3

Many of us are familiar with the section sign (§) and the paragraph sign or pilcrow (¶), but is there a sign, symbol, or mark meant to denote a sentence?

Potentially, such a mark could be used for precise citations, but I'm not really asking with any use-case in mind. I'm just itching to know if there is such a symbol, no matter how obscure!

I bring up the subject of citation because it is concise and referential. For instance, how can we refer to [sentence]5within ¶2 of §4.3?

  • Do the period (.) question mark (?) and exclamation point (!) not count? There's also some more obscure ones like the interrobang (‽) and irony mark (⸮). – Peter Olson Nov 5 '15 at 6:35
  • This Retinart article might suggest not. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 5 '15 at 6:36
  • @PeterOlson: That crossed my mind, but you cannot use these symbols to cite sentences (e.g. §5, or more unconventionally, ¶3-4). Furthermore, they are not interchangeable. If you were to cite (.5), would you be referring to the fifth sentence ending in a period, counting only those sentences that end in periods, or the fifth sentence overall, counting all sentences regardless of their ending punctuation? Lastly, if we are proposing symbols fit for citation, these would be poor candidates, since they are in common use as-is (.5 is likely to be seen as citing a sub-section, not a sentence). – Illya Moskvin Nov 5 '15 at 6:51
  • 1
    As a practical matter, either line numbers or sentence numbers (every sentence is counted) are used for citation. If the material is in a fixed form, line numbers are used, so "sect. 4.3, para. 2, ll. 3-5". This convention has, obviously, been undermined by the profusion of material not in fixed form (that is, web material). There, sentences are (laboriously) counted, and so "sect. 4.3, para. 2, sent. 3-5". Not the best solution, but the only one I know. – JEL Nov 5 '15 at 7:01
  • 2
    @JEL: That's exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for – is there any convention for turning the "sent." abbreviation into a single symbol? It seems like something that might become more common as more digital publication platforms offer automated citation features, particularly if their content is published in a non-static format (EPUB vs. PDF) and thus might span a variable number of pages depending on screen size. – Illya Moskvin Nov 5 '15 at 7:19
2

While not yet in usage I suggest this symbol: http://composedbytheword.com/2014/03/20/proposed-symbol-for-sentence/

Here is an archive link and text of this post for future reference:

In my cursory (internet) search I could not seem to find a symbol that means “sentence”.

I was typing an email, had put “2-3¶s” for shorthand and also wanted to put “3-4[symbol for sentence]s” but no symbol was to be found (and it wouldn’t be recognizable/understood anyway).

pilcrow-silcrow comparison

How about it Unicode?

Authored by Jared Eliason on Thu, 20 Mar 2014 21:27:14 GMT.

  • I saw this during my search too, and I rather like it! It is in a manner of speaking an example of visual back-formation using the pilcrow as the base. I believe that this should be the accepted answer, since it fits the wording of the question (it is an obscure, prior symbol), but I'd like to wait and see if any more-established contenders are submitted here. For now, here's a resounding +1 from me! – Illya Moskvin Nov 15 '15 at 5:14
  • I like it because it seems to be such a natural evolution. It makes me wonder why it's not already in use. – Misneac Nov 15 '15 at 6:00
  • Agreed. From our modern English-language perspective, it seems fitting that since the pilcrow resembles a P for paragraph, this "silcrow" ought to resemble an S for sentence. Naturally, this is in a way a case of folk etymology, and the pilcrow did not always resemble a backwards P, but such considerations are irrelevant if we are aiming to create a new symbol. However, I'm still holding out hope that there is a historic example of a sentence sign or an archaic equivalent thereto. – Illya Moskvin Nov 15 '15 at 6:16
  • I looked at proofreading symbols charts in numerous places and aside from the most widely used they're remarkably inconsistent. I had high hopes for finding one myself in some archaic edition, but no dice so far. – Misneac Nov 15 '15 at 6:22
  • 1
    One issue with this is that if it is used in manual proofreading or written by hand in other contexts it will look like a double-stroke dollar sign, although the 2010 Unicode standard apparently doesn't include that separately. – Andrew Leach Nov 15 '15 at 11:10

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.