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idea to practice doing that), erase the last two letters written, "er," and holding the carriage back with the left hand, just half a space, strike the e, let the carriage go forward sufficiently, strike r and then the same performance for that "e" which had been neglected in the first place—putting three letters in two spaces. It is such a fascinating, useful trick that I try it often just for the sake of finding out whether I can do it so that it will pass detection! But of course you understand it should be used only in emergency cases because crowded letters are not considered good typewriting.
A SOLID TABLE
Speaking of that sort of crowded letter reminds me to tell you something along the same line. If your machine is out of alignment, one letter too close to another, look to the solidity of your table first, before you call for the repair man. No machine will do its best work if you have it on a shaky desk or an uneven floor. A typewriter must have a solid foundation to do itself justice—how any one can write with the machine on a swaying table is a mystery to me—it is not fair for the stenographer or the machine to have to turn out any kind of work under those circumstances.
CARE OF CARBON PAPER
If you are interested in turning out neat looking carbon copies (and it is only natural that you should be), and do a little economizing for your employer in addition, learn to take proper care of the carbon paper. It will dry out under the slightest provocation, so keep it far from a radiator or very warm dry places. If you can, let it stay in its original box, between waxy paper, and just as soon as you have finished with a sheet put it back with the rest. Even the air in some offices makes it dry and crinkly.
And now a little discovery which very few of you know about. Have you ever had occasion to draw horizontal or vertical lines for some special bit of tabulating work? If you have I should not wonder but what you hunted up a ruler and then made a more or less messy affair of it. Just do it on your typewriter! For the vertical lines hold down the apostrophe, keeping it close to the paper, and with the left hand roll the platen back and forth until you have the whole distinct line. For the horizontal lines use the hyphen in the same manner, moving your carriage across a few times. A simple, ingenious discovery, is it not?
In the many talks I have had with typists on my demonstrations, I have found, much to my regret, that a large majority of them are strangers to words. I mean by this, that, though it must be said with reluctance, most of the young people of America are not what could be called readers. They seem to be devoting more attention to the social side of life than they do to literature. To the typist who wishes to be well informed so that she will have a fair knowledge of almost anything that could be dictated to her, it is necessary, particularly if she has not had the advantages of a good education, to read almost everything available. The newspapers come first, and the more she reads of them the better informed she will find herself. Read something in addition to the headings on the articles—and read the editorials.
READING THE NEWSPAPERS
Business men often quote an applicable word or phrase from some author, or a sentence bearing on something which is being talked of in the papers, only to find the stenographer all confused because she never read that particular quotation or article. So read newspapers and books to keep well informed and up-to-date.
I am going to devote the greater part of this talk to "Words." This ought surely to be of great value to you. I will lead the lesson toward the condensation of vocabulary. Many of you who read this will not at first clearly understand what I mean, for, unless you have made a particular study of the words that are most used in the business world, you would be justified in thinking that they are as numerous as the sands of the sea. When you have obtained your first position in a business office, you will discover before long that the words you will be called upon to transcribe will probably not number 500 at the most. Just think of it—only five hundred words that you will have to learn in order to become a first rate amanuensis.