“That’s what careless words do. They make people love you a little less.”
― Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
There are so many important things to do in life – so many rewarding activities that help you and help others and make the world a better place. For a long while today, I didn’t do that – I worked on my fountain pen Ink Catalog – probably as useless an activity as there is (though I’ll probably take photos and post them here). So I took an 8 1/2 x 11 sketchbook and put two ink samples on each page. First, I use a Q-tip to swab out a patch of color – then I use a dip pen to write out a writing sample.
Of course I write out, “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog,” because it is the only phrase I know that has all 26 letters. I thought about this – what other phrases there are. As you know there is this interweb thing – and when you type in the phrase – you get way, way too much information. I looked over a few pages of phrases and typed out my favorites.
A sentence using all the letters in the alphabet is called a pangram (from the Greek for “every letter”). “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” is the most famous pangram, but there are many others. My favorite may be “the five boxing wizards jump quickly,” which is four letters shorter.
Here is a self-descriptive pangram:
“This pangram lists four a’s, one b, one c, two d’s, twenty-nine e’s, eight f’s, three g’s, five h’s, eleven i’s, one j, one k, three l’s, two m’s, twenty-two n’s, fifteen o’s, one p, one q, seven r’s, twenty-six s’s, nineteen t’s, four u’s, five v’s, nine w’s, two x’s, four y’s, and one z.”
Perfect Pangram – one that only uses 26 letters – of course it is impossible unless you use abbreviations or archaic words:
Mr. Jock, TV quiz PhD., bags few lynx.
GQ’s oft lucky whiz Dr. J, ex-NBA MVP
Cwm fjord bank glyphs vext quiz
This one uses some pretty archaic words; translates to “Carved symbols in a mountain hollow on the bank of an inlet irritated an eccentric person.”
I looked through a lot of these and discovered my favorite – Sphinx of black quartz, judge my vow.
It supposedly was used by Adobe InDesign to display font samples. (29 letters). I’m going to have to work on memorizing this one – and use in addition to/instead of “The quick brown fox…”
Here are a bunch more – collected across the internet for your entertainment:
Waltz, nymph, for quick jigs vex Bud.
Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs.
Glib jocks quiz nymph to vex dwarf.
Jackdaws love my big sphinx of quartz.
The view boxing wizards jump quickly.
How vexingly quick daft zebras jump!
Quick zephyrs blow, vexing daft Jim.
Two driven jocks help fax my big quiz.
The jay, pig, fox, zebra and my wolves quack!
Sympathizing would fix Quaker objectives.
A wizard’s job is to vex chumps quickly in fog.
Watch “Jeopardy!”, Alex Trebek’s fun TV quiz game.
By Jove, my quick study of lexicography won a prize!
Waxy and quivering, jocks fumble the pizza.
The quick onyx goblin jumps over the lazy dwarf
How razorback-jumping frogs can level six piqued gymnasts!
Cozy lummox gives smart squid who asks for job pen
Amazingly few discotheques provide jukeboxes
A waxy gent chuckled over my fab jazzy quips.
Lol, we fountain pen fans sure do know that pangram well. I can’t use any other phrase, despite you listing this many. It’s not just the letters, but the way I’ve developed muscle memory for that exact sentence—it’s the best way to test a pen without any other factors involved.
Of course, I mostly test pens by writing ‘the quick brown fox’. All lowercase and incomplete, lol.
Yeah, I’ve had a hard time memorizing a new one. I do also use, “Every good boy deserves favor” and “now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country,” – not pangrams – but fun to write. I have pads full of these phrases (trying new inks – getting stubborn pens to write) – Sometimes I feel like Jack Nicholson in The Shining.