The Ampersand

Simon asks,

I am trying to find information on the use of the sign ‘&’ to replace ‘and’ in English. When is it acceptable to use this sign? I understood that it could only be used for Proper Nouns, eg. the name of a company ‘Fox & Sons Ltd.’ but never in a normal sentence such as ‘this fees & charges handbook specifies the procedures to be followed.’ I’d be happy to know what the rule is.

The ampersand (&) comes from an alteration of and per se and, & (the sign) by itself (means) and. The Associated Press Stylebook says that you should use it when it is part of a company’s formal name, but never simply in place of and. Simon seems to have understood correctly.

This entry was posted in mechanics. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 Responses to The Ampersand

  1. David Wright says:

    I like to use the ampersand in lists to distinguish sub-items from items.
    for example:
    cars & trucks, boats & submarines, and planes & balloons.
    I feel this use makes it more readable than
    cars and trucks, boats and submarines, and planes and balloons.
    What do you think?

  2. sam says:

    Yes, i agree, this seems to be the most aesthetically pleasing & logical way, and of course saves some time

  3. Jannah says:

    Grammatically, you should be using a semi-colon (;) in a list like that.