is copyright Michael Curtis 2010-2015. All Rights Reserved.



When I was a student, in lectures, students tried to write down notes about what the lecturer was saying. Portable voice recorders and similar devices let people record the audio of a lecture nowadays - and video it too. A fast typist could even bring a computer keyboard to a lecture and type the notes.

A shorthand system was most useful before that technology was common. One approach, in lectures, was to remove the vowels from much of a word so that it took less time to write. The skill is to leave in the vowels which are essential and strip out the ones which are not so that a re-read of the words still makes sense.

With my interest in memory techniques, I wanted a shorthand system which could also be used as a memory system for remembering quotes accurately in exams, etc. This article is the core of the shorthand system.

Typically, I am using 2 characters to represent words which are more than 2 characters long. These words tend to occur frequently in typical text. You could still use the vowel-stripping method mentioned earlier for words which are not in my collection.

why 0
how 1
because 2
what 3
for 4
where 5
or 6
when 7
and 8
if 9
a / an A
although A0
act A3
already A4
angle A5
around A6
also A7
anything A8
always AA
about AB
according AC
add AD
above AE
after AF
again AG
anyhow AH
aim AI
ask AK
all AL
anyone AO
able AP
arrange AR
as AS
at AT
order AU
avoid AV
anywhere AW
away AY
so B
best B0
be a B1
better B2
buy B3
before B4
bad B5
to be B6
to be a B7
to be the B8
be the B9
back BA
become BC
behind BD
be BE
because of BF
being BG
behave BH
big BI
below BL
bottom BM
been BN
both BO
borrow BR
bit BT
but BU
believe BV
between BW
her C
call C3
clear C4
change C5
cause C7
colour C8
carry C9
can CA
concern CC
could CD
correct CE
choose CH
certain CI
come CM
contain CO
compare CP
care CR
consider CS
these D
decide D1
do a D2
die D3
during D5
do the / does the D6
does a / did a D6
doubt D8
did the D9
day DA
direct DC
did DD
differ [maybe different also] DF
doing DG
difficult DI
done DN
do DO
depend DP
direction DR
Due [meanings: pending/due to] DU
down DW
they E
-ed to E2
either E3
ever E6
everything E8
each EC
enter EE
effect EF
enough EH
else EL
end EN
specially EP
easy ES
etc. ET
even EV
everywhere EW
exclude EX
every EY
this F
fear F2
find F3
fast F4
few F5
fair F6
favour F8
far F9
fact FA
feel FE
fine FI
from FM
follow FO
further FR
false FS
front FT
future FU
favourite FV
fix FX
something G
grow G3
great G4
general G6
gap GA
good GD
get GE
give GI
gone GN
go GO
group GR
got GT
guess GU
he [/him] H
hard H0
here H1
hardly H3
who H5
hold H6
high H7
happen H9
have HA
had HD
help HL
however HO
hope HP
hear HR
happy HY
I or me I
its I2
it's I3
I'll I4
into I5
it will I6
it is I7
it was I8
information I9
idea IA
include IC
if IF
imagine IG
inside II
I'm IM
in IN
intend / intent/ intention IO
important IP
is IS
it IT
involve IV
those J
journey J1
justice J8
job JB
join JO
justify JS
just JU
that K
key K0
keep K1
knew K5
almost K7
anybody K9
kind KI
kind of K3
know KN
his L
late L0
leave L1
lie L3
listen L4
likely L7
level L8
large L9
last LA
let LE
like LK
left LF
little LI
look L5
limit LM
lend LN
less LS
lot LT
love LU
live LV
lose LZ
my M
may MA
mean M1
main M3
maybe M5
more M7
many MN
me ME
much MH
middle MI
major MJ
make MK
most MO
measure MS
might MT
must MU
move MV
my / mine MY
no N
nature N0
need N1
negative N2
new N5
note N6
nor N7
now NA
number NB
nice NC
next NE
nothing NG
neither NH
night NI
name NM
none NN
near NR
not NT
never NV
nowhere NW
nobody NY
other O
of a O1
opinion O2
only O3
outside O4
once O5
out O7
of the O9
odd OD
one OE
of OF
off OG
old OL
opposite OP
or OR
onto OT
over OV
owe OW
it is P
pay P0
piece P1
perhaps P2
piece P3
place P4
poor P7
purpose P8
part PA
problem PB
person PE
point PN
possible PO
put PU
positive PV
any Q
could have Q0
is a Q1
are a Q2
quite Q3
is the Q4
are the Q5
can the Q6
could the Q7
could you Q9
quick QK
question QU
another R
reach R0
read R1
ready R2
result R4
around R6
rest R7
regular R8
rather RA
receive RC
recommend RD
relate RE
refer RF
regard RG
right RI
real RL
remember RM
result RO
respect RS
return RT
run RU
reverse RV
really RY
reason RZ
some S
stage S0
see S1
sell S2
show S3
stop S4
soon S5
some of S6
shall S7
sound S8
say S9
same SA
somebody SB
success SC
should SD
since SE
safe SF
sign SG
somehow SH
similar SI
subject SJ
still SL
smell SM
someone SN
so SO
specific SP
start SR
sense SS
sometimes ST
such SU
somewhere SW
say SY
size SZ
it T
than T0
to a T1
two T2
type T3
then T4
too T5
true T6
talk T7
touch T8
to the T9
take T0
test TE
thing TG
think TK
tell TL
time TM
to TO
top TP
times TS
try TU
typical TY
our U
unknown U3
unless U4
unusual U5
usual U7
understand UD
use UE
useful UF
up UP
under UR
us US
until UT
usually UY
the V
various V0
view V4
variety V9
value VA
very VE
visit VI
we [/us] W
wait W0
weak W1
went W2
why W3
while W4
wish W5
work W7
whereas W8
watch W9
want WA
which WC
would WD
we WE
wrong WG
whether WH
with WI
will WL
want WO
word WR
was WS
without WT
wonder WU
will the WV
way WY
there X
their or theirs X0
may be X1
might be X2
is a / are a X3
is the X4
was a / were a X5
was the X6
there is a X7
there was a X8
there has been X9
there can XB
to be a XC
to be the XD
could be a XF
could be the XG
it could be XH
it would be XJ
it will be XK
it should be XL
you Y
yet Y1
yesterday Y2
you'd Y3
you'll Y4
you Y5
are you Y6
you're Y7
you've Y9
yes YE
yourself YF
your YO
yours YS
young YU
too Z
slow ZL
whose Z2
was a Z3
was the Z4
whom Z5
sort Z6
sort of Z7
type of Z6

