Banking Vocabulary (12 February
Gold, silver, copper, brass, nickel, paper, virtual, funny, Monopoly and
I have been browsing the literature offered by banks to existing
and prospective customers. I am glad to say that the* information is
presented in a very clear and friendly manner, with none of the
condescending or superior* overtones that such material might have had
many years ago. Nevertheless, there are many terms that are not part of
everyday ordinary speech and, to add to the shorthand writer’s*
difficulties (or should I say challenges) they often appear in long
strings or compound words, thus increasing the density of the text, from
a shorthand point of view*. If you work in that industry, then you would
no doubt wish to create your own brief* phrases, probably omitting a
syllable or two, or using intersections. Whether or not* that is the
case, you need to know the full outlines as they may occur in a
different combination or order.
Throughout: "account" "amount" Keep the M well curved, so that these two
are as different as possible.
* Omission phrase "I am glad (to) s(ay) that the" short(hand) writer's"
"point (of) view" "whether (or) not"
* "superior" Dictionary outline, use the dash vowel if you prefer the
* "brief" Always insert the vowel, so it is not misread as "number of"
I am certain that a bank’s perfect customer is one who takes full
advantage of the services of their financial planning manager. This
course of action will be of benefit if you have sole or joint savings
over a certain threshold*. They will talk to you about your present
financial needs and your plans and expectations for the future. They
will recommend the next step you should take and ways of protecting your
family, income and ability to handle your liabilities. They will give
advice on building a portfolio of investments and also discuss with you
the options available when buying a property, planning for your
children’s education, taking out trust and protection plans, putting
some of your income aside, obtaining insurance or critical illness
cover, retirement plans and inheritance tax matters.
* "threshold" Original correct pronunciation has no H sound =
thresh+old, but often spoken with one, due to the influence of the
You can make an appointment to meet them in branch or in the comfort of
your own home and they will guide you every step of the way. Their
recommendations of products are likely to be restricted to the companies
with which they have chosen to work. They will explain* the basics and
tailor the plans to suit your circumstances. Every investment leaflet
you read will no doubt emphasise the disclaimer that “The value of
investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back the money
originally invested.” Financial protection minimises the impact of
accidents, illness, bereavements and other unexpected events, such as
legal or medical costs, or funeral expenses.
* "explain" In this position the L hook on the stroke P is necessarily
more angular, if you tried to make it rounded it would be barely
If you do not feel the need for personalised financial advice, you may
prefer to take advantage of the range of online services to help with
your planning and decisions. You can take out a protection product to
make sure your loved ones can cope financially if something unexpected
happens to you. If you decide that this is the right way for you to
proceed, then online services are quick and secure to use. You have
worked hard for your money and the products offered can help your money
to work hard for you. Your bank will recommend the services of
carefully* selected investment and insurance companies, to make your
financial goals a reality.
* "carefully" Normally the optional contraction "care-f" is enough, but
here it helps to be able to put the dot after the L
Preparation done well in advance will save time later on when
considering the options open to you. You could* make a budget planner
list of your income and outgoings*, and get the exact details from the
paperwork for insurance policies, life assurance and endowment policies,
pensions, savings and investments, loans, credit cards, overdrafts and
mortgage. You can then work out your priorities and goals for securing
your future, the possible risks and the charges for services that you
buy from the bank. If you have vision or hearing difficulties, the bank
will supply leaflets in Braille, large print or audio format*, and you
might need to contact them by “Textphone” or “TypeTalk”. You should be
aware that calls to the bank will be recorded for security or training
* "you could" Write separately, as phrasing these would be too much like
* "outgoings" Does not use the short form
* "format" Always insert the vowel of the second syllable, so it is not
misread as "form"
Valuable, gleaming, precious, useful skill
A savings review can help you make the most of the money you wish to set
aside and find the account or product that best meets your need. Banks
like to reward* existing customers with exclusive savings accounts and
higher interest and bonuses, as the amount invested increases. Some
services can be opened and used immediately, such as deposit accounts,
personal loans, credit cards and insurance schemes. Other accounts, such
as investment accounts that carry higher interest or special rates and
privileges, often require you to meet their eligibility* criteria, such
as having been a customer for at least a year, or holding a current
account with monthly deposits of a certain amount*. In the UK we have
the ISA* which stands for Individual Savings Account. The interest is
paid tax free and there is an annual deposit allowance which cannot be
exceeded. This was quite popular in its early years when interest rates
were much higher.
