Ampersand

Ampersand
&

Ampersand
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An ampersand (or epershand; "&") is a logogram representing the conjunction word "and". The symbol is a ligature of the letters in et, Latin for "and".

Contents

Etymology

The word ampersand is a conflation of the phrase "and per se and", meaning "and [the symbol which] by itself [is] and".[1] The Scots and Scottish English name for "&" is epershand, derived from "et per se and", with the same meaning.

Traditionally, in English-speaking schools when reciting the alphabet, any letter that could also be used as a word in itself ("A", "I", and, at one point, "O") was preceded by the Latin expression per se (Latin for "by itself"). Also, it was common practice to add at the end of the alphabet the "&" sign as the 27th letter, pronounced and. Thus, the recitation of the alphabet would end in: "X, Y, Z and per se and". This last phrase was routinely slurred to "ampersand" and the term crept into common English usage by around 1837.[2][3]

Through popular etymology, it has been claimed that André-Marie Ampère used the symbol in his widely read publications, and that people began calling the new shape "Ampère's and".[4]

History

Evolution of the ampersand
The modern ampersand is virtually identical to that of the Carolingian minuscule. The italic ampersand, to the right, is originally a later et-ligature.
Et ligature in Insular script

The ampersand can be traced back to the 1st century A.D. and the Old Roman cursive, in which the letters E and T occasionally were written together to form a ligature (figure 1). In the later and more flowing New Roman Cursive, ligatures of all kinds were extremely common; figure 2 and 3 from the middle of 5th century are both examples of how the et-ligature could look in this script. However, during the following development of the Latin script that led up to the Carolingian minuscule (7th century), while the use of ligatures in general diminished, the et-ligature continued to be used and gradually became more stylized and less revealing of its origin (figures 4–6).[5]

The modern italic type ampersand is a kind of et-ligature that goes back to the cursive scripts developed during the Renaissance. After the advent of printing in Europe in 1455, printers made extensive use of both the italic and Roman ampersands. Since the ampersand's roots go back to Roman times, many languages that use a variation of the Latin alphabet make use of it.

The ampersand often appeared as a letter at the end of the Latin alphabet, as for example in Byrhtferð list of letters from 1111.[6] Similarly, & was regarded as the 27th letter of the English alphabet, as used by children (in the USA). An example may be seen in M. B. Moore's 1863 book The Dixie Primer, for the Little Folks.[7] In her 1859 novel Adam Bede, George Eliot refers to this when she makes Jacob Storey say, "He thought it [Z] had only been put to finish off th' alphabet like; though ampusand would ha' done as well, for what he could see."[8]

The ampersand should not be confused with the Tironian "et" (“⁊”), which is a symbol similar to the numeral 7. Both symbols have their roots in the classical antiquity, and both signs were used up through the Middle Ages as a representation for the Latin word "et" ("and"). However, while the ampersand was in origin a common ligature in the everyday script, the Tironian "et" was part of a highly specialised stenographic shorthand.[9]

Writing the ampersand

A handwritten ampersand
A simplified, handwritten ampersand

In everyday handwriting, the ampersand is sometimes simplified as an ε superimposed by a vertical line.

Alternatively, it is sometimes written as a t or a + sign with an added loop, resembling the phonetic symbol for a voiceless alveolar lateral fricative [ɬ]. This type of ampersand may actually be a rendering of the + sign or of the Tironian "et".

Usage

The ampersand is now rarely used when writing paragraphs.[citation needed] The main surviving use of the ampersand is in the formal names of businesses (especially firms and partnerships, particularly law firms, architectural firms, and stockbroker firms).[citation needed] In such names, a comma never follows the word just before the ampersand. When the ampersand forms part of a registered name (e.g. Brown & Watson), it should not be replaced with and.

With the growth of mobile phone usage and text messaging, the ampersand is gaining new use in SMS language both as a representation for the word "and" and in rebus form, such as "pl&" in place of the word "planned".[10]

The ampersand is also often used when addressing a couple in writing: "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" or "Jane & John".