The shorthand system was adjusted in August 2007 to allow images which represent 2 words. This was done by considering that the images for 00, 01, 02, ... 98, 99 [00 to 99] could all represent a pair of words if the first digit occurs in a list of 10 words and the second digit occurs in another list of 10 words:

First digit represents these possibilities:

0 you

1 he

2 she

3 we

4 they

5 there

6 I

7 this

8 that

9 it

Second digit represents these possibilities:

0 is / are

1 has / have

2 want

3 had

4 can

5 could

6 will

7 should

8 would

9 were

So, 23 is 'she' followed by 'had': 'she had'.

94 is 'there / where' followed by 'can': 'there can' or 'where can' [deduced from the context].

Another adaption is to allow a digit and a letter to represent 2 words; the intention is to create an image library to represent 0A, 3D, and so on [a digit followed by a letter].

First digit represents these possibilities:

0 why / from

1 how

2 because / with

3 what

4 for

5 where

6 or / through

7 when / on / in

8 and

9 if / of / by

The letter represents these possibilities:

A a / an

B so / such

C she / her

D these

E they / them

F this

G something

H he / him

I I / me

J those

K that

L his

M my

N no / not

O other

P its / it's

Q any

R another

S some

T it

U our

V the

W we / us

X their / there/ they are

Y you

Z to / too

9R is 'if / of / by' followed by 'another':

'if another'; or

'of another'; or

'by another'

[deduced from the context]

Two Other 100's

Here are another 10 options which could be represented by digits 0 to 9 :

has / have

was / were









And the second digit of a 00 to 99 number can come from:

0 you

1 he

2 she

3 we

4 they

5 there

6 I

7 this

8 that

9 it

eg. 00 could be 'have you'. Another 00 to 99 image system could reverse this so that 00 is 'you have'.