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How can I pronounce @ symbol: At / At the rate?
Can I use it in a sentence? Please explain with an example.

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you can use it to specify a time, e.g. "Let's meet @ 5pm", but don't use it in formal writing. –  roman m Oct 21 '10 at 22:26
    
I'm sure I remember reading many years ago that "@" was called an arabesque; but I can't now find any conclusive reference to this on the web. So perhaps my recollection is faulty. –  John R Ramsden Nov 26 '11 at 20:15
    
There is quite a list of pronunciations here... ss64.com/bash/syntax-pronounce.html –  GEdgar Jan 25 '12 at 14:28

5 Answers 5

up vote 10 down vote accepted

How can I pronounce @ symbol: At / At the rate?

The "at mark", "at sign", or "at symbol" is its usual name. According to Wikipedia its official name is "commercial at".

Can I use it in a sentence? Please explain with an example.

It has no function in English sentences.

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"My email address is john@generic.com." You are saying that the @ has no function here? Or that this is not an English sentence? –  Kosmonaut Sep 7 '10 at 15:09
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@Shinto Sherlock: Isn't it funny that you used @Kosmonaut when you replied to me? You just used @ in a meaningful way in English! –  Kosmonaut Sep 7 '10 at 16:38
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Aw please, @ has no function in English sentences. –  delete Sep 7 '10 at 23:14
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@Ex-user - @ has plenty of uses in an English sentence. Even more so since the emergence of the web. To say it has no use, do you mean it doesn't have a meaning, what is your argument? When giving an email address @ is used to indicate existence at a certain location replacing 'at' e.g. john 'at' hotmail.com. As indicated by @moioci it was previously used to indicate a price point for a multiple of an item. –  xiaohouzi79 Jan 27 '11 at 5:19
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NB I have never come across the sign referred to as "commercial at" in any contexts other than asking what the sign is called - in standard usage it is simply called "at sign" (or one of the others noted in the answer). –  psmears May 10 '11 at 21:41

At sign

The at sign (@), also called the ampersat, apetail, arroba, atmark, acosta, at symbol, commercial at, curlat or monkey tail, ...

If you would like to mention the symbol by name, ampersat seems to be the most easily recognized among its many names.

UrbanDictionary and GoogleAnswers mention that it is also called the 'amphora'.

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"At" as in "my email address is name at domain dot com."

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I believe this should be the correct answer, since the question was actually how do I pronouce (as opposed to what is) this symbol. –  Anonymous Type Sep 30 '10 at 0:24

Many years ago, when email addresses were a rarity (probably 1988 or so), the British newspaper The Guardian asked readers of the technology supplement to answer this question. I think the most popular answer from readers was (not surprisingly) at: however my favourite suggestion, based on the visual appearance of the character, was bellybutton.

I think it's a shame that didn't catch on: doesn't "my email address is john dot smith bellybutton hotmail dot com" have a certain ring to it?

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Classic computer software programmers call it Null Character

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4  
Classic computer software programmers?!?! –  delete Sep 7 '10 at 7:57
    
Yes, before the Java and the .NET era –  mmonem Sep 7 '10 at 11:23
    
Before C too, I guess, since in C null is zero and no character set that I know of maps the zero byte to @. –  Mr. Shiny and New 安宇 Sep 7 '10 at 14:17
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null (ASCII 0) is ^@ (Ctrl-@) –  Dennis Williamson Sep 7 '10 at 18:13
    
@Dennis: now we know that you are a classic computer software programmer. –  delete Sep 7 '10 at 23:44

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