24. Length of Consonant-Stems. - The proper length that the consonant-stems should be made is about one-sixth of an inch, the forms in the reading exercises being models in this respect. It is important, too, that the stems be made uniform in length. Irregularity in this respect may lead to confusion hereafter, when other principles of phonography are learned.
25. Direction of Stems. - Great care must be taken from the very outset to give the stems their proper direction. Perpendicular stems should stand exactly upright. The tendency with beginners is to involuntarily slant them to the right, the same as they incline the letters of longhand. It would be well, therefore, for them to make frequent tests of their written characters with the straight edge of a card, placing it against the sides of straight stems and to the tips of curves. Slanting stems should likewise be tested in the same way, to make sure that they lean at an angle half-way between a horizontal and a perpendicular, which is the angle of forty-five degrees. Any improper inclination in the characters, that might not be noticed by the inexperienced eye of the beginner, will be made clearly manifest by the edge of the card, because of its greater length.
26. The vowel-signs, both dots and dashes, should be written at a little distance from the consonant-stems. Beginners are apt to place them too close.
27. The dash vowel-signs should be struck at right angles to the stems near which they are written. When written to a curved stem, they should stand at right angles to the part to which they are opposite.