Does it matter which hand I use?

Sign Language 101: Which hand should you use?

by | ASL Basics, Getting Started

The Surprising Question I Get All the Time

Which Hand for blogWhen I started teaching Tiny Signs classes back in 2009, I never would have guessed that the question I would get asked in almost every class session would be, “does it matter which hand I sign with?”

But it’s a great question and I’m always happy to answer. I actually have TWO answers to the question: the official American Sign Language answer and the “signing with a squirmy baby in your arms” answer. Check out the video to hear my explanation, or skip to below for a quick summary…

Here’s a quick recap…

One-Handed Signs

For one-handed signs – like “milk” – use your dominant hand. Your dominant hand is the hand you write with.

milkTwo-Handed Signs (same hand shape and motion)

For some two-handed signs – like “more” –  it doesn’t matter because your hands are doing the exact same thing.


Two-Handed Signs (different hand shape and motion)

For some two-handed signs – like “tree” –  your dominant hand (the one you write with) takes a starring role doing the main motion or action of the sign, and your other hand (non-dominant hand) takes a supporting role.


I hope that helps if this was a question on your mind. Let me know if you have any other questions in the Comments below!

Which Hand for Pinterest
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Hi, I’m Lane. I’m so glad you’re here!

As a new mom, I wanted to use sign language with my baby, but I wasn’t sure where to start.

After a trip to my local library and lots of trial and error, I figured it out—and I was honestly blown away by how much closer I felt to my daughter!

I decided every parent should be able to experience that deeper connection with their little one. So, I added American Sign Language training to my child development background, and I created my award-winning Tiny Signs program.

I’ve helped tens of thousands of families communicate through basic sign language, and I’d love to help you, too.

Lane Rebelo, LCSW, author of Baby Sign Language Made Easy and The Complete Guide to Baby Sign Language