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@ mark

Which is correct? 1. ‘at’ mark 2. ‘at’ symbol 3. ‘at’ sign 4. any other? Thank you.

  • October 23, 2004
  • Posted by itasan
  • Filed in Usage
  • 6 comments

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I believe its more official title is the 'Commercial At', but according to Wikipedia, the others are also acceptable.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commercial_at

chad October 24, 2004 @ 12:12AM

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I call it "the at sign" or "the at."

Slightly off topic... many people in the US call this # the "pound sign." This causes people from the UK to look around in vain for their national currency symbol.

speedwell2 October 27, 2004 @ 12:02PM

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Just alternate calling @ each suggestion, til someone notices and asks you about it...

But myself, I call it the @ sign.

pirobizen October 27, 2004 @ 9:51PM

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What I'm about to say is just philosophical play, not official English. I'm theorizing.

I think there is a subtle usage difference between "sign," "mark," and "symbol" that could be hinted at here. It could be broken down as follows:

Symbols may be thought of representations of relatively complicated concepts, not necessarily visual. "The cross is the symbol of Christianity." "The character of the old sick scholar in the play symbolizes the idea that experience does not equal knowledge."

Signs are representations of simpler concepts, such as single words or uncomplicated concepts. Signs are almost always visual but might not be written or drawn. "She shook her finger as a sign that she was displeased." "The teacher used sign language to communicate with her deaf pupil." "Sign your name to represent that you agree with the contract." The "at sign" refers to the word "at," just as the "plus sign" refers to the simple concept of addition. We have the "dollar sign" to indicate the word "dollars," and the "percent sign" to indicate the word "percent."

A "mark," in the sense we mean, is typically sentence punctuation or else some other sort of written smudge. We have "question mark," "quotation marks," etc. You might say, "Put a check mark beside the statements with which you agree."

Interestingly, in English a "peace sign" is the hand sign that used to be called "V for victory," and the "peace symbol" is the graphic that is supposed to show a dove's foot in a circle.

speedwell2 October 28, 2004 @ 3:15PM

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Oh, well, if you want to take MICROSOFT'S word for everything.... lol....

But if you would rather be accurate, @ is still a "mark."

What I see when I do an Insert/Symbol in Word is the full range of characters in the default "Symbol" font. (Technically they are "characters" in this context, not "symbols.") I see any number of punctuation "marks," tempo "marks" for music, letters, numbers, signs, symbols, table-building graphics, and bullet points. If I was to change the "Font" setting, I would see the full range of characters available on any one of my other installed fonts.

In other words, the fact that you may access the @ by doing something in MS Word is IRRELEVANT.

speedwell2 November 1, 2004 @ 8:43AM

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The news that Japanese is a different languiage from English will come as no surprise to anyone on this board; however, that's a really interesting fact. Thanks for mentioning it.

speedwell2 November 15, 2004 @ 7:57AM

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