The ampersand is also used for book and movie titles, such as Harry & Tonto, and in some other proper names.[citation needed] In these cases, & is interchangeable with the word and; the distinction between them is mostly aesthetic.[citation needed] However, in film credits for story, screenplay, etc., & indicates a closer collaboration than and. The ampersand is used by the Writers Guild of America to denote when two writers collaborated on a specific script, rather than having rewritten another writer's work. In screenplays, two authors joined with & collaborated on the script, while two authors joined with and worked on the script at different times and may not have consulted each other at all.[11] In the latter case, they both contributed enough significant material to the screenplay to receive credit but did not work together (more than likely one was hired to rewrite the previous writer's script).

Many of the first role-playing games used the & in their titles along with alliteration: Tunnels & Trolls, Bunnies & Burrows, and most famously Dungeons & Dragons, which is commonly abbreviated as D&D.

In APA style, the ampersand is used when citing sources in text such as (Jones & Jones, 2005). In the list of references, an ampersand precedes the last author's name when there is more than one author.[12] (This does not apply to MLA style, which calls for the "and" to be spelled.[13])

The phrase et cetera ("and so forth"), usually written as etc. can be abbreviated &c. representing the combination et + c(etera).

The ampersand can be used to indicate that the "and" in a listed item is a part of the item's name and not a separator (e.g. "Rock, pop, rhythm & blues, and hip hop").

Encoding and display

Some modern fonts, like Trebuchet MS or Myriad Web Pro, employ ampersand characters that are revealing of its origin

In the Trebuchet MS font, the ampersand is rendered as &. The "et" ligature is easily noticed.

The character is Unicode U+0026 & ampersand (38decimal, HTML: & &), this is inherited from the same value in ASCII. Apart from this, Unicode also has the variants:

  • U+FE60 small ampersand (HTML: ﹠ )
  • U+FF06 fullwidth ampersand (HTML: & in block Halfwidth and Fullwidth Forms)
  • U+214B inverted ampersand (HTML: ⅋ )

On the QWERTY keyboard layout it is Shift+7. It is almost always available on any keyboard layout, sometimes on Shift+6 or Shift+8. On the AZERTY keyboard layout it is just &.

Computing

In the 20th century, following the development of formal logic, the ampersand became a commonly used logical notation for the binary operator or sentential connective AND. This usage was adopted in computing.

Programming languages

Many languages with syntax derived from C, including C++, Perl,[14] and more differentiate between:

  • & for bitwise AND. (4 & 2) is zero, (4 & 5) is 4.
  • && for short-circuit logical AND. (4 && 2) is true.

In C, C++, and Go, a prefix "&" is a unary operator denoting the address in memory of the argument, e.g. &x, &func, &a[3].

In C++ and PHP, unary prefix & before a formal parameter of a function denotes pass-by-reference.

In Fortran, the ampersand forces the compiler to treat two lines as one. This is accomplished by placing an ampersand at the end of the first line and at the beginning of the second line.

In Common Lisp, the ampersand is the prefix for lambda list keywords.[15]

Ampersand is the string concatenation operator in many BASIC dialects, AppleScript, HyperTalk, and FileMaker. In the Ada it applies to all one-dimensional arrays, not just strings.

BASIC-PLUS on the DEC PDP-11 uses the ampersand as a short form of the verb PRINT.

Applesoft BASIC used the ampersand as an internal command, not intended to be used for general programming, that invoked a machine language program in the computer's ROM.

In some versions of BASIC, unary suffix & denotes a variable is of type long, or 32 bits in length.

The ampersand is occasionally used as a prefix to denote a hexadecimal number, such as &FF for decimal 255, for instance in BBC BASIC. Some other languages, such as the Monitor built into ROM on the Commodore 128, used it to indicate octal instead, a convention that spread throughout the Commodore community and is now used in the VICE emulator.

