Dictionary.com

Most of us take our keyboards for granted. If we’re touch typists, we automatically position our fingers above the same eight keys and our muscle memory takes over. We just type!

(What are those eight keys called? And what do they have to do with a popular Google search? Read about that here.)

But our keyboards have an interesting history. Most English language keyboards have a QWERTY layout. And QWERTY isn’t an acronym or neologism. The name is simply the first six characters in the top far left row of letters.

A Milwaukee newspaper editor and printer named Christopher Sholes invented the QWERTY layout. He sold the design to Remington in 1874, the year the format debuted on typewriters.

Sholes was also one of the inventors of the “Type Writer,” an early text-producing machine. The first version had problems caused by type bar jamming. In an effort to resolve the problem, Sholes eventually ditched the machines’ original alphabetical key arrangement and moved toward the QWERTY layout.

Did you know that with the QWERTY keyboard thousands of English words can be spelled using only the left hand, but only a couple hundred can be composed with the right?

Do you use an alternative to QWERTY, such as Colemak or Dvorak Simplified Keyboard? Let us know which you prefer.

162 Comments

  1. Anony Mous -  March 24, 2014 - 12:27 pm

    you misspelled QWERTY the first time it was stated( you put QWERY instead of QWERTY)

    Reply
  2. andaysia -  March 5, 2014 - 10:38 am

    yasds ‘pobjeribnkb]a0-rhj

    Reply
  3. MichaelJackson -  February 24, 2013 - 5:15 am

    This article is on a dictionary site; yet they spell QWERY instead of QWERTY But anyhow, these interesting useless facts are quite amazing, And I took touch typing through out high school and now I type fluently both on the Qwerty layout and the Dvorak layout, and they’re both quite simple. I prefer the Qwerty layout though.

    Reply
  4. Josh -  December 1, 2012 - 2:46 pm

    @ hannah nicole:

    Here you go. say,

    cu-ER-tee

    LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!

    Reply
  5. Billy -  September 8, 2012 - 12:52 pm

    AZERTY all the way

    Reply
  6. Jeremy -  August 13, 2012 - 5:02 pm

    APR,
    Though Sholes was accused of setting up the QWERTY keyboard to slow down typists, in reality he was just making it so that one would rarely need to type two adjacent keys consecutively, making the design of the original typewriter jam less. Just think about how a typewriter works and it makes sense.

    And why are E and R next to each other? and why A and S?

    Reply
  7. Abigail Rose -  June 28, 2012 - 11:27 pm

    Yay for Milwaukee! Sorry, random Wisconsinite right here. But anyway, I love reading the random articles they have on this website! I always have such interesting facts to tell people. I actually quite like the qwerty layout, myself.

    Reply
  8. CrimsonSpectre -  May 18, 2012 - 12:26 pm

    Have been using qwerty since I was like 7yrs, today I am 19 and tried Dvorak maybe 2 months ago. I am not going back to the awkward qwerty! Sure first 1 or 2 weeks was tough, but now I type really well with Dvorak, learned it much faster than qwerty…

    People, get your facts straight! Qwerty was not designed to slow typists down, because there were no typists then! William on September 20, 2010 got it right!

    Please don’t be so narrow minded, try new stuff, especially those things that are more efficient and healthy, if I ever get a child it won’t be introduced to qwerty, but Dvorak.

    Some good reading: http://www.theworldofstuff.com/dvorak/

    Reply
  9. cbiz -  April 12, 2012 - 10:14 am

    Did you notice that you can also spell TYPEWRITER by only using the top row of keys?

    Reply
  10. tiann58 -  April 6, 2012 - 10:28 am

    Very interesting article. As a transcriptionist of 30 years, I have always appreciated the ease of the QWERTY keyboard, but, of course, it’s just what I learned from the beginning and now anything else would feel totally foreign.

    Having shattered my right arm last year and being left to type with only my left hand for six months, I can now appreciate how I did so successfully — learning that the most-used keys are handled by the left hand. All I know is that I’m glad I have my right hand back and will never take either hand for granted again!

    As for having learned that the keyboard format was called QWERTY — I learned it from watching VeggieTales. How’s THAT for a well-rounded education? LOL

    Reply
  11. Athena -  March 27, 2012 - 5:53 pm

    I love how I waste my time reading these things when they have nothing to do with what I’m doing. What am I doing reading about ‘QWERTY’ when I should be finishing my project that’s due tomorrow? On that note, I should get back to doing it!

    Reply
  12. Mary -  March 24, 2012 - 4:40 pm

    Oh, great, after posting my lovely and long comment I see that it doesn’t say “a couple,” but it, in fact, says “a couple hundred.” Thank you, kind brain, for skipping right over a word that was crucial to the sentence. How very kind of you.

    My apologies to the author of this article.

    Reply
  13. Mary -  March 24, 2012 - 4:37 pm

    Only a couple words can be spelled with the right hand? Now, I never really picked up on using the home keys, but placing my right hand on the home keys, I can easily type all of these words with my right hand (and it’s way more than a couple):
    I, I’m, I’ll, hill, kill, mill, pill, pull, null, loll, knoll, pulp, pup, hulk, pink, link, ink, oink, monk, pump, lump, plump, poll, lop, plop, hip, hop, him, nil, jip, lip, pun, punk, junk, hunk, plum, hum, hun, pupil, the name Jill, the names John or Jon, and–if I felt like it– probably a lot more. This list consists of more than “a couple” words and names. 40 more than a couple, to be specific.
    As for the article as a whole, it was all interesting information, but it was information I already knew.

