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Ask Marilyn: Why Are Signatures Often Illegible?

Anne Acevedo of Syracuse, New York, writes:

Marilyn: Why do so many people have illegible, stylized signatures while their general handwriting is quite readable?

Marilyn responds:

It saves time (and hand-effort) to write one's name that way, and people need to sign their names more often than they need to handwrite anything else. That said, people do so only when no one needs to actually read their signatures and decipher the names. When someone must read what we write—our names or anything else—we write much more legibly.



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