* "reward" One of the few words that omits showing the R sound, likewise
others ending in "-ward" and also "reword"
* "eligibility" Helpful to insert the first vowel to make reading back
easier, even though "legibility" would not make sense here.
* Omission phrase "certain (am)ount" This word is shortened only in this
fairly common phrase, so not recommended in other situations
* “ISA” This is an acronym i.e. it can be pronounced, therefore write as an outline
rather than longhand letters
Instant access savings provide the flexibility of easy withdrawal, but
as might be expected the interest paid is minimal. Limited access
savings accounts encourage longer* term saving, and if you do not mind
limiting the number of your withdrawals each year, there is the
potential for higher yields. Some investments must be locked away for as
much as 6 years to gain the maximum amount of interest, but they should
be carefully investigated to assess the possible risk factor involved,
both in safety of the money invested and in your likely circumstances
after all those years. With a Fixed Rate Bond you save for a fixed
period to obtain a potentially* higher return, as long as you are happy
to make no further deposits or withdrawals during its term. Charges may
apply on closure of such an account before the end of its term. Junior*
savings accounts can be opened by children and young people. Some they
can manage themselves from age 7, others are managed by their parents or
guardians, which they can access when they are of age, which in the UK
is 18 years.
* "longer term" Keep the Inger really long and not phrased with "term",
and always phrase "long term", in order to keep these two looking as
different as possible
* "potentially" Needs the final dot, as "potential" also makes sense
* "junior" Note the placement of the intervening diphone, if you choose to
A current account is for regular money transactions, such as paying in
wages or cash, transferring balances between your different accounts,
purchasing on your credit or contactless card, and payments to others by
standing order* or direct debits for regular items such as mortgage,
household bills, repayments on loans and normal day-to-day purchases.
Some banks offer a reasonable rate of interest if a regular specified*
amount is paid in each month. Accounts can be operated in branch,
online, by telephone or using the appropriate app on your mobile device,
with text alerts when the balance is low. Cheques are still used but not
to the extent they once were. Overdraft amounts can be arranged, which
may be subject to a usage fee. A basic account, without cheque book or
overdraft facilities, may be available for those with a low income, such
as younger people not yet in employment.
* Omission phrase "stand(ing) order"
* "specified" Insert the diphthong, so it does not look like "specific"
when written hastily, which has a similar meaning
A personal loan may be taken out to fund a large purchase such as home
buying or improvements, education, a wedding or a new car. During the
application process, all your individual circumstances will be taken
into account and you will be advised on the borrowing options for which
you might be eligible. The bank may require that you have a current
account with them, make regular monthly deposits and have a good credit
rating from your past transactions, either with them or another lender.
You will probably need to be a resident citizen of the country and be
over a certain age. Some banks offer an online calculator so you can get
a better idea before you start the application process, which may incur
an arrangement fee. The interest rate you pay will vary according to
the* time period of the loan (short term, medium term or long term), the
amount borrowed and possibly other criteria as well. Early settlement
may incur an extra charge, such as an additional 30 days’ interest
payable by you to the bank.
* Omission phrase "according (to) the". Strictly speaking the "ing"
part is omitted because that word is a short form, not because of the
I want the chocolate one
A mortgage is a legal agreement whereby a loan, generally for purchasing
property, uses the borrower’s title to the property as security for the
unpaid balance of the loan. It literally means “death pledge” as the
agreement does not “die” until it is entirely paid up. A mortgage
valuation* is a type of property assessment to ascertain the true value
of the house, carried out* by a valuation surveyor, in order to
calculate the amount of mortgage that can be taken against it. If the
house value goes down, it would not cover repayment and this is called
negative equity. You may have seen a jolly advert* for house-buying
loans that end with the rapidly and more quietly muttered words “Your
house may be at risk or repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on
your mortgage”, a warning not to take on this type of transaction or
commitment lightly or beyond your means. The bank itself may advise you
to consider* all borrowing options carefully and seek independent
advice. You will be required to insure* the property against damage and
loss, as it is the means of repaying the loan should you get into
* "valuation" is a short form
* "carried out" Halving for the T
* "advert" Insert the first vowel, as it is similar in shape and same
meaning as the contraction "advertisement"
* Omission phrase "to (con)sider"
* "insure" means to take out a policy. "Ensure" means to make certain
that you do something.
