Many people can write, but not in such a way that others can read it. As typewriters and word processors become common even for students, the skills of penmanship are less emphasized. Further, it has become a curious sign of distinction to have penmanship which requires unusual effort for others to understand.
Good handwriting in the past was regarded as rather lower class, the mark of a civil servant or a clerk.
In 1990, more than a fifth of 10-year olds in the UK had difficulty forming letters and writing legibly. It is reported that teachers in some schools do not give any handwriting instructions, leaving children to pick up the basics on their own.