is a person's particular & individual style of writing with pen or pencil, which contrasts with "Hand
A Hand, in calligraphy and palaeography refers to one of several historical varieties of formal, impersonal, generic and exemplary writing styles...
" which is an impersonal and formalised writing style in several historical varieties. Cursive
Cursive, also known as joined-up writing, joint writing, or running writing, is any style of handwriting in which the symbols of the language are written in a simplified and/or flowing manner, generally for the purpose of making writing easier or faster...
is the prominent style, but imitating print letter shapes or using caps only is becoming more prevalent among children.
Every literate human has his or hers own manner of writing. There are many peculiarities in a handwritten text:
- specific shape of letters, e.g. their roundness or sharpness;
- regular or irregular spacings between letters;
- the slope of the letters;
- the rhythmic repetition of the elements or arrhythmia;
- the pressure to the paper;
- the average size of letters;
- and many others.
Handwriting is relatively stable, i.e. the style of writing changes very slowly with age. Another important fact is that all people have different handwriting. Even identical twins have differences. Therefore, the most common type of questioned document examination
Questioned document examination is the forensic science discipline pertaining to documents that are in dispute in a court of law...
involves handwriting wherein the examiner tries to address concerns about potential authorship.
The handwriting can contain some other information. For example, you can find out whether a person was nervous or intoxicated at the time of the sample.
Graphology is the pseudoscientific study and analysis of handwriting, especially in relation to human psychology. In the medical field, it can be used to refer to the study of handwriting as an aid in diagnosis and tracking of diseases of the brain and nervous system...
is the controversial study and analysis of handwriting especially in relation to human psychology. In the medical field, it can be used to refer to the study of handwriting as an aid in diagnosis and tracking of diseases of the brain and nervous system.
Handwriting is considered bad if it prevents other people from being able to read the copy. Some people think that many doctors have bad handwriting. According to "Time", doctors' sloppy handwriting kills more than 7,000 people annually. However, D. Berwick and D. Winickoff showed that "the handwriting of doctors was no less legible than that of non-doctors" and that "significantly lower legibility than average was associated with being an executive and being male". Many famous people (e.g. Elliot
Sir Charles Elliot, KCB , was a British naval officer, diplomat, and colonial administrator. He became the first administrator of Hong Kong in 1841 while serving as both Plenipotentiary and Chief Superintendent of British Trade in China...
) had poor handwriting because they wrote a lot. On the other side, some great people (e.g. Gandhi) had very clear handwriting.
Bad handwriting can be a symptom of disease. For example, dopamine-responsive dystonia
Dopamine-responsive dystonia , also known as hereditary progressive dystonia with diurnal fluctuation, Segawa's disease, or Segawa's dystonia, is a genetic movement disorder which usually manifests itself during early childhood at around ages 5–8 years .Characteristic symptoms are increased muscle...
has the following symptoms (among others):
- near normal handwriting in infants/kindergarten years. (ages 3–5 school)
- poor handwriting in pre-teens years. (ages 8–11 school)
- very poor (worse) handwriting during teens years. (qv GCSE/A level-public exams)
- bad handwriting (worsening) during post-teens years. (qv university exams)
- very bad handwriting (still worsening) during adult years. (qv post-graduate exams)
- worsening pattern of sloppy handwriting best observed by school teachers via termly reports.