Hello! I study journalism and am trying to learn Gregg shorthand to increase my speed/accuracy. I have found this site very useful and am hoping I can use this thread to find some answers for technical questions I have along the way. Thanks in advance!
1) How do you know which words to join/keep separate? For example, sometimes I will see "he+can" joined together as one symbol and other times "he" + "can" as two separate symbols.
Joining words is never necessary--at least not for legibility. But it does help to speed up the writing, and is commonly done. The Gregg manual will teach you the most common joined phrases, and after a while they will become second nature to you. Once you are fully fluent in the system, you will find it easy to make your own phrases, sometimes on the fly. A joined sequence of words is useless in dictation, though, if it causes you to pause and think how to form it.
There are a lot of reasons it might not be phrased.
Was the phrase used first? Or did you learn it after? Gregg sometimes started off with simple items then moved to more advanced items, including phrasing. Perhaps the context of the sentence and they way the word was used determines when it's used as a phrase. Another thought is that maybe "can" is related to another word in the sentence and it's easier not to phrase it with another outline (even though you would think it would be). Was "can" phrased with another outline after? Was it spelled out or used in its brief form?
As I was trying to figure out the answer (and obviously not sure), I remember coming across just the word "can" and wondering why in one case it was spelled out and another in a phrase. Several gave excellent answers here: greggshorthand.proboards.com/thread/128/
If you have a picture or reference where this is exactly (lesson, unit, page, paragraph number, etc. as well as version of Gregg shorthand), that could help us out.
"Gregg Shorthand had achieved the most extraordinary success ever attained by any system in the history of shorthand." John Robert Gregg, 1922