I'm learning English as a foreign language and I'm trying to improve my handwriting style. My native language (Persian) is not written through Latin alphabets and I'm not familiar with shaping the letters.

When I searched for handwriting styles I only came across complicated cursive calligraphy. I like cursive writing but I guess it's recommended to avoid it since it is harder to read or for some other reason I'm not aware of.

I'm thinking more of a block letter writing style but I don't want to stand out with a weird handwriting or something that native people would call not normal and frown upon. And I'm looking to learn how to shape the words like native people which could result in increasing my writing speed.

  • I read that cursive writing is not taught anymore in the schools of native speakers, Is that right?
  • Is there a style of writing that is encouraged or is believed to be the ideal and best way of writing and is recommended for English students to learn? (Which probably explains where and in which direction start shaping the letter or other details)

If yes, could you also mention what was the reasoning behind this selection?

  • 1
    Welcome to ELL.SE. I'm not sure that this on topic, but unlike some writing systems there is no single definitive way to form the characters used in English (no stroke order, for example) and there are many different systems of cursive writing, the popularity of which varies by locale and era. A basic web search should turn up articles from Wikipedia and elsewhere that cover some of the controversy; teaching children to write is not only about written communication but about building fine motor skills, hand eye coordination, and finger strength.
    – choster
    Sep 30, 2018 at 15:52
  • I don't know whether it is still taught in schools, but you might look for an elementary school writing textbook (I saw a couple of examples on ebay, or check with your local bookstore). Also a local elementary school (if they teach English) might have some old textbooks. You might add to your question in what scenario you would be using such cursive writing.
    – user3169
    Sep 30, 2018 at 21:43
  • Do you mean printing (non-cursive) style?
    – Davo
    Oct 5, 2018 at 13:10
  • 2
    I think that the question of whether there is a recommended handwriting style for EFL students is something we could answer, so I’m going to reopen this. Is it useful for someone learning English to learn cursive or can they learn to print and not stick out as non-native? Think about how you might have this same question if you were learning a language that doesn’t use the English alphabet.
    – ColleenV
    Oct 18, 2018 at 19:31

3 Answers 3


I'm a native speaker, but I still remember learning how to write.

From the very beginning, I was taught how to print (i.e. non cursive writing). Cursive, on the other hand, was very briefly taught in fourth grade (when everyone was 9 or 10 years old). My school didn't require us to write in cursive except when we were learning it. As a result, I don't use cursive except for signing my name. It's very, very, very rare that I have to read anything written in cursive so I'm not very good at reading it either.

I went to public school. Catholic schools are notorious for really requiring students to learn and use cursive. The students in my class that used cursive almost always originally went to Catholic school.

From what I've read online, think that cursive is being pushed out of the curriculum for some schools so they have time for things that are more important, but this will heavily depend on the school. See Cursive handwriting is disappearing from public schools for more info. They no longer teach cursive at the school I went to, in fact.

One thing in particular I remember doing when I was little was practicing writing on worksheets like these:


There are different ways letters can be written, and this shows one valid way. Here is one for cursive letters. If you have a laminated sheet you can use dry erase markers on the same sheet over and over again. Some worksheets have sentences for you to trace. Then we practiced on blank sheets (see for example the "handwriting paper" here). The last step is to switch to regular lined paper, imagining the middle dotted line being invisible.

  • 1
    The clerk who filled out my marriage license had lovely cursive “hand”. I think that similar to calligraphy, it’s not terribly useful compared to being able to touch or thumb type but can be nice to know. I agree the worksheet you’ve linked would be best to start out with for a learner because more people will be able to read it with minimal effort, and even ancients like me learned to print before learning cursive.
    – ColleenV
    Oct 18, 2018 at 19:44

Like others, I remember learning to write, and being told that it was "wrong" to write the letter 'o' clockwise (the reason is that you use the same motion for 'o', 'c', 'a' and other letters, so you write them all anticlockwise.) However, I was taught "joined up" from the start.

Most schools in England will teach children to write "joined up". While there is variation between teachers the writing style tends to be a version of the "italic" styles, based on a motion of strong slightly forward-slanting downstrokes and lighter diagonal upstrokes. Letters (but not capitals) in a word are joined, but this is not "cursive" as it would have been taught in American schools.

A common course is the "Nelson Handwriting Course" from Oxford. Note this is aimed at primary school pupils, not adults.

Icelandic calligrapher Gunnlaugur SE Briem has pages on Italic for adults.

His model is illustrated below:

enter image description here

Using a style like enter image description here will make your writing look child-like. These shapes are hard to write. The circular forms are difficult to make accurately. If written perfectly, it will look like printed text for 5-year-olds. If written quickly it will look like a mess.


Your two basic choices are block letter and cursive, but a requirement for students' handwriting is that it be legible.

So, you should use whichever is easier for the teacher to read.

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