I can't recall the name of the standard writing stroke in the English script. Apologies in advance if this is off topic.

This stroke is the single vertical stroke fundamental to many letters. A single stroke is the basis for the letter i, a lengthened one above is the basis for l, lengthened below is the basis for j. Likewise, connecting two at the top is basis for n, two at the bottom basis for u, and the bases for m and w follow by connecting three.

Does anyone know the actual term for this basis stroke?

  • Perhaps (unlike some languages) writing strokes for English do not have individual names? – GEdgar Sep 5 '11 at 0:52
  • There is no single standard name for it because there are several different cursive handwriting methods. – z7sg Ѫ Sep 5 '11 at 1:13

I never heard it called anything other than a downstroke.


I believe stem is the word you are looking for.

  • But that seems more for typography specifically, rather than handwriting – simchona Sep 5 '11 at 0:38

Writing the alphabet in different strokes was established even earlier than 18th century and modern English alphabet strokes are called "breaks" and "joints". Joints strokes are taught for secretarial writing usually and the other is for standard writing of English alphabet.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.