    P.S. I feel like this came off as arrogant, which was not what I intended, so I apologize for that, but considering that this is an online dictionary’s blog, shouldn’t you guys at least use the correct words in your articles. All I’m trying to say is that “a few” would have fit much better than “a couple,” and as an online dictionary, it’s kind of your job to know that. Sorry if this is coming off as rude.

    Reply
  14. Raven -  March 24, 2012 - 3:30 pm

    So I’m gimping myself by using these keyboards? I could be typing infinitely faster by using a better keyboard? Okay, that’s cool.

    Reply
  15. Yo -  March 19, 2012 - 7:20 pm

    I agree with Jen, all these pointless articles are simply splendid!

    Reply
  16. derp-a-lerp -  March 11, 2012 - 12:03 pm

    @WALNUT

    STOP WRITING IN CAPS, IT MAKES YOU LOOK LIKE YOUR YELLING!!!!

    Reply
  17. Joan -  March 8, 2012 - 8:24 am

    QWERTY

    Reply
  18. Jeopardy wannabe -  February 20, 2012 - 6:02 am

    I love triva stuff!

    Reply
  19. awesomeness -  February 18, 2012 - 5:48 pm

    That is very interesting. I had no idea because I am one of those people who take this for granted and just type words out, not even paying attention to the keyboard or looking at it. This surprised me! :)

    Reply
  20. Jack -  February 10, 2012 - 4:45 pm

    sorry, i meant qwerty.

    Reply
  21. Jack -  February 10, 2012 - 4:43 pm

    OMG… WHAT DOES QUERTY MEAN?!?!?!

    Reply
  22. Bklyn Ron -  August 23, 2011 - 1:56 pm

    When demonstrations were done back in 1874 on the type-writer was the second row used to type “type writer” To make it easy for the demonstrator?

    Reply
  23. WALNUT -  May 1, 2011 - 11:59 pm

    I THINK I’LL NAME MY NEXT DOG OR CHILD, WHICH EVER COMES FIRST, ” QWERTY UIOP”. IT HAS A NICE RING TO IT WHEN SPOKEN AND SLIPS NICELY OFF THE TONGUE.
    WONDER HOW MANY PEOPLE WOULD REALIZE THEY ARE THE TOP LETTERS ON THE TYPEWRITER KEYBOARD. WOULD YOU?

    Reply
  24. Avinash -  May 1, 2011 - 9:07 pm

    i just love the comments written over here…..

    Reply
  25. Sourabh -  April 30, 2011 - 12:25 am

    another thing you might like to try..there are lots of ‘trips’ in the QWERTY compared to the Dvorak

    For example, try typing ‘minimum’…You’ll know what I mean!! ;)

    Reply
  26. Sourabh -  April 30, 2011 - 12:20 am

    The Longest word type-able by the left hand is STEWARDESSES and the longest word on the right hand is LOLLIPOP for anyone wondering!

    The QWERTY keyboard, though it was originally built to stop jamming of the internal mechanism, is not the fastest keyboard, but just popular because it was the first design that was standard and everybody got used to it. To change it to something faster or better, would require different training and its just too much hassle!!

    Imagine the E and R…or the G and H
    these are really commonly used consecutively, but end up next to each other

    The Dvorak Keyboard is t up to 20% faster with all the vowels on the home (middle) row and the most common consonants on the right with the less common spread on the top and the least common at the bottom. What this does is it makes alternate hand typing more common for most words and makes i easier to type with both hands. Over 80% of the home and top row is used in the Dvorak whereas around only 70% of letter usage in the QWERTY is on the top and middle. According to a study, the bottom row is where you type the slowest so this really affects the speed of typing..

    There are many types of keyboards and if you’re interested you can look up the book, ‘The Design of Everyday Things.’ Its got lots of information on the design of the keyboard including left hand keyboard and right hand keyboard, (with the most common letters in the middles etc. and can be used in communication from a vehicle for example so one hand can be used for typing and one hand for driving) then chord keyboards where you press multiple keys simultaneously to not just write letters, but also phrases. An expert can type upto 300 words a minute, whereas in a QWERTY, a good typist averages around 120 wpm.
    There are many others and the explanations of how each one was designed. You can also check the internet for types of keyboards. There are quite a lot of amusing and interesting designs out there! I once saw a glove keyboard which is a glove with 5 keys at the fingertips and can be used in chord style..useful for keeping in your pocket and typing passwords in public areas!!

    Anyways, Happy Exploring!!

    Reply
  27. Mystery man -  April 29, 2011 - 10:31 pm

    That’s pretty interesting, because a lot of people are right handed, yet lots more words are typed with just the left hand…

    Reply
  28. Dana -  April 29, 2011 - 2:47 pm

    I used to repair typewriters. One sentence that uses each letter of the alphabet at least once is, “Five strong men quickly jumped the fence and extinguished the blaze.”

    Reply
  29. Irvin -  April 23, 2011 - 11:28 pm

    I tried using the AZERTY layout and I just couldn’t get out of my habits with the QWERTY keyboard… :)

    Reply
  30. Pinki -  April 8, 2011 - 9:18 pm

    I use the English keyboard, but I have a question: Why is there 4 vowels in the first row of letters in the keyboard, 1 in the second row, and none in the last?I’m not sue if Christopher Sholes (or whoever made it like that) did that on purpose or not, but it’d be cool to find out 0.o

    Reply
  31. John -  March 24, 2011 - 10:44 am

    line not lone

    Reply
  32. John -  March 24, 2011 - 10:43 am

    One lone would suffice to explain the qwerty keyboard. The rest of this junk simply clutters up the airways. Besides, all that is said or, “Typed” changes nothing qwerty is still qwerty.

