Typing Signs and Writing Symbols, e.g. * # & % $
In addition to punctuation marks—which we use to separate written sentences and parts of sentences, and to make their meaning clear—English also uses a number of symbols and signs that act as abbreviations or have their own meaning. Some of these are more common in printed or typed writing, but all can also be used in handwriting. The most common signs and symbols used in English are listed below in alphabetical order, with name, usage and examples.
|sign||name and usage||examples|
The ampersand is short-hand for the word "and". It is typically seen in company names and various abbreviations.
| companies: Marks & Spencer, Dolce & Gabbana, Johnson & Johnson, and Tiffany & Co.
abbreviations: P&L (profit and loss), R&D (research and development), and B&B (bed and breakfast)
We use the asterisk to point to an annotation or footnote.
It can also be used as a substitute for letters in a swear word ("Oh f***!") or to make a name anonymous (Mr M***).
|We will refund* your payment in full in the case of loss during transit.
*provided such loss is reported within 7 days
|@|| at sign
Originally an accounting shorthand meaning "at the rate of".
Today the at sign is most commonly seen in email addresses and social media handles.
| accounting: 2 pens @ $3 = $6
social media: @englishclub
We use bullets to introduce items in a list.
| Shopping list:
The cent symbol is used in many national currencies to represent one-hundredth (1/100) of the basic monetary unit. For example, in the USA a cent is 1/100th of the dollar. It is typically written after the number.
The letter c or C in a circle indicates the presence of copyright on a work such as a book, film, website etc.
|© Oxford University Press 2019
COPYRIGHT © MMXIX SONY PICTURES
We use the symbol † to point to a footnote if an asterisk has already been used. If a third reference is needed the double dagger ‡ may be used.
The symbol † is also called an obelus when it is used to indicate that a person is deceased.
|We will refund* your payment in full† in the case of loss during transit.
*provided such loss is reported within 7 days
†subject to our terms and conditions
Indicates a measurement such as temperature, angle, longitude/latitude and alcoholic content.
| Water boils at 100°C (212°F).
Horizontal and vertical are at a 90° angle. The roof slopes at an angle of 30° to the hoizontal.
The latitude of the earth's equator is 0° (by definition). The tropics are roughly between 23° south and 23° north. Melbourne, Australia, lies on a latitude of 38° south and a longitude of 145° east.
The ditto mark indicates that the words above it should be repeated. (Not to be confused with double quotation mark.)
The dollar sign is a letter S crossed by a single or double vertical line. It represents the dollar, which is the basic monetary unit of various countries (USA, Canada, Australia and others), and is usually written before the amount. It may be combined with the letters "US" to signify American dollar (and other letters for other countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand).
For Sale US$77,430
|#|| number sign, pound sign, pound key, hash
The symbol # is commonly used with numbers, especially in American English.
It is also used on standard phone keyboards.
Since 2007 it has been used to create social media hashtags.
| numbers: Please go to Question #7.
phone: To see current charges please dial #567#.
hashtags: #englishclub, #tefl
We use the symbol % to indicate a percentage (that is, an amount in 100).
NB: In formal writing (except for scientific or technical works), you should really write the word out in full, that is "percent".
tea: $10.00There's a 50% chance of good weather tomorrow.
The prime symbol is most commonly used in measurements to indicate feet (1 foot = 12 inches). It comes after the number. (Not to be confused with apostrophe or single quotation mark.)
| He is 6' tall.
Danger! LOW BRIDGE 14'
|″||double prime symbol
The double prime symbol is most commonly used in measurements to indicate inches (12 inches = 1 foot). It comes after the number. (Not to be confused with double quotation mark.)
|You should bring a 6" ruler.|
|®||registered trademark symbol
The capital letter R in a circle indicates that the preceding word or symbol is a legally registered trademark.
Although the three-dot symbol ∴ is really a maths symbol (x + 1 = 6, ∴ x = 5), it is sometimes used as shorthand in informal writing to mean "therefore" or "for that reason".
|Had an injury, ∴ can't play next week.|
While the tilde has specific meanings in mathematics, programming and Spanish/Portuguese, in English its common use is to mean "approximately", usually before a number.
The tilde is also sometimes used as a fancy dash or hyphen, but this is not standard use.
| born ~455 AD
Let's meet ~15 mins before the start.
The capital letters TM indicate that the preceding word or symbol is a trademark.
|WORD UP™ Home Edition|