4 Different Ways to Hold a Pencil & What They Do

Contrary to the conventional belief that there’s only one right way to hold a pencil, recent insights from a viral Reddit post reveal four different ways to hold a pencil, and what they do.

While all of these grips are correct, they can influence your handwriting, writing speed, and endurance. Join us as we delve into these distinct grips and help you identify which category best suits your writing style.

The Four Different Pencil Grips

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These four “mature” pencil grips include the dynamic tripod, dynamic quadrupod, lateral tripod, and lateral quadrupod.

The terms “dynamic” and “lateral” pertain to thumb placement, while “tripod” and “quadrupod” indicate whether the pen rests on the middle or ring finger. Let’s explore each of these grips in detail:

1. Dynamic Tripod

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Photo Credit: AndrewLozovyi/Deposit Photos.

In the dynamic tripod grip, the pencil sits between the thumb and forefinger, with the middle finger positioned behind the pen.

This grip is known for its comfort during prolonged writing sessions, making it ideal for extended use.

2. Dynamic Quadrupod

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Photo Credit: nd3000/Deposit Photos.

The dynamic quadrupod grip involves all four fingers in holding the pencil. The pen rests in the middle of your fingers, with the thumb underneath, the index and middle fingers on top, and the ring finger positioned behind.

However, this grip may exert unnecessary pressure on your hand and lead to discomfort when used for extended periods.

3. Lateral Tripod

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Photo Credit: benzoix/Deposit Photos.

The lateral tripod grip places the pencil on the middle finger while the index finger rests on top. The thumb then crosses over the index finger.

While this grip offers some stability, it can result in quicker hand fatigue than other pencil grips.

4. Lateral Quadrupod

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Photo Credit: AntonioGuillemF/Deposit Photos

The lateral quadrupod grip relies on all four fingers to support the writing instrument. The index and middle fingers sit atop the pencil, the thumb crosses over the index finger, and the ring finger rests behind the pencil.

Prolonged use of this grip can also leave your hand feeling tired.

Do Pencil Grips Enhance Handwriting?

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When we mention “pencil grips,” we’re referring to how you hold your pencil and to cushioned attachments that can be added to writing instruments, like those offered by brands such as BIC.

These grips aim to teach “proper” finger placement and enhance comfort during writing.

While they are commonly used for children, adults may benefit if writing feels uncomfortable. However, it’s important to note that no scientific evidence supports the claim that pencil grips significantly improve handwriting.

Nevertheless, these grips are affordable if you find writing uncomfortable or wish to experiment with different grip styles.

If you’ve ever been scolded in school for your pencil-holding technique, rest assured that you’re not alone. Contrary to past teachings, there is no universally right or wrong way to hold a pen.

While some pencil grips may reduce strain on your hand, the prevailing belief is that you should hold your writing utensil most comfortably.

Which Pencil Grip Yields Swifter & Cleaner Handwriting?

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Image Credit: MargaritaDemidova/DepositPhotos.

Despite the common practice among teachers of advocating for the dynamic tripod grip, which is believed to yield superior results, research has indicated that all four grips produce handwriting of equal legibility.

Students could write at approximately the same speed when employing any of the four grips.

A study conducted in 2012 involving 120 fourth graders concluded that speed and legibility were virtually indistinguishable across all four grip styles.

As a result, researchers suggested that occupational therapists should reconsider the necessity of altering lateral or quadrupod grip patterns.

In a 2001 study, it was determined that the choice of grip style did not lead to any issues related to legibility or speed, even during longer writing tasks.

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Image Credit: Krakenimages.com/DepositPhotos.
  1. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11761133
  2. research.aota.org/ajot/article-abstract/66/6/718/5698/Effect-of-Pencil-Grasp-on-the-Speed-and-Legibility
  3. healthline.com/health/how-to-hold-a-pencil#handwriting

This article was produced and syndicated by Viral Chatter. It was inspired by this Reddit thread.

Martha A. Lavallie
Martha A. Lavallie
Author & Editor | + posts

Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.