If you are a victim of online banking fraud, depending on the laws in
your country, the bank may be required by law to refund the money back
into your account immediately. Any such fraud that you notice or suspect
should be reported to the bank immediately, who will cancel your card
and issue another. It is then their responsibility* to investigate the
matter, pursue the criminal and the funds stolen, and if necessary
improve their own security measures, in order to protect their
customers’ accounts. Even a small or insignificant amount lost to online
theft should be reported, as details of that transaction may provide
certain identifying information that enables the fraud investigators to
track down the criminal, which may lead to uncovering their other crimes
as well. Your own part in staying secure is never to share internet
passwords, always log out of accounts when finished, avoid internet
cafes or libraries for financial matters, and always report to your bank
any phishing* emails asking you to give or verify your personal and
* Avoiding using the contraction, to prevent misreading as "response"
which also makes sense here, see further explanation on
* "phishing" Insert the wavy line underneath to flag up this word as not
being "fishing" if you felt you needed a reminder to use the PH spelling
Finally, a very important part of* any banking leaflet can be found at
the end of the last page, just next to the part telling you that it is
printed on paper from responsibly managed and sustainable sources, using
biodegradable vegetable inks. It says, “When you have finished with this
leaflet please recycle* it,” just like you do with your old filled-up
shorthand practice pads, after you have extracted all the notes in the
margins and transferred them to your more permanent notebook of outlines
that need extra attention and drilling. One last thing you can do with
the bank leaflets is to write shorthand over all the words in biro
(because of the smooth paper) using the margins or spare spaces if
necessary. You will then pick up on any extra terms not found in this
article, to add to your vocabulary.
* Omission phrase "very important part (of)" The "of" is omitted so that
"part" when written like this does not look like "number of". "Part of"
when used alone does use the F/V hook, because it is using the whole
outline for "part".
* "recycle" The Circle S and L Hook have to be more angular
Your investment of time, brainpower, and ink and paper in your shorthand
studies, or indeed any self-improvement educational venture, cannot be
affected by the vagaries of the financial markets, fluctuating interest
rates, Wall Street crashes, credit crunches or online fraud or scams*,
and there is no upfront application fee to pay beforehand*. Your
(shorthand) increase will be beyond the reach of the taxman, your
valuable reserve of knowledge and outlines will not be subject to
capital gains tax or inheritance tax, and you can give your skills to
others without incurring any decrease in your own supply. When your
financial planning manager asks you what rate you would be happy with,
you can confidently say “At the moment, 120 words per minute would be
rather nice, thank you very much.” (1956 words)
* "scams" Write clearly above line, and inserting the dot helps, compare
"schemes" which has a similar meaning
* Omission phrase "before(ha)nd
Some gold is best kept at home in a mug
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Early Spring (14 February 2015)
Last month, in the middle of January, I did a blog about winter finally
arriving in my part of the* UK, after several months of mild weather.
Well, I have to eat my words slightly. Since that time we have had
daffodils flowering here and there*, and in the last week* very many
more opening and giving us most of the normal March show of bloom.
