use of => symbol

For years I have used '=>' as a sign meaning 'should be changed to' and I have long since forgotten whether this is a personal idiosyncrasy or an actual existing usage.

e.g. "in the sentence above word 'jive' => 'jibe.'"

Is this familiar usage to anyone? Anyone else besides me, I mean.

• I use this sign as "result".
– user8568
May 23, 2011 at 15:56
• May 23, 2011 at 15:57
• @RegDwight, hm, don't see => or ⇒ there. May 23, 2011 at 16:08
• More anecdotal tales: I wouldn't know that this symbol meant anything in particular without context. The full sentence "In the sentence above, jive => jibe" provides enough context for me to know what was meant. May 23, 2011 at 16:47
• @Unreason: precisely my point. May 23, 2011 at 17:10

4 Answers

In logic it is used for implication, as shown in the table of symbols given by Wikipedia:

• p implies q is denoted with p ⇒ q

This is the 'demands' sense of 'implies', not the 'suggests'. If statement p is true, it necessarily follows that statement q is also true.

• Even outside of mathematics, the only sense I've known this symbol to be used for is "implies". May 23, 2011 at 17:50
• And other fields of maths, and also science, whether the user is thinking about implication (semantically/syntactically) or just some loose idea of deduction. May 23, 2011 at 18:52
• 'In logic it is used for implication' ⇏ 'It is not used otherwise elsewhere'. The spacing tilde (~), for example, has quite a range of different usages even in maths and related fields. The body question, not just the title question, needs addressing. Jan 21, 2021 at 11:05

In a regular text, I'd simply take it to mean changes/changed into, just like any random arrow, without any sense of desirability. Your particular interpretation is unfamiliar to me, and I believe it is not generally so used. Practice may be different in specific fields.

Of course you could indicate a desirable change with it, but I don't believe this desirability is inherent in the symbol.

As Unreason says, it means implication in formal logic: p => q means "if p, then q", just as p <=> q means "if p, then q; and if q, then p".

The usage is familiar to me also, but I don't know accepted it is. I don't know the approved editorial marks for paper proofreading (proofreading marks, but I've used '=>' in electronic text to say what I think should be done.

Which is to say, it is a reasonable symbol to mean "should be changed to", but therer is no official support for it that I know of.

('=>' has a technical but unrelated meaning in mathematical logic for a very specific kind of implication)

Are you sure it is not → [->] rather than ⇒ [=>]? The first one usually mean to substitute in place of the other.