COMMON SYMBOLS USED IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE

Ampersand - &

This symbol goes back to the first century AD , where the Latin word et ( meaning and) was written together in cursive literature. This symbol in the English language denotes the conjunction ‘and’ which is used to join two phrases .
It was not until the late 18th or 19th century when this was added to the English curriculum for students to be taught. The children would recite this symbol along with the other alphabets. Ampersand was recited as ‘and per se and’ which means “and by itself means and” . Over the years, this phrase joined together formed the word ‘Ampersand’ In the academic world , this symbol is not much appreciated since it is not considered formal . “And” is preferred in the academic world. Mostly we use this to cite multiple business names or names of authors.

Ellipsis - …

This symbol might look common to people who indulge a lot into literature. But to the rest of us , it is a confusing symbol of the English language. These three dots , termed as Ellipsis can be placed anywhere in a sentence - in the beginning , the end or in the middle. It is very powerful in bringing out a lot of meaning in the literary world. The most common meaning is a long pause but it is also used to represent an unfinished thought or a mysterious ending . The ellipsis is used to omit a part of a sentence which doesn’t alter the meaning in its entirety, but considered obsolete in the current context or if it makes the readers hard to understand.

Example :

So…The decision is final Um…I can ask the professor for another chance to prove myself

Sample from the literature :

From Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Hamlet:
To the next abstinence: the next more easy;
For use almost can change the stamp of nature,
And either . . . the devil, or throw him out
With wondrous potency. Once more, good night:
And when you are desirous to be bless'd,
I'll blessing beg of you.

At - @

This symbol goes back to the 15th century , when it meant “at the price of “ .This was used the merchants in those days to denote the price of their goods and commodities.

Example :

You will get leather jackets of good quality @ $60 in this small shop down the road.

But as the era of computers and electronic communications began , Roy Thompson from Massachusetts used this symbol to denote a message being transferred from one computer to another. Thus evolved the symbol @ being used so widely in the internet world .
It is also used in informal speech instead of the word ‘at’ , but it is recommended not to be used in the academic world or formal writing.

The Pound sign -

This symbol has a varied list of uses in the current world. It was initially called the Pound sign , but later it caused confusion in Britain because of their currency - The Pound. Hence they started calling it as “The Number Sign” . So #2 would represent ‘Number two’ It got introduced in the telephone as well by Bell Laboratories , when the telephone was being invented. It was used to send some specific signals to the operating system of the telephone.The developers and technicians started calling it “Octothrope” because of its 8 sharp edges It is widely used by programmers these days , to represent comments inside code. And last, as all of us well aware - The HashTag in Instagram , Twitter and other social media sites

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