Swathes of yellow have appeared in some places, which generally seem to
be those that are warmer because of their sheltered position and the
amount of sun they get. The crocuses are also all out and adding to the
show. I had been rather hoping that this early flowering would slow to a
halt, so that we can get through our cold weather, and then start again
about the middle of March, in order that they can be enjoyed in warm
conditions, and not just noticed as yellow patches seen briefly from the
cosy interior of the bus, as it speeds past the gardens, verges and
* Omission phrase "in my part (of) the" Hook is not used for the "of" as
that would look too much like "number of"
* Omission phrases "here and there" "last (w)eek"
This is all very minor compared to the snow storms that we have been
watching in the news reports in the last month, covering large areas of
the United States*, with scenes of blizzards, gales and white-outs, and
householders digging deep channels through the drifts so they can get
from their front door to the roadway. The UK has been getting the tail
end of some of these storms, in the form of high winds and heavy rain,
snow in the northern areas, and flooding in some places. For those who
have to stay indoors and hide from the blizzards for a while, it becomes
an enforced snow holiday. I was particularly amused to see the video of
a man dressed as a dinosaur, clearing snow from the pathway, and he
looked as if he would get quite warm in the outfit. Piled up snow leaves
the occupants confined to the house but at least sheltered, but seeing
reports of the areas that suffered flooding as well was very
uncomfortable viewing, as the icy grey water invaded the buildings, with
no possibility* of a rapid clean-up and repair afterwards, due to the
* "United States" Continue with a stroke K for "United States of
* "possibility" Optional contraction
* “freezing” and “frozen” Always insert the vowel
We are back to colder weather now with overnight frosts, which I am
selfishly glad about, as I am hoping that my apple trees do not get
fooled into swelling their* buds too soon, only to be damaged by cold
and frost later on. If the buds survive and the trees blossom early,
then the apple crop may still fail because of the lack of insects for
pollination. The same problem would be affecting the commercial orchards
as well, resulting in greatly reduced cropping. From my own gardening
point of view*, this would be merely annoying but it would have the
advantage of giving the trees a rest from fruiting, with a greater crop
next year. However, that may lead to them getting into the two year
cycle of fruiting and resting, so thinning out at an early stage is
necessary, to ensure there is something each year.
* "swelling their" Doubling for "their"
* Omission phrase "point (of) view"
I am beginning to wonder if the untimely blossoming will mean I have to
admire it all from the relative warmth of the greenhouse or maybe do my
rapid tour of inspection of the garden, with camera in hand, so that the
early plants can be seen instead more comfortably and in more detail on
the computer screen, with my feet sunk into the warm foot rest cushion
underneath the desk. We are expecting to see a few short-lived
snowflakes or sleety showers tomorrow, so it looks like I might have to
eat my words yet again. (612 words)
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Success Story (23 February 2016)
Dear Sirs, I am responding to your advertisement* on your website and I
should like to apply for the position of Assistant to the Director of
Publications. I attach my application form, my CV and copies of my
school and college certificates as requested. If selected for interview,
I would be able to travel to London at any time* suitable to yourselves.
I look forward to hearing from you regarding this position and if you
require any further information*, I will be most happy to provide
whatever you need to know. Yours sincerely*, Chris Brown
* "advertisement" Contraction, keep the V proper length, compare with
the similar normal outline "advert" which has a halved V
* "at any time" Avoid phrasing "at no time", or, if you have already
written it as a phrase, put in the vowel for "no"
* Omission phrases "further (informa)tion" "Yours (sin)cerely"
Dear Chris, I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your application form
for the position of Assistant to the Director of Publications. I am
pleased to inform you that you have been selected for interview on
Tuesday 29 March at 10.30 am at our offices in Bond Street, London, at
the address given below. Please bring with you your portfolio of work
and the originals of your certificates, and check in at Reception who
will guide you to our suite on the third floor. Your interview will last
about an hour, and you are welcome to take lunch in our restaurant
afterwards if you wish. We look forward to seeing you then. Yours
sincerely*, Sam Green
* Omission phrase "Yours (sin)cerely"
Dear Chris, Thank you for attending the
interview for the above position last Tuesday. I am delighted to inform
you that you have been accepted for the position, subject to receipt of
satisfactory references. Assuming these are all in order, your start
date will be Monday 18 April. Please report in at 8.30 am, ready for the
short induction presentation that we are giving to several new employees
that morning. Our accountant will be sending you the details of your
salary, benefits and options, and we will be sending you your parking
permit by separate post. We look forward very much to working with you
and hope that you enjoy your new career with us. If you have any
questions* before then, do not hesitate to contact me. Yours sincerely,
* "questions" Optional contraction
* Omission phrase "Yours (sin)cerely"
Dear Tom, Great news! I have been accepted for that job in the city and
they will be sending you the reference form quite soon. Thanks for
offering to be one of my referees, I really appreciate it. It’s* going
to be great to use all those qualifications that I studied for at
college, and get to grips with life in a busy office. It seems all those
hours spent studying are really paying off now. I have enjoyed my time
in my present job but I felt it was time to take another step closer to
my chosen career goal. This job is something I have been looking for and
working towards for quite some time, and I am so glad that I took the
college course in journalism*. I will let you know how I get on. Thanks
again for your help. Kind regards, Chris
* "it's" Always insert the vowels in apostrophied phrases
* "journalism" Optional contraction, see full outline in next paragraph.