    Reply
  33. OLH064 -  March 23, 2011 - 1:36 pm

    Why does everybody get this wrong? It’s pronouced KWER-tee.
    Why haven’t they made a faster typing board yet? (quertyies keyboard for the future?)

    Reply
  34. Rio -  January 12, 2011 - 4:01 pm

    I still don’t get it

    Reply
  35. rianna -  January 10, 2011 - 3:38 pm

    Who invented AZERTY and where did the keyboard go?

    Reply
  36. DahKahTah -  January 10, 2011 - 7:16 am

    Although I am still in High School, I can touch type, and have been touch typing since I was in 6th grade. I have five years of reasonably quick typing, and once I learned the “Hub keys,” or ASDF and JKL:, I learned that my wpm increased by x10. I can literally switch the keys on my keyboard, for example X and Y, and still type flawlessly. I learned that when you touch type, you learn that you will make a mistake before it’s been made. I notice when a mistake is made before it has been made

    Reply
  37. asdf -  January 10, 2011 - 5:02 am

    most here claim that the purpose was to slow down the typist – such a subjective view! The purpose was to allow letter combinations to come from opposing angles when the keys were pressed thus giving more clearance and movement in the mechanism. Hence the purpose of the qwerty keyboard was to SPEED UP the process of typing.

    Reply
  38. russ d'great -  January 9, 2011 - 9:05 pm

    i have to admit i’m reading this blog everyday.. omg!

    Reply
  39. Clare -  January 9, 2011 - 1:43 pm

    Did you know that, when using the QWERTY keyboard format, the longest word you can spell with your left hand is lollipop?

    Reply
  40. john rhea -  January 9, 2011 - 4:45 am

    MIRA: lol, you took the words out of my mouth! As I read the repetitive comments, I’m thinking these poor bastards are looking for attention.

    Also, how many people went from QWERTY to QUERTY?!! Look above, I’m amazed.

    And hannah, I think your real name is Anna Nicole. But you’re not the only knucklehead here. Based on the way people wrote the pronunciation, they don’t know either.

    Reply
  41. LALALALA -  October 29, 2010 - 3:34 pm

    That’s bad grammar especially since it’s on a dictionary site!

    Reply
  42. Mangi -  October 26, 2010 - 2:18 pm

    Perhaps you would like to correct the typo in this article. “A Milwaukee newspaper editor and printer named Christopher Sholes invented the QWERY layout. He sold the design to Remington in 1874….” The ‘T” is missing from QWERTY.

    Reply
  43. LennyG -  October 26, 2010 - 9:56 am

    I have not seen this blog before; however, it appears you are all concerned with and appreciate the written word. Some of your statements were entertaining and I particularly liked the duplications. I.e. those who tried to teach Hannah Nicole how to pronounce the word. I have a suggestion for those who insisted on proving their intelligence and vast knowledge. Next time you plan to bloviate, put your text in Word with the spell checker ON and copy it into the textbox for the blog. That way you can apply Lincoln’s quote to your writing… “It is better to keep one’s mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and resolve all doubt.”

    Reply
  44. Kate -  October 26, 2010 - 9:23 am

    Ha1 I love it! This is one of those things that i probably knew, but never made the connection. Another example, the alphabet and twinkle twinkle little star have the same tune… O.o but i bet you knew that…

    Reply
  45. Mira -  October 26, 2010 - 6:25 am

    REally cool, but how many people have said: “it’s because it had to slow down the typist” I mean seriously, WE HAVE ESTABLISHED THAT! and i get it, USELESS INFORMATION IS FUN, but do we need 10 people writing that??? and, to Hannah Nicole, is it not annoying how many people have written the pronunciation, even though 2 comments above, you can find the exact same thing written??? after all the comments with the pronunciation, you must be SO bored of reading the word

    Reply
  46. Keysmith -  October 21, 2010 - 6:14 pm

    A small point. The claim that the QWERTY layout is the result of efforts to prevent type bar jamming is bogus. That claim is a fiction invented by Mr. Dvorak when promoting his own design.
    Sholes was not the first to come up with a typewriter, but he did come up with a design and key layout that proved reliable and fast. Numerous typewriting competitions were held around that time at big shows. The technology was new, and there were many manufacturers all trying to prove that they had the best design. It appears that Sholes chose his layout because it was fast. He was the typist in the competitions and wanted to win (good for marketing). In fact, he did win very frequently, and his machines sold well in a crowded market. That his layout became the standard is testament to the success of his design.

    Alternative layouts, such as Dvorak, have been tested, but the tests are hugely problematic and don’t really demonstrate anything. The most commonly cited test that supposedly demonstrates the superiority of the Dvorak layout was conducted by Dvorak himself. Not sure that a test by the inventor is particularly believable. Other tests find no significant advantage in Dvorak over Qwerty. Not surprising given the history of the design.

    I refer interested readers to the article ‘The Fable of the keys’
    S.J. Liebowitz and S.E. Margolis “The Fable of the Keys,” Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 30, No. 1, pp. 1-26, April 1990
    The text can be accessed at http://www.utdallas.edu/~liebowit/keys1.html

    Reply
  47. Corey -  October 21, 2010 - 5:14 pm

    OMG ive been wondering this for SOOOOOOOOOO long and now im so happy i know! and jen i agree with you too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Useless info is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!! :3

    Reply
  48. O$JIZZLE -  October 21, 2010 - 12:44 pm

    I guess……… its a pretty cool word

    Reply
  49. GS -  October 21, 2010 - 12:46 am

    I have been using the QUERTY system for nearly 50 years, so I am not about to change. But that is no reason not to adopt a more efficient standard for students and new users.

