Outlining is the systematic omission of vowels used in order to shorten words.
Only a single vowel may be omitted from between two consonants. A vowel at the beginning or end of a word may not be outlined.
Only the vowel a may be omitted from one-syllable words or from the first syllable of a word.
- cat ct
- lake lke
- taken tk5
- nature ntu
- aghast a</
- fast f/
The vowel 'a' must not be omitted from the first syllable if the surrounding letters comprise a common consonant cluster.
- calm calm not clm
- paltry palt" not plt"
- balances bal.z not bl.z
The vowels a, e, i, o, and u may be omitted from other than the first syllable but 'y' must not be.
- system sy/m
- rabbit r2t
- plastic pl/c
Silent 'e' must never be outlined.
- cakewalk ckewlk
- racecar rcec>
- tapeworm tpeworm
The medial sign Q, standing for 'qu', counts as a single consonant.
- quake qke
- liquid liqd
- quantum qntm
A vowel may be outlined after an initial 'y', but not before a 'y'.
- paperboy pp]boy
- galley g_ey
- yacht y*t
The consonants remaining after a vowel's omission must not be contracted.
- satchel st*l
- satin st9
- cahoots ch^ts
Vowels should only be omitted if space is saved, and if the same amount of space would not be used by a regular contraction.
- car c> not cr
- had _h not hd
- stay /@ not /y
If the same amount of space would be used outlining instead of a two-cell sign, preference is given to outlining.
- making mk+ not ")g
- mighty m<; not @<y
- discovery 4cv}y not 4c_oy
Vowels should only be omitted if the meaning of the word is still clear.
- enable 5a# not 5#
- banister bni/} not bn/}
- initial 9it,l not 9t,l
- ornament orna;t not orn;t
The letter 'i' may be omitted before 'gh', even in the first syllable, as long as it is preceded by a consonant.
- sigh s<
- highlight h<l<t
- eight ei<t
A vowel comprising an entire syllable on its own must not be outlined.
- 'e' in 'skeleton', skel-e-ton, skeletn
- 'u' in 'manufacture', man-u-fac-ture, mnufctu
- 'o' in 'gasoline', gas-o-line, gsol9e
A vowel comprising the main stress of a word must not be outlined.
- security secur; not secr;
- enormous enorm| not enrm|
- catastrophe cta/rphe not ct/rphe
Vowels from other syllables must not be outlined if the resulting letters are commonly pronounced together.
- violet v,let not v,lt
- iron iron not irn
- oracle oracq not orcq
A vowel must not be outlined if the result would have multiple possible readings or if the result would be difficult to interpret.
- plnt would be 'plant' not 'planet'
- 9dct$ could be 'indicated' or 'indicted'
- 'computer' should be -put} not -pt}