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I am filling out some employment forms and came across the following sentence that I don't fully understand:

Print your full legal name, address, date of birth and social security number. Please don’t type this information.

I am not sure what is the difference between print and type here. I assume this is related to printing using a printer vs printing by hand? Which is which?

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3 Answers

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Print your name means write it by hand.

Please don't type... means you shouldn't use a typewriter (or a printer, as others have mentioned).

The important distinction is that 'print' is by done by hand, 'type' is done mechanically.

Since you're filling out what will become a legal document (of some kind) you should write legibly in a hand which can be shown to be yours. Anyone could type your name, so it's not acceptable.

To be as legible as possible, don't use cursive handwriting.

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Typewriter? Are there still any left? I think OP's form must either be very old stock, or nobody's bothered to check the wording of the instructions for decades. But you're quite right, of course. Printed handwriting is identifiable for the purpose of authenticating documents. –  FumbleFingers Jul 18 '11 at 4:07
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@pavium: excellent answer, but it’s important to point out (as other answers do) that “print” means not just “write by hand”, but a specific style of writing: separate letters, not cursive. –  PLL Jul 18 '11 at 7:17
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Yes, I was about to add this to the answer. –  pavium Jul 18 '11 at 7:28
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Print, here, means use "print" (use of block lettering) as opposed to "cursive". Type is meant to refer to a computer or typewriter.

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Print as a verb in instructions on how to complete a form generally means to write by hand in block letters (not cursive).

Type would refer to using a typewriter or electrical printer, so in this case, your form should be completed by hand.

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