    With the possible except of a “mouse” (which no longer looks like a mouse, make it even more anachronistic than QUERTY), the keyboard is the cheapest piece of computer hardware to replace or exchange. I am an American working in Switzerland, and I use an American keyboard because that is what I am used to. Other colleagues use French or German keyboards with different layouts (notably accent marks, different specialized keys, and the z and u keys reversed), so it is no big deal to adjust the keyboard to the individual user. The keyboard automatically adjusts the software to the user. It has no effect whatsoever on the hard-drive or central server.

    Reply
  50. Roni -  October 20, 2010 - 11:47 pm

    @Raja Indianness

    “The longest word typed with the left hand fingers is “stewardess” ”

    Actually, it’s “stewardesses” no? =P

    Reply
  51. Steven C -  October 20, 2010 - 11:12 pm

    I LOVE the Dvorak simplified keyboard. Have been using it just over a year. Takes some getting used to, but once you switch, you’ll love it. Typing is so much simpler and faster, and it’s funny to see people stare in amazement when they try to use my laptop.

    Reply
  52. sandra -  October 20, 2010 - 6:18 pm

    Left handed people still get the bum end of the stick because they also use their left hand for the mouse. It sort of evens out when you use your right hand for numbers!

    Reply
  53. ann -  October 4, 2010 - 9:21 pm

    qwerty is hard to use if your right handed,.. much better if qwerty is on the right side,..anyweyz,..nice blog..

    Reply
  54. maxie -  September 28, 2010 - 12:40 pm

    Ray Bradbury was right,the internet is putting us closer to extinction.

    Reply
  55. Nic -  September 25, 2010 - 9:35 am

    @Carol. Because the order of letters on the QWERTY keyboard was deliberately designed to slow down the process of typing, and there is now no technical need for us to be slower (*breaks typewriter*) and it in fact hinders us – especially as most of us spend most of our lives tapping away on QWERTY keyboards for work and play. Of course we can ‘practice, practice, practice’ and get very quick indeed, but that doesn’t detract from the obvious fact that, though you trained your fingers to reach the keys ‘wherever they were’, the further apart the most-used keys are the longer it will take to type, and the higher the chance of typos. If you’d learned on a QWERTY keyboard organised over the surface of a six-person dining room table, you could, and would I’m sure, have ‘practiced, practiced, practiced’, and become comparatively very quick compared to the rest of us on the same ill-conceived wooden apparatus. It doesn’t detract from the fact that if we design things to make life harder, life, as a result, is harder. If we design them to make life easier, then, well, you get it.

    Reply
  56. Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry -  September 22, 2010 - 2:11 pm

    But those are North Polar Bears … Would South Polar Bears be righthanded?

    (Actually ‘southpaws’ in the north, and ‘northpaws’ in the south….)

    None of the listed keyboards is particularly facile or natural, nor any for single-handed typing … so, I design my own keyboard layouts….

    Ray.

    Reply
  57. Steve -  September 21, 2010 - 10:15 pm

    My information is that, at about the time that IBM’s electric typewriter hit the market, the U.S. Navy endorsed and converted to the Dvorak keyboard — much faster typing speed and fewer typos.

    I wonder if the Navy’s efficiency experts have thought about testing speed and efficiency of thumb-texting.

    Reply
  58. Juniper Parsely Bell -  September 21, 2010 - 2:41 pm

    @ Hannah Nicole

    QWERTY: (KW-ER-TEE) noun: The set of keys at the top left corner of the modern keyboard.

    Look at the dictionary entry for a bit and soak it all in.
    Maybe you can understand a bit more, Hannah.

    Reply
  59. carol -  September 21, 2010 - 10:05 am

    @ Nic “…is a beautiful example of how unquestioned convention can make our lives more difficult than they need to be”.
    How is it making my life more difficult? I had to train my fingers to automatically find the keys wherever they were. Whether they were in alphabetical order or not, it’s still a matter of practice, practice, practice…

    Reply
  60. Karen -  September 21, 2010 - 9:13 am

    I love these little tidbits of trivia. I just wish I could make money from it.

    Reply
  61. Whoever -  September 21, 2010 - 8:48 am

    “how do you even pronounce the freakin word qwerty”

    I’d just pronounce it /kwɹɾi/. Unless you’re really feeling adventurous and want to try pronouncing it /qʷɛrty/ or /qwɛrty/.

    Reply
  62. Jan -  September 21, 2010 - 8:41 am

    Finally! Some place where lefties aren’t discriminated against! I love QWERTY! Touch typing is a tremendously useful skill that I’ve been so grateful to have learned in junior high school. I think it should be taught to even younger classes today.

    Reply
  63. Sean -  September 21, 2010 - 8:41 am

    Misspelling of “Qwerty” within the fourth row from the top (look for hyper linked “Qwery”).

    Reply
  64. a -  September 21, 2010 - 8:26 am

    let me stop naw im high and this article was dumb

    Reply
  65. Jimmy -  September 21, 2010 - 8:11 am

    QWERTY is the only layout I have ever used in typing :) I’ve only seen the layout in which the alphabet is in order a few times on games and pictures. I think it would be interesting in using the others but the QWERTY is an interesting and easy layout to use I believe. I like it :)

    Reply
  66. Anastasia -  September 21, 2010 - 7:38 am

    In Europe we have Azerty in the French speaking countries and Qwertz in the Germanic. The only difference between Qwertz and the Qwertzy is the Z and the Y.