Be consistent with whichever you choose to use, although both shown here
for example purposes.
Dear Mr Pitman, I trust this finds you well. I am writing to thank you
for all your help on my journalism course at the college over the last
year. I enjoyed all the subjects, and my passes at 80 and 100 words a
minute in shorthand are entirely due to your wonderful classes and all
the constant encouragement you gave me and all the students. I didn’t*
know at the time just how useful it would be, and now that I have my
certificates, I sure am glad you helped us to “go the extra mile”. After
a few months in a small office in the village, getting used to the nine
to five day, I am thrilled to tell you that I have now been offered a
job as reporting assistant in a publishing firm in central London. It
really was worth doing that course, and I hope that all your future
students enjoy your shorthand classes as much as I did. I hope to see
you when I come back for extra speed classes, when I shall be aiming to
get to 150. With best wishes*, Chris Brown
* "didn't" Always insert vowels in apostrophied phrases. In this case,
if you omit the dot, it would read "did not".
* "best wishes" Upward Ish for convenience of joining
Memo* to Chris: I just want to say you did a great job with writing the
summary of last week’s* meeting. Mr James was quite impressed with its
accuracy and I have to say he is not easily pleased, so well done.
Regarding next week’s* reporting assignment* at the Palace, Mr Smith
cannot attend as planned so I have put your name in the diary for this.
It is a very important event and you are the only one who is likely to
be able to keep up with it all. The week after that, we have some high
level meetings with our overseas directors and you are down to do those
as well. Do you think you can manage with three or four people speaking
together? They will be talking about the new publicity campaign, and as
well as a report of proceedings, I would like you to mock* up some
advert examples after the meeting. By the way, the staff pay review
letters are due to arrive any moment now, if you have time in your busy
day to sit down and read it! John Black (869 words)
* "Memo" is an abbreviation for "memorandum" which comes from the Latin
for "That which is to be remembered"
* Omission phrases "last (w)eek's" "ne(k)s(t w)eek's"
* "assignment" Contraction that omits the N
* "mock up" Insert the vowel, and not phrased with the "to", to avoid
looking like "make up" which has a similar meaning
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Language Quotes (24 February 2016)
I hope you are enjoying the language*
element of your shorthand studies. If you are fortunate enough to also
be in control of the content of your transcript, then you can hone and
use all your language skills to produce clear readable matter, to the
complete satisfaction of your employer. This will* increase your value to them, and add to your
reputation for turning out an accurate, apt and concise final document.
* "language" This short form is the same as "owing"
* "this will" Downward L for ease of joining
Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean
and make sure your sentence couldn't mean anything else. C. S. Lewis
The chief virtue that language can have is clearness, and nothing
detracts from it so much as the use of unfamiliar words. Hippocrates
The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap
between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns, as it were*,
instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish
squirting out ink. George Orwell
But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.
It is literally the case that learning languages makes you smarter. The
neural networks in the brain strengthen as a result* of language
learning. Michael Gove
* Omission phrases "as it (w)ere" "as (a) result"
What I take from writers I like is their economy - the ability to use
language to very effective ends. The ability to have somebody read
something and see it, or for somebody to paint an entire landscape of
visual imagery with just sheets of words - that's magical. Mos Def
Words may be false and full of art; sighs are the natural language of
the heart. Thomas Shadwell
Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
The four most beautiful words in our common language: I told you so.
The most beautiful words in the English language are “not guilty.” Maxim
Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two
most beautiful words in the English language. Henry James (332 words)
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