Years ago I had an uncle who taught himself calligraphy. He spent many hours practicing various letter forms and styles. He wrote the same sentence repeatedly: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
I later learned that this sentence is a pangram. A pangram is a sentence that contains every letter of the alphabet, 26 letters for the English alphabet. Creating pangrams is a great creative activity, and elementary teachers often teach lessons on pangrams. Beyond elementary school, many have tried to develop the shortest pangram that makes sense.
These are some common pangrams:
- The five boxing wizards jump quickly. (31 characters)
- Pack my box with five dozen liquor bottles (32 characters)
- Quick brown foxes jump over the lazy dog. (33 characters)
- Watch “Jeopardy!”, Alex Trebek’s fun TV quiz game. (37 characters)
These are ones I created – or at least I have not seen these elsewhere:
- Tranquil zephyr winds move JX’s flock to the bog. (40 characters)
- Very quietly, zebras chewed noxious packages of jam. (43 characters)
- Five naked girls came quickly with a box of zebra PJs. (43 characters)
Use for Pangrams
I recently started practicing a letter form similar in appearance to architectural lettering. The instructor in the videos I watched recommended to write sentences rather than filling a page with repeats of the same letter or of the alphabet. Every day, like my uncle, I write out the pangrams above a couple of times, once on a worksheet with small squares, and once on a lined template that I developed.
This is a recent practice using Procreate. I made some errors, including writing “bottles” instead of “jugs” on the second pangram:
The great thing about pangrams is that they can be used for any lettering practice. Calligraphy, comic book lettering, architectural lettering, or basic handwriting can be improved through practice. Additionally, pangrams are useful when testing fonts and computer keyboards since each letter is included.
While trying to come up with additional pangrams, I decided to create a worksheet in Google Sheets that calculates the length of a pangram and also indicates which letters of the alphabet have been used.
Using this worksheet I came up with a couple longer pangrams. Counting letters only, both of these are 43 characters in length. Neither of these are particularly memorable.
- Lower my pack before I go quiz the jovial ex-students.
- A zebra and fox jacked up quiet cows, giving lambs hay.
You can check out the worksheet at the link below:
If you need to practice lettering, definitely use pangrams. If you need a good creative exercise, try creating your own.