    Reply
  67. Deb -  September 21, 2010 - 7:17 am

    Been typing for more years than I care to try to add up or remember… I can understand the QWERTY reasoning and agree with it. And being left-handed, it’s nice to know that SOMETHING was made that needs the left hand more than the right!!!

    Reply
  68. Nic -  September 21, 2010 - 7:03 am

    The QWERTY layout was deliberately designed to slow down typists who became so quick that the arms on the original typewriters continually jammed, by placing the most-used letters further apart. That this remained the industry standard despite technological advances eradicating these original problems is a beautiful example of how unquestioned convention can make our lives more difficult than they need to be. The wonderful writer and economist Aditya Chakrabortty describes it as ‘an evolutionary cul de sac’, and an example of an economic phenomenon known as ‘path dependency’.

    Reply
  69. B Zoe -  September 21, 2010 - 6:57 am

    I love them too! I can’t wait to see the next one

    Reply
  70. Diamond -  September 21, 2010 - 6:47 am

    What about AZERTY layout? What’s the story behind about it?

    Reply
  71. Buneet -  September 21, 2010 - 6:10 am

    You pronounce QWERTY like QWERTY. Lol :)
    ck-wer-ty

    Reply
  72. richard -  September 21, 2010 - 5:55 am

    I am typing this using a dvorak layout, with my eyes looking at the screen. I was using querty for 26 years but never mastered it, it took about a week part time to learn Dvorak.

    Dvorak has most used letters are on the centre row right under my fingers. Dvorak is also more relaxing.

    I still have a keyboard with querty printed on it but I don’t look so it does not matter.

    However the word querty is harder to type on a Dvorak

    Reply
  73. greg -  September 21, 2010 - 5:36 am

    The original typewriters supposedly were in alphabetical order, and the QWERTY typewriter was actually designed to slow typing speed down. This is because the arms with the letters on the old-fashioned type-writers would lock around each other if you typed too fast.

    Reply
  74. louis paiz -  September 21, 2010 - 5:21 am

    i admire the individual that discover the way how key boards are set i think in his mind had or was thinking in old english when we us to have or write only with consonants thats why the key bord is consonant. consonant vocal.

    Reply
  75. Aidan -  September 21, 2010 - 5:17 am

    wow, this is unexpected. but is it really a word. now when i am typing, i am only using my right and i found that its much more inconvenient.

    MAKE QWERTY A WORD! put it in a dictionary thx

    Reply
  76. Thanbeer Sekhon -  September 21, 2010 - 5:09 am

    There’s a short story entitled ‘QWERTYUIOP’ written by Vivien Alcock.(QWERTYUIOP – the first row of letters on the keyboard)

    Reply
  77. Dens -  September 21, 2010 - 4:49 am

    All my life, I still want to use QWERTY keyboards, that can be found from typewriters, computers, smartphones, and other devices.

    Reply
  78. KStil -  September 21, 2010 - 4:42 am

    Sigh…It doesn’t matter how “stupid” it is. If QWERTY didn’t exist, keyboards WOULD jam, our hands would have to perform all sorts of acrobatics in order to type the word “stupid.” And it’s pretty simple: qu-wer-ty.

    In other, more interesting terms, it is always pleasant to see these early in the morning. These blog posts are definitely something I look forward to. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  79. arun -  September 21, 2010 - 4:32 am

    i like qwerty keyboard, since i used it when i first seen the typewriter.

    Reply
  80. m -  September 21, 2010 - 4:30 am

    ‘typewriter’ is the longest word you can spell with the top line of a qwerty keyboard

    Reply
  81. Nikki -  September 21, 2010 - 4:28 am

    @hannah nicole: “kwer-tee”.
    And lectures, lectures, lectures! Literally! Hot Word, that is true, but it is plainly obvious to one’s eye!

    -Nikki

    Reply
  82. Chester -  September 21, 2010 - 1:45 am

    linkin park – qwerty

    Reply
  83. Alan Turner -  September 21, 2010 - 12:24 am

    I learned touch typing at school and I left there in 1954. I never worked in an area where it was of any real use, only writing the odd letter etc.,
    When computer came along touch typing suddenly became a real boon as now at over seventy I can simply put my fingers on the keys and think and words come up. Streets ahead of the many computer one finger people. It’s worth leaning the proper way at any time in life.

    Reply
  84. Artie -  September 21, 2010 - 12:21 am

    Talk about synchronomancy. I just read about Qwerty and the Dvorak keyboards in Salmon of Doubt the other night. Forgot to look them up further, but I guess the information found ME in the end.

    Reply
  85. Belial -  September 21, 2010 - 12:10 am

    Woh, This is cool. I never realise , I always thought that the reason why I’m more comfortable with typing on left hand is because of too frequent use of mouse on my right hand.

    Reply
  86. everett -  September 21, 2010 - 12:10 am

    I have been touch typing since I was in high school. I learned how to touch type in my typing class when I was in 11th grade. It has been five years that I have been touch typing in qwerty. I was typing around 80 wpm. And then recently I have switched to Dvorak! So, lets see how this works out :p

    Reply
  87. hal -  September 20, 2010 - 11:44 pm

    i’m same with Jen! all the knowledge seems silly but cool all the same. i definetely prefer the QWERTY type of typing board but i’d love to see the other ones.

    Reply
  88. Axon -  September 20, 2010 - 11:42 pm

    “Did you know that with the QWERTY keyboard thousands of English words can be spelled using only the left hand, but only a couple hundred can be composed with the right?”

    Heh, I guess that explains where I developed my odd habit of using my entire left hand to type, and then only using my index finger on my right.