In MySQL the '&' has dual roles. As well as a logical AND, it additionally serves as the bitwise operator of an intersection between elements.

The ampersand character is used as a special character in at least some versions of the database software originally created in Denmark under the name Navision (the software has since been acquired by Microsoft). Using this character in either "Text" or "Code" fields could create difficulties for performing certain tasks in Navision, such as filtering records (either by the user or by programming). It is also used as described below to indicate shortcuts in menu items and labels.

Perl uses the ampersand as a sigil to refer to subroutines:

  • In Perl 4 and earlier, it was effectively required to call user-defined subroutines[16]
  • In Perl 5, it can still be used to modify the way user-defined subroutines are called[17]
  • In Perl 6, the ampersand sigil is only used when referring to a subroutine as an object, never when calling it[18]

Text Markup

In SGML, XML, and HTML, the ampersand is used to introduce an SGML entity. The HTML and XML encoding for the ampersand character is the entity "&"[19] (pronounced "amper-amp"). This creates what is known as the ampersand problem. For instance, when putting URLs or other material containing ampersands into XML format files such as RSS files the amp; has to be added to the & or they are considered not well formed and computers will be unable to read the files correctly. SGML derived the use from IBM Generalized Markup Language, which was one of many IBM-mainframe languages to use the ampersand to signal a text substitution, eventually going back to System/360 macro assembly language.

In the plain TeX markup language, the ampersand is used to mark tabstops. The ampersand itself can be applied in TeX with \&. The Computer Modern fonts replace it with an "E.T." symbol in the cmti#(text italic) fonts, so it can be entered as {\it\&} in running text when using the default (Computer Modern) fonts.[20]

In Microsoft Windows menus, labels and other captions, the ampersand is used to denote the keyboard shortcut for that option (Alt + that letter, which appears underlined). A double ampersand is needed in order to display a real ampersand. This convention originated in the first WIN32 api, and is used in Windows Forms,[21] and is also copied into many other tookits on multiple operating systems.

Unix shells

Some Unix shells use the ampersand as a metacharacter:

Some Unix shells, like the POSIX standard sh shell, use the ampersand to execute a process in the background and to duplicate file descriptors.

  • In Bash, the ampersand can separate words, control the command history, duplicate file descriptors, perform logical operations, control jobs, and participate in Regular expressions.[22]

Web standards

The generic URL (Uniform Resource Locator) syntax allows for a query string to be appended to a file name in a web address so that additional information can be passed to a script; the question mark, or query mark, ?, is used to indicate the start of a query string. A query string is usually made up of a number of different name–value pairs, each separated by the ampersand symbol, &. For example, www.example.com/login.php?username=test&password=blank. But see also "Ampersands in URI attribute values".

