Sometimes in archaic books and in different scrolls, books and texts in old games I meet the letter "s" resembling a sail (Wikipedia article here calls it the cursive form).

S - cursive form

Is it still used in present day English and do people write it this way?

Is it much less popular than the standard shape?

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    Your profile says that you are Russian. This way of writing 's' is much like the way the Cyrillic letter 'г' is written like a backwards Latin 's' in script writing, and it's about as commonly used as the г as backwards-s. I must admit that I found this very confusing when I first visited a country using the Cyrillic alphabet - I thought I had learned the alphabet and how to pronounce Bulgarian, but when I got to Bulgaria there were all these weird, unexpected script letters! Commented Nov 24, 2017 at 22:48
  • Good question, Alexander. They're the cursive S's. Cursive letters are still used in Present Day English, but cursive writing in general is falling into disuse. I know how to read it and write it, but I seldom use it except to sign my name, whereas my two little cousins, who are 13 and 10, only know how to sign their names in it because their mother has taught them how to do that, but they cannot read it or write it. It's not taught anymore in most schools in the US.
    – Nick
    Commented Nov 25, 2017 at 6:39
  • I actually like the way it looks. I might try to learn it if I have time. Commented Nov 25, 2017 at 8:24
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    If you have Microsoft Word, I think you can change the font to a "cursive style" as rjpond has stated above. You may want to try that.
    – Nick
    Commented Nov 25, 2017 at 17:46

1 Answer 1


There are different ways to write in English. You have indeed found the cursive form of the letter "s", and cursive is a whole separate way of writing letters that resemble the "printed" English letters. Cursive was commonly used in past documents but is not very prominent today. Cursive is no longer taught in many schools but some still do use it for essays and such (though typing is much preferred to cursive). Today, cursive is dying out. While it's worth a look, you don't need to memorize the cursive letters.

It appears that some states are trying to bring cursive back. And yes, older generations still use cursive (I think that a lot of people born after 2000 don't commonly use it, but I'm just basing this off of my own observations of myself and the people around me).

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    In my state of Ohio, there is a bill in the legislature that, if it should pass, will make it mandatory that cursive be taught.
    – Nick
    Commented Nov 24, 2017 at 20:15
  • I'm impressed, Daniel. My cousin is 13 and she can't write in cursive except for her name. At least you can recognize it.
    – Nick
    Commented Nov 25, 2017 at 6:44

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