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Illegible writing contradicts purpose of language

Language is amazing. This ability we have to communicate with one another at such a high level of complexity is what makes us special as humans; language is beautiful. Beautiful, that is, until you see it in the writing of a typical high school student.

The handwriting of most people is, quite frankly, atrocious. Despite this being a simple skill learned in primary school and developed tirelessly year after year, many people are unable to write legibly. This is a problem that can be easily fixed with slow, patient writing and determination to improve, but it rarely is because people do not take initiative to do so. This leads to a wide array of problems.

For one, it is incredibly disrespectful for a student to turn in illegible work to a teacher. Teachers are not meant to be translators that can decipher the hieroglyphics that students submit as work and they should not have to carry the burden of a student’s inability to write. It is ridiculous to presume that mature young adults are incapable of learning how to write at even the most basic legibility standard, and as such, turning in illegible work is a signal to the teacher that the student does not care enough about the class to put in sufficient effort.

Many students will argue that it is not important to have decent handwriting, that as long as they can read their own writing, there is no need to improve. This kind of view runs counter to the entire purpose of language in the first place. Writing is, at its core, a form of communication—not just with oneself, but with others as well. If someone’s handwriting fails to be legible to others, then its purpose is lost.

Furthermore, some students believe that handwriting is a talent, not a skill, and that they cannot learn to improve it. While it is true that some are more naturally adept at writing than others, the notion that it is impossible to improve is a misguided one. As someone with impeccable handwriting myself, I can attest to the benefit of practicing writing. I was once a lost soul who could not communicate his words on paper, but through practice, I became a calligrapher.

The way we communicate with one another is essential in our world and it is ridiculous that some of us are not able to do so clearly through writing. There are simply no excuses for not improving one’s handwriting when there are no benefits to having poor penmanship.

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