    Reply
  89. Angie -  September 20, 2010 - 10:36 pm

    I still always put my left hand on f d s a, and my right hand on j k l ;, I’m old school and this is what I was taught when we used typewriters, so I do the same for keyboards.

    Reply
  90. Sharon -  September 20, 2010 - 10:14 pm

    Aah! Those of you who typed on a manual typewriter know that the left hand was responsible for “throwing the carriage.” I don’t miss the “flying capitals,” unjamming the keys, erasing a typo, or trying to figure out where to begin a footnote!

    Thank goodness for technology!

    Reply
  91. Bontastic -  September 20, 2010 - 9:50 pm

    @Becca – you meant “awesome” which refers to something which inspires awe.

    @hannah nicole – it isn’t stupid, it’s merely the facts. Unless you meant to say that the origin of the name is uncreative, in which case you might have been more specific. And if you don’t know how to pronounce “QWERTY” than you probably aren’t paying attention. The word “QWERTY” is thrown around in many smartphone ads not to mention at schools, where I’m sure computers are de rigueur.

    Reply
  92. Star -  September 20, 2010 - 7:59 pm

    Did u know that qwerty doesn’t have a qu at the begenning

    Reply
  93. Amy -  September 20, 2010 - 7:15 pm

    I am personaly right handed so i do most of my things with my right hand of course but i never really thought about typing more with my left hand and it interests me…its amazing what you think about (or dont think about) sometimes….as im writing this comment i cant help but niotice i am using my left hand more…wow this opened up a whole new train of thought for me… :)

    Reply
  94. DizkneeNut -  September 20, 2010 - 6:22 pm

    Ummm…. Take a look at the sentence that starts “A Milwaukee..” Do they mean QWERTY? Anyways, that is pretty cool. It actually never occured to me that the QWERTY on your keyboard might STAND for anything!

    Reply
  95. Schooled in Belgium -  September 20, 2010 - 6:10 pm

    any thoughts on why the French keyboard in 1960 through 1980 was, and I suspect it is probably the same, is AZERTY. If I remember right the first 6 keys were just that. I remember my typing was sorely impeded by their convention. Wikipedia has a pretty good description of the why and wherefore.

    Reply
  96. Vanessa H. -  September 20, 2010 - 6:09 pm

    How true, Jen. Did you know that polar bears are left handed and that “stewardresses” is the longest word you can tye using only your left hand?

    Reply
  97. DAN -  September 20, 2010 - 5:58 pm

    This is something i was looking for a long time..Thnk u guys

    Reply
  98. Anna -  September 20, 2010 - 5:58 pm

    I love all of this extra knowledge. ITS ALWAYS GOOD TO KNOW EXTRA!!!!!!=)=
    <3<3

    Reply
  99. matthew -  September 20, 2010 - 5:56 pm

    @ Hannah Nicole:

    The word QWERTY is pronounced kwur-tee
    For audio:
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/qwerty

    @ Everyone else:

    I always knew that the most popular style in the US was QWERTY but never knew why. Honestly I never even questioned it but now that I’m told it all makes a lot of sense. The thing I DON’T understand is why did type writers ever become unpopular. I mean yes it is easier to type on a computer keyboard and generally easier to edit what you typed; however, I think it would be cool to “go back in the day” and use a type writer. If I could ever buy one (a nice one) at a good price I would totally get it just for the “nostalgia” of it all.

    Reply
  100. Mary -  September 20, 2010 - 5:54 pm

    This falls under the “I’ve always wondered about that” category. Perhaps my HS typing teacher explained it to me once, but that’s been too long ago to recall. Nice to know the answer; thanks!

    M

    Reply
  101. Vivvy -  September 20, 2010 - 5:51 pm

    hannah nicole: you say it like “Querty” =]

    Reply
  102. janette -  September 20, 2010 - 5:45 pm

    THIS CAN BE SOO USELESS BUT WE ALWAYS SEE IT SO ITS ALWAYS FUN TO KNOW .

    Reply
  103. MkMiku -  September 20, 2010 - 5:37 pm

    Hey, I was just thinking about this over the weekend! QWERTY is actually quite obsolete these days, and I’ve always wondered why they don’t ever change it. I guess because people are too used to it.

    Reply
  104. unknown -  September 20, 2010 - 5:35 pm

    hannah nicole qwerty is a very impotant part of a computer quick fact the name of a keyoard is called qwerty

    Reply
  105. William -  September 20, 2010 - 5:33 pm

    The QWERTY was designed to deconflict the most commonly consecutively used keys so that the typewriter mechanical keys wouldn’t jam on the way to the platen, as well as to concentrate the most frequently used keys nearer to the asdfjkl; “home row” for quickest access/speed.

    Reply
  106. Smizmar -  September 20, 2010 - 5:31 pm

    Did she just ask how to pronounce Qwerty? Kwur-tee
    Is that not apparent?

    Reply
  107. NickNackGus -  September 20, 2010 - 5:19 pm

    I haven’t used anything but QWERTY, but I believe that the standard keyboard should be easy to reconfigure, so you can place keys wherever you want. Linux is getting easier to use, supports many languages (all the ones I’ve heard of, most of them I haven’t), instant translation of applications, spell check within this website or any other website, keyboard layouts (again with more than I’ve heard of. Such as Cherokee, a language spoken in America before Britain colonized it), and many other customization features. It is also now the easiest operating system to use, with very few problems and error correction that is very advanced but hidden unless you look for it. If you are curious, you don’t have to look very hard.

