while it is the quickest system for me to write. So, I'm just curious if the way I hold a pen is because I'm left-handed or am I just odd in that area?

27 comments:

  1. I Hold my Pencil Like That Too So Its Not Just You! I Find If I Try And Hold It 'Normally' My Writing Just Gets Worse!

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  2. I'm a lefty with a right-handed son, and he holds his pencil just like this. I'm certain it's not a lefty thing he picked up from me because I purposefully didn't try to help him with his writing, assuming anything I taught him would just confuse the poor kid. I think this is just a bad habit picked up in kindergarten by children, both left and right handed, that is difficult to correct. My son's teachers have all told me a triangle-shaped pencil grip is supposed to help. I think it all comes down to sticking with the 'proper' style of writing until new muscle memories form.

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  3. Writing like this is not a "bad habit" at all! I write the exact same way. I took a calligraphy class and the instructor told me that "correct" and "incorrect" forms of holding a pen date from the same times when lefties were considered to be witches. Don't worry about how you hold a pen, as long as it works for you!

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  4. No worries, I do the same thing. Hook handed and using the index and middle finger to guide the pen while the thumb just keeps it from escaping. If it really bothers you then you can try and change it, but I doubt it's a necessity. Not to mention your handwriting might be just as bad with the new style.

    Anyways, as the person above mentioned, it's not a bad habit, it's just how they write. And as long as one can make some halfway legibile words on paper, it's not a problem.

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  5. I too am a left-handed person and I held my pen that way most of my life. Until I got to college and figured out how to get my index finger out on top. But it still looks like a fist when I write. I have met one or two right-handers who hold their pens like this also.

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  6. I do the same thing! I didn't even realize it, I just assumed everyone wrote that way.

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  7. Both I (a lefty) and my Lefthanded boyfriend hold it this way. It makes more sense to me than the way other lefties hold their pens

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  8. I'm a lefty and one of my friends made fun of me when she saw me hold it like that

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  9. I'm also left-handed and have always held my writing utensils like that. I get better control of them than using the more conventional grips preferred generally by righties. My right-handed wife thought it looked painful at first, but now concedes that my penmanship is actually quite legible.

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  10. Right-handed people often say that what lefties do looks "painful". It strikes me as a bizarre point of view. Of course, it might be painful, if you were right handed, because then you'd be working backwards and with the wrong hand! That's the same thing that happens to lefties when they are forced to do things right-handed.

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  11. Chalk one more user of the monkey grip. I was never discouraged from writing with my left hand, but 45 years ago my mother got that tendency whipped out of her. Yikes.

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  12. Hmm. So I just looked at the pictures and picked up my pen. I have kind of a hybrid grip: my hand is slightly balled up like the 'monkey' grip, but my thumb and index finger are more in the position of the 'normal' grip (although the index finger is slightly higher up so that the thumb touches the tip of the index, instead of just above the first knuckle). (I'm in my mid-30s.)

    Hook-handed lefties (I work with one) make my wrist HURT! I've never hooked my wrist, and can't quite understand it. (Thankfully I had very supportive parents!)

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  13. I'm leftie (for the most part) too, except I hold my pencil the "normal" way, and i've had no problems or cramp ups. I get told all the time by friends that if they tried to write left it'd hurt their hand (I don't know why they think that, because to me seeing someone write left handed is normal; right is just too weird). For me it's the opposite: until I found out about handedness after I was told to stop trying to write left, my right hand went all over the place and frequently cramped up. Now that I found out, it writes better and faster than my right.
    I tried going back to right, but it's too hard and I still end up screwing up the letters. Your style of writing can still work though. Maybe it's worth a
    shot trying to change writing styles- You never know.

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  14. I write hook-handed too and the only problem is that I smear my writing sometimes. I noticed that I wrote different when I was in Junior High and tried to change but my writing was terrible when I tried to write the "correct" way.

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  15. I'm left handed and I hold the pencil just like you do too. I have also been told that is not the correct way of holding a pencil but nobody says how I should hold it. Sometimes when I write too much I get red marks in my fingers or I feel pain for a while, but in general it's not a problem.

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  16. My dominant hand is my right, though I always had decent control of my left and am currently training myself on writing left-handed. (I want to be ambidextrous.)

    When I learned how to write as a child, I instinctively held my pencil in the "monkey grip". It was more comfortable, and I had better control over the pencil. Despite my very good penmanship using this method, my penmanship teacher would often "correct" my hand. I was even forced to have one of those (horrible) tringle pieces on my pencil. So I would write "correct" when the teacher was looking and my own way when she was not. Thus, I have a callous on my ring finger.

    In college, I realized that despite it being comfortable, I was applying too much pressure on the pencil. So I decide to change to the "correct" position. It took weeks of conscious effort, but now I write just as smoothly the correct way.

    So I do not believe it is just a left-handed thing, as I learned to write with my right hand. I always thought my preference for that style was due to my very small hands... it was easier to control a long pencil with two fingers on top guiding it.

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  17. It is actually scary how similar my left handed story is to yours. I'm still really disappointed my kindergarten teacher never taught me properly. I'm trying to get over it, but the effects of not writing properly are not fun.

    Good article.

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  18. I hold my pencil the exact same way. Im righty but wan to become ambidextrous**, which is going well :)





    **spelling

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  19. after i typed my last comment, i looked sat the picture harder and realized that i dont have a monkey grip. its very close. instead of using my ring finger at the bottom i use my middle finger

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  20. Lefty. Same story as above with incorrect teaching methods used in school. Almost failed second grade as teacher told me I was learning disabled. Funny. I was able to read books in Kindergarten.

    Try the PenAgain. You'll have to Google it. I'm an engineer and have to write a lot. It is amazing. It actually is designed for lefties who were taught the crooked hand technique.

    Love mine...

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  21. When I was younger I held my pen like this, and my mother tried to fix it with the triangle grips and everything to no avail. Around 5th grade she gave up, and from then on, I always felt like I was writing incorrectly. I was so happy to find out that I'm not the only one with this grip!

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  22. I can write with both hands, and even though neither of my hands write the "correct" way, I have no trouble writing. My only problem with the way I write is the calluses I have on my ring fingers.

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  23. im a left hander aswell lol is great bein a lefty i love it xxx :)

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  24. I'm a lefty with a normal grip (I think.) I'm wondering if the monkey grip would enable a lefty to write without smearing their hand over what they just wrote. That would be nice!

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  25. im left handed and every lefty i no including my dad... i cant read lefties hand writing including mine
    y do lefties write sloppy

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  26. the best thing about being left handed is that when you go out to eat u can annoy som1 by saying ill bump u so i get that side because im left handed
    i love being left handed
    bc its an excuse

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  27. I'm a lefty and love it but my grip is waayy different. People are always asking "How the heck do you hold your pencil like that?!" and I attempt to show them but they can't do it the way I can. My ring and pinky are underneath the pencil (if you know what I mean), my middle finger curves around the top of the pencil right above my ring and pinky, my thumb lays on top- like to balance it all out- and my index finger curls around from back to front of the pencil above my thumb. That was probably REALLY confusing, so here's a picture.

    http://i1047.photobucket.com/albums/b477/xXToxicRainbowMonkeysXx/Photoon2010-11-21at20424-1.jpg

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