I write and post a lot of scripture, and often times will put the tilde at the beginning of the verse, with the reference in brackets at the end. I guess I started doing it simply because I like the looks of it. But, am wondering now if I'm committing some egregious error in doing so.

Thanks much, I appreciate your time and feedback for consideration. ;j

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    Hello, and welcome to English Language and Usage. Could you please provide us a sample of your usage of what you are calling a tilde and bracket with an appropriate short verse. Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 18:35
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    This is more about embellishment than correct use of punctuation. You could use a dingbat as a verse-marker if you so desired. I rather like the illuminated capitals of mediaeval times, but they took a little longer to produce than the readily available tilde. Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 19:00
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's not about the use of English. It's about the precise significance of a mathematical / logical symbol that not even mathematicians or logicians are in complete agreement over. Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 19:38
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's ultimately based on preferred style and thus opinion-based. In any case, where do tildes end and flourishes begin? Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 19:43

1 Answer 1


In English, the use of tilde before a number indicates that the number is approximate. For example, "~50 mph" is equivalent to "fifty miles per hour, more or less".

When used above a letter or a vowel, it indicates a change of pronunciation in certain languages, so borrowed words from such languages (Spanish and Portuguese, specifically) may keep the tilde in place.

In ancient texts, it was used to denote letters omitted from a word, or words from a sentence, specifically to save on ink and scribing effort.

Lastly, if all out on its lonesome, the tilde is little more than a fancy dash, such as one would see in a signature.

In the last sense, your usage to preface Scripture isn't an egregious misuse, but merely a stylistic choice.

~ George Erhard

  • Interesting and informative, but only the last sentence is germane. Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 19:44
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    Perhaps the question is a bit closed-ended. "Am I using X incorrectly?" The answer would be either "Yes, you are" or "No, you are not", perhaps with a bit of info as to why. However, I got the sense that this question had an element of "How do I use a tilde?" Thus, my answer. Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 21:01
  • But if OP had wanted general information on how to use a tilde in English, he should have added readily available results of research (lack of which would be a reason for closure of the question, not for providing OP with a look-it-up service). The request about the suggested unusual use of the tilde is probably unresearchable, but the question is then merely a question about style, with no definitive answer (and again not a valid one on ELU). Commented Mar 24, 2017 at 23:44

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