    Reply
  108. Deedeesmart:) -  September 20, 2010 - 5:14 pm

    wow now that i think on it when i type i use my left hand a little bit more than the right hand, but its easier because the vowels are evenly distributed throughout the keyboard.

    Reply
  109. David -  September 20, 2010 - 4:34 pm

    AFter lookin at the word QWERTY
    i only found one word…
    TRY…
    lol

    Reply
  110. Emi -  September 20, 2010 - 4:31 pm

    I wonder how they decided to lay our the QWERTY keyboard. Did they just put random letters in random places or what?

    Reply
  111. Mike -  September 20, 2010 - 4:27 pm

    I have no idea what this article is talking about. Every single letter and word I’ve typed in my lifetime has been done with just my right hand. One finger in fact! ;-)

    Reply
  112. James -  September 20, 2010 - 4:15 pm

    Same they’re interesting but of no help :)

    Reply
  113. Alex -  September 20, 2010 - 4:13 pm

    Me, I dig these blogs. Almost entirely useless, yes, but these infinitesimal enhancements to my writing experience are certainly fun to read;

    I like that.

    Reply
  114. Berenice Weber -  September 20, 2010 - 4:05 pm

    very interesting information, I was trained as a touch typist back in Junior High School, when typewriters were still ON, but never heard of the QWERTY relation, rather interesting, and as I type I realize how much more I am using my left hand compared to the right one, thank you Dictionary.com love these information daily

    Reply
  115. Tracy22 -  September 20, 2010 - 3:56 pm

    I also love all the useless knowledge!! It’s interesting to me.
    I prefer the QWERTY layout over the others. It’s just simply easier I find.
    Happy typing :-)

    Reply
  116. mwahahaha -  September 20, 2010 - 3:41 pm

    @ hannah nicole
    you pronounce the word “qwerty” Qwa-erty
    got it memorized?
    i am not a pro but thank you to all you ladies
    any questions just email meh haha
    jk…NO STALKERS iight?
    and once again thank you to the ladies…
    and yes to all to jealous guys thank you too…

    Reply
  117. qwerty -  September 20, 2010 - 3:14 pm

    It’s hard to tipe with a broken wrist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  118. Gewurz -  September 20, 2010 - 3:08 pm

    How fantastic. It makes me wonder how many layouts he scrapped before arriving at the QWERTY layout.

    Reply
  119. @person -  September 20, 2010 - 3:06 pm

    As a lefty, I must say I really appreciate the QWERTY keyboard.

    Reply
  120. Frank "the Tank" -  September 20, 2010 - 3:05 pm

    I wish i could press the “like” button on that last comment. lol

    Reply
  121. becki -  September 20, 2010 - 2:58 pm

    uhh ok
    and qwerty is pronounced cua-er-tea(: and YES the smiley is part of the pronunciation :D

    Reply
  122. Marvin Smith -  September 20, 2010 - 2:57 pm

    “Christopher Sholes invented the QWERY” …think you’re missing a “T” in there! :)

    Reply
  123. Timmy -  September 20, 2010 - 2:56 pm

    Type writer is the longest word on the top row of letters

    Reply
  124. Abby -  September 20, 2010 - 2:54 pm

    So true, my colleague has an alphabetical key board and I just can not stand using it… it is frustrating beyond believe.

    Reply
  125. Timmy -  September 20, 2010 - 2:42 pm

    I do not know a single person who does not know what the QWERTY format is. And does that mean they purposely put the useful letters on the left side and the less useful letters on the right side?

    Reply
  126. April -  September 20, 2010 - 2:40 pm

    I love all these little interesting fast facts!!!!!!

    Reply
  127. Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry -  September 20, 2010 - 2:33 pm

    P.S. Didn’t we already consider this topic a week ago, about Google’ing “ASDFASDFASDF…?”

    Reply
  128. KoolAid Man -  September 20, 2010 - 2:29 pm

    this is awesome! OHHHH YEAH!

    Reply
  129. Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry -  September 20, 2010 - 2:25 pm

    Nope…that much worked…’baffling’– all I’d said was that I invent keyboards for special purposes, e.g. my 32-key keyboard …

    Reply
  130. Mr. Raymond Kenneth Petry -  September 20, 2010 - 2:22 pm

    But that much worked…. and yet it claimed the second Click was duplicate … This forum is messed up………………………………………..

    Reply
  131. Frannie -  September 20, 2010 - 2:12 pm

    I was told in my typing class, that the qwerty layout was chosen because it slowed typist down enough they wouldn’t jam the keys when typing!

    Reply
  132. Kate -  September 20, 2010 - 2:06 pm

    I’ve always wondered about the alternative keyboards. I’ve been typing for at least fifty-three years but I know I’m an “old dog who CAN learn new tricks.”

    The article has links to two other keyboards but the one I clicked (Dvorak) did not show me a Dvorak keyboard.

    Now, that is something I could be annoyed about but I’ll just do a search for “Dvorak keyboard” because I’d like to see other keyboards. Maybe there’s a site where you can test what typing on those keyboards would be like.

    I like these little articles, even though sometimes the hotlinks don’t work; it has happened to me before in a HotWord article, in case anyone employed by the site reads these comments.

    Dictionary,com is my favorite dictionary site now and I enjoy the thesaurus, crossword puzzle, Word of the Day, etc. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  133. Kate -  September 20, 2010 - 2:02 pm

    hannah nicole,

    QWERTY is not a word. Read the article again and you’ll get it. I’ve always pronounced it like a word rhyming with “thirty” but you could also say each letter separately. You’d rarely need to pronounce it, anyway, but you could ask a typing teacher. I guess they’re all keyboarding teachers now since people don’t use typewriters much.