See also

References

  1. ^ "The ampersand". Adobe Fonts. http://store.adobe.com/type/topics/theampersand.html. 
  2. ^ "The ampersand". word-detective. http://www.word-detective.com/052003.html#ampersand. 
  3. ^ "What character was removed from the alphabet but is still used every day?". The Hot Word. Dictionary.com. September 2, 2011. http://hotword.dictionary.com/ampersand/. 
  4. ^ For examples of this misunderstanding, see Jessie Bedford, Elizabeth Godfrey: English Children in the Olden Time, page 22. Methuen & co, 1907, p. 22; Harry Alfred Long: Personal and Family Names, page 98. Hamilton, Adams & co, 1883.
  5. ^ Jan Tschichold: "Formenwandlung der et-Zeichen."
  6. ^ Everson, Michael; Sigurðsson, Baldur; Málstöð, Íslensk (1994-06-07). "On the status of the Latin letter þorn and of its sorting order". Evertype. http://www.evertype.com/standards/wynnyogh/thorn.html. 
  7. ^ "The Dixie Primer, for the Little Folks". Branson, Farrar & Co., Raleigh NC. http://docsouth.unc.edu/imls/moore/moore.html#moore5. 
  8. ^ George Eliot: Adam Bede. Chapter XXI. online at Project Gutenberg
  9. ^ "Ampersand". The Online Etymological Dictionary. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=ampersand. 
  10. ^ "SMS terms & SMS glossary & SMS definitions & SMS abbreviation". Environmental Studies. http://www.environmental-studies.de/SIM-Card/SMS/SMS-glossary/sms-glossary.html. 
  11. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Writers Guild of America. http://www.wga.org/subpage.aspx?id=1019#credits4. 
  12. ^ http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/03/
  13. ^ http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/06/
  14. ^ "perlop – Perl operators and precedence". http://www.perl.com/doc/manual/html/pod/perlop.html. 
  15. ^ "3.4.1 Ordinary Lambda Lists". Common Lisp - Hyper Spec. Lisp Works. http://www.lispworks.com/documentation/HyperSpec/Body/03_da.htm. Retrieved 30 August 2010. 
  16. ^ "PERL – Subroutines". http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs.cmu.edu/Web/People/rgs/pl-sub.html. 
  17. ^ "What is the point of the & / ampersand sigil for function refs?". PerlMonks. http://www.perlmonks.org/?node_id=428024. 
  18. ^ "Exegesis 6". Perl.com. http://www.perl.com/pub/a/2003/07/29/exegesis6.html. 
  19. ^ "HTML Compatibility Guidelines". World Wide Web Consortium. http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/guidelines.html#C_12. 
  20. ^ Knuth, Donald. The TEXbook. p. 428. ISBN 0-201-13447-0. 
  21. ^ How to: Create Access Keys for Windows Forms Controls, from msdn.microsoft.com
  22. ^ "UNIX Manual page: bash - GNU Bourne-Again SHell" (manpage). 2006-09-28. http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/cgi-bin/manpage?1+bash. Retrieved June 20, 2009. 

External links


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  • ampersand — (n.) 1837, contraction of and per se and, meaning (the character) & by itself is and (a hybrid phrase, partly in Latin, partly in English). The symbol is based on the Latin word et and, and comes from an old Roman system of shorthand signs… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Ampersand — Am per*sand, n. [A corruption of and, per se and, i. e., & by itself makes and.] A word used to describe the character ?, ?, or &. Halliwell. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ampersand — |émper sénde| s. m. Sinal gráfico (&) usado para substituir a conjunção e, notadamente em nomes comerciais. = E COMERCIAL   ‣ Etimologia: palavra inglesa …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • ampersand — is the name of the symbol & used as a short form of ‘and’. It was used extensively by H. W. Fowler, both in print and in writing, and is most common in handwritten work, although the more cursive plus sign + is tending to oust it. It also occurs… …   Modern English usage

  • ampersand — ► NOUN ▪ the sign &, standing for and or the Latin et. ORIGIN alteration of and per se and ‘& by itself is and’, chanted as an aid to learning the sign …   English terms dictionary

  • ampersand — [am′pər sand΄] n. [< and per se and, lit., (the sign) & by itself (is) and] a sign (& or ℰ) meaning and: it represents the Latin word et (and) …   English World dictionary

  • Ampersand — Satzzeichen , –, , ―  . ,  , ,  ; ,  : ,  … ,  ·  ¿, ?, !, ¡, ‽, ؟ „…“, »…« … …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • ampersand — UK [ˈæmpə(r)ˌsænd] / US [ˈæmpərˌsænd] noun [countable] Word forms ampersand : singular ampersand plural ampersands the symbol &, used in writing instead of the word and Smith & Company …   English dictionary

  • ampersand — noun /ˈæm.pə(ɹ).sænd,ˈæmp.ə(ɹ)ˌzænd/ The symbol . The ampersand character in many logics acts as an operator connecting two propositions …   Wiktionary

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