I've come across two versions of writing a capital G and a capital J in cursive. I cannot understand which one is correct because Wikipedia shows that the capital G from my textbook is, in fact, the capital J from Wikipedia and vice-versa.

Is it a mistake in my textbook or one can use them interchangeably and just needs to be consistent when deciding which one to use as a capital letter?

Here are examples from my textbook.

a capital G from my textbook a capital J from my textbook


Thanks. I've corrected my textbook.

screenshot of updated letters

  • 30
    Your text book is wrong. Oct 31, 2019 at 21:32
  • 5
    Neither cursive capital letter is recognisable to me as a letter of the English alphabet. I would not be able to read any text including those letters and I'm now curious about the other letter forms.
    – CJ Dennis
    Nov 1, 2019 at 7:05
  • 1
    It should be noted that outside of the US this handwriting is not used and not recognized.. I am German. We have other and quite a lot simpler styles and I always found the US style rather weird/convoluted/illegible..
    – TaW
    Nov 1, 2019 at 9:32
  • 3
    Personal anecdote: we were forced to use cursive in grade school in the 1980s while learning it, but once we started 6th grade, we were free to write however we liked as long as it was legible. The transition of my class in general from cursive back to printing looked like a textbook exponential decay.
    – chepner
    Nov 1, 2019 at 15:05
  • 2
    @CJDennis, I guess you are either under 30 or not American. Check out the letter Z in cursive. Q is a good one as well.
    – JPhi1618
    Nov 1, 2019 at 17:41

6 Answers 6


As an American who learned her cursive penmanship in the early 60s, I am shocked to see cursive capitals J and G, respectively, written that way. They seem to be switched in my humble opinion ("G" for "J", and vice-versa), but just the capitals; the lower case look fine.

Is it possible they write these differently in the UK? I would tend to doubt it. My opinion, strange as it seems, is that your book is in error, and Wikipedia is correct.

However, standard, uniform cursive penmanship has been de-emphasized in importance lately. In my part of the US, I think they have even stopped teaching it in elementary schools altogether. The way the letters are formed, especially capitals, are pretty individualized these days anyway, and a lot of people prefer to print, or even mix printing with some form of cursive that they find natural.

  • 9
    No I agree. The capitals look like they've been switched. The lower case letters are fine.
    – Andrew
    Oct 31, 2019 at 20:14
  • 1
    We don't use cursive at all in the UK. Nov 1, 2019 at 8:24
  • 6
    @Daniel, you might not use cursive, but we do use it in the UK!
    – Gamora
    Nov 1, 2019 at 9:55
  • 2
    @DanielRoseman I was certainly taught it attending school in the UK in the 90s/early 00s (although neither G nor J in the script I was taught had an upper case form resembling either of those shown in this question)
    – Chris H
    Nov 1, 2019 at 11:01
  • 3
    I was never taught "proper" cursive in the UK. I also went to (state) school in the late 90s/early 2000s. We were taught "joined-up handwriting" but this was little more than just print but joined up --- we never had fancy ways of writing capitals. I have no idea how typical my experience was.
    – Muzer
    Nov 1, 2019 at 13:47

As a Brit, I agree with the previous answer, that the capital letters are the wrong way round.

Here is an example picture which looks correct for all letters to me: Cursive Letters

It's worth mentioning that, although technically correct, I tend to use roman capitals (as mentioned by @JamesK) to avoid any confusion.

  • 6
    I'm in the US. That looks remarkably like the cursive letter chart that I learned from. There are very slight differences in the caps of the upper case T and F, but the rest is like the third grade chart. Not that I use cursive for anything any longer. Nov 1, 2019 at 11:15
  • 8
    That looks nothing like typically UK cursive handwriting. The typical handwriting style taught in UK schools joins up lower-case letters but the upper case letters are in a "printed" style without the pointless complications in this chart. I would class G I J Q and Z in the chart as "unreadable" and everything except C K P and R as "pretentious".
    – alephzero
    Nov 1, 2019 at 11:30
  • 1
    @alephzero We're not at school though, and op isn't just learning how to write for the first time
    – Gamora
    Nov 1, 2019 at 11:42
  • 3
    I feel like you're doing exactly what that post describes... The question was "what is the correct form of this capital in cursive" You're trying to answer "Should I be using cursive for my capitals"
    – Gamora
    Nov 1, 2019 at 14:02
  • 13
    Note the letters YyZz have loops below the bottom line. They seem to be cut off in the image.
    – aschepler
    Nov 1, 2019 at 14:42

In the Palmer Method (1888) the G has the form shown next to the J above. You can see that the G is just a big version of the g, with a hugely exaggerated back-and-forth motion for the tail. The Palmer Method emphasized muscle motion, and the exaggerated stroke led to more movement of the arm as well as giving the letter a more distinctive shape. Alphabet and numerals from The Palmer Method of Business Writing

  • I have no idea if the USA still teaches 150-year-old handwriting methods (which were devised to be effective before the era of ballpoint and fiber tip pens, for example) but the UK certainly does not.
    – alephzero
    Nov 1, 2019 at 11:43
  • 9
    I'm somewhat impressed that what I learned in the US in the early 1990s was nearly identical to this 1888 method. Nov 1, 2019 at 12:27
  • 3
    And this looks like what I learned in the late 60's in the US. Only the F looks unfamiliar.
    – Barmar
    Nov 1, 2019 at 15:31
  • 4
    That's definitely the style I learned in the 80's, with the "96" capital X and the "Weird-looking 2" capital Q. I didn't recognize the Q-ness of the Q until earlier this year.
    – notovny
    Nov 1, 2019 at 18:50
  • 3
    I believe grade-schoolers in the USA are also still taught how to record information using little sticks with graphite or oozy gunk inside them (which were devised to be effective before the era of computers and touch screens, for example)
    – A C
    Nov 2, 2019 at 1:06

The truth is there are actually many different ways to write cursive letters with none really being more correct than the other.

That being said, one of the most common styles used is D'Nealian cursive which is a cursive taught in elementary schools in the US when kids are first learning to write cursive letters.

Here is a G:

Capital cursive G videos and worksheet

Here is a J:

Capital cursive J videos and worksheet


And as an ex-South African I found both styles strange when I moved to North America, I almost freaked when my daughter started doing cursive and the some of the letters are written backwards and require more pen up, pen down actions than the system I (and it seems is still taught in South Africa)

Short answer, there is no "right" answer, there are easier and more legible versions. I will always prefer my G's and J's (and I's and S's and...)

Worksheet from South Africa School System

  • 2
    There may not be a "right" answer, but the OP's textbook is clearly wrong. Nov 1, 2019 at 23:11
  • I don’t recognize your capital G, but that’s the Q I drew as a child. Not the 2-Q from other answers. Nov 2, 2019 at 2:57

In my view, the main reason of good font is in its middle ground between understandability and charm. For example, below font's J is more recognizable in both cases(not G, though, in my opinion, this one (as some above) looks similar (lowercase one):

handwritten font alphabet and numbers Source

... and here G looks better:

handwritten font alphabet and numbers Source

Of course, second variant might be more formal than above fonts, but as I said, it is essential in some cases in my opinion. Though, merging these two fonts should not be difficult.

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