    Reply
  134. Mike -  September 20, 2010 - 2:01 pm

    An important reason for the QWERTY design is that the word TYPEWRITER occurs all on the top line. This made demonstrations of the new device easier.

    Reply
  135. Soup -  September 20, 2010 - 1:52 pm

    @hannah nicole

    Q-Weretee

    Reply
  136. Milli -  September 20, 2010 - 1:51 pm

    lol I agree with Jen. These useless bits of knowledge are awesome! XD

    Reply
  137. matt -  September 20, 2010 - 1:27 pm

    I did not know there was a history behind it.

    Reply
  138. dogfoodmatt -  September 20, 2010 - 1:21 pm

    I just wish I knew how to spell, & type! I think if I could spell better
    I would be a better typist

    Reply
  139. carol -  September 20, 2010 - 1:19 pm

    @hannah nicole – Why would you call this simple fix stupid? Speaking of which – it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know how to pronounce it.

    And a bonus that the developer of the querty setup could never have imagined – it works out beautifully that the left hand can do so much of the work, since many of us constantly take our right hand away from the keyboard to operate the mouse.

    Reply
  140. Winter Tebo -  September 20, 2010 - 1:19 pm

    you pronounce it as que-w-er-ty
    i think it might evantally stand for something.

    Reply
  141. Joan -  September 20, 2010 - 1:02 pm

    It is, indeed, all of these fabulously useful and yet oh so meaningful to people like me, that are language nerds and many volumes worth of knowledge ourselves through the way we know and love the world through books and the power of communication in all forms! QWERTY forever in my book. I’m not taking the time to learn a new keyboard now, I have also been typing for 40 years of my life.

    Reply
  142. Laura -  September 20, 2010 - 12:33 pm

    He developed the QWERTY keyboard because the hammer used to type the letters kept getting jammed due to people typing too fast (more than one key would try to hit the same spot since the hardware couldn’t move faster than people’s fingers). So he made an inefficient method of typing to slow us down. A common example of infrastructure and hardware accommodation for human interface design. Now everyone is used to typing with an inefficient method and we have not used actual type writers in ages. It is hard to change infrastructure once it is set. I prefer to use the Dvorak keyboard. Much more efficient and I type way faster!

    Reply
  143. Steve -  September 20, 2010 - 11:37 am

    Being a huge fan of useless trivia, I had run across this before, I think in one of the volumes of “Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader.” When the typewriters first hit the everyday office, the letters were in their normal alphabetic order. But secretaries were typing so fast that the keys were forever jamming. So they redesigned the keyboard layout, based on relative letter usage, to evenly divide the most used letters, and common letter combinations (such as ‘qu’), as well as to slow down the efficiency of the typists, giving the mechanism the chance to keep up. Technically, there’s no reason that the keyboards for computers (or even electric typewriters) should maintain the QWERTY layout, other than convention.

    Reply
  144. big daddy -  September 20, 2010 - 10:35 am

    Every time I click one of these little info guys and read something totally interesting I feel one step closer to Final Jeopardy.

    Reply
  145. AMY-LOU -  September 20, 2010 - 10:32 am

    wow thanks for blogging on this now i can go on with my life knowing i now have more knowledge that won’t ever help me in life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  146. QWERTY | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  September 20, 2010 - 10:15 am

    [...] — It must be a word say “QWERTY” — with symbolic meaning not wordy — And it’s good to change your permalinks to [...]

    Reply
  147. Hakim -  September 20, 2010 - 10:12 am

    I believe you mean ‘trivia’.

    Reply
  148. dell -  September 20, 2010 - 9:58 am

    this is weird!

    Reply
  149. Paul F -  September 20, 2010 - 9:50 am

    The longest word that can be spelled with only the left hand? STEWARDESSES

    Reply
  150. Silver Fang -  September 20, 2010 - 9:39 am

    I love the QWERTY layout because it’s what I’m used to. I have no desire to learn another layout.

    Reply
  151. Raja Indianness -  September 20, 2010 - 9:37 am

    The longest word typed with the left hand fingers is “stewardess”

    Reply
  152. Heather -  September 20, 2010 - 9:34 am

    Hannah, you pronounce it just how it sounds…

    Reply
  153. scarlett -  September 20, 2010 - 9:30 am

    lol I remember my Nana wondering for ages what QWERTY meant, until my sister and I finally told her!! I didn’t know there were other types of keyboard…I just type with my index fingers so I’m Ok anyhow!

    Lovely useless knowledge indeed Jen!

    Reply
  154. APR -  September 20, 2010 - 9:26 am

    The most interesting part, to my mind, is why the QWERTY layout was set up how it is.

    In order to prevent type-bar jamming, the layout was made as counterintuitive as possible, in hopes of slowing down typists. I.e., commonly used letter combinations were set away from each other on purpose in order to make typing more difficult. (One wonders why E and R ended up side-by-side in that case.)

    hannah nicole: You pronounce it “KWER-tee.”

    Reply
  155. Jen -  September 10, 2010 - 10:55 am

    I love all these bits of useless knowledge.

    Reply
  156. Becca -  September 9, 2010 - 8:58 pm

    That is AWSOME!

    Reply
  157. hannah nicole -  September 9, 2010 - 4:50 pm

    that is so stupid how do you even pronounce the freakin word qwerty

    Reply
  158. I got promoted! -  September 9, 2010 - 4:20 pm

    Although left hand is more useful in typing, the right hand is definitely handy altogether.

    Muscle autonomous reflection is to be reverted at the end of the time of barbequing season.

    Reply

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