Hot answers tagged

104 votes
Accepted

Symbols for "YES" and "NO" in formal English writing

X for No and O for Yes are clearly understood by everyone in Japan, but not in English. In fact, in my first Japanese class in the US, when the teacher used these symbols, I thought that X meant Yes ...
curious-proofreader's user avatar
92 votes

Is there a symbol used with AD and BC to mean "possible date"?

Circa: (written abbreviation c); (ca) (used especially with years) approximately: He was born circa 1600.
Hot Licks's user avatar
  • 27.4k
91 votes
Accepted

How to pronounce the ^ symbol?

That looks like a caret symbol. From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caret ... The caret /ˈkærət/ is an inverted V-shaped grapheme. It is the spacing character ^ in ASCII [...] and other character ...
k1eran's user avatar
  • 22.6k
71 votes

Symbols for "YES" and "NO" in formal English writing

I am a native English speaker, with what I hope is an above average education. I can think of no good reason, especially for a conference paper, to use anything other than "Yes" and "No" when what you ...
MickeyfAgain_BeforeExitOfSO's user avatar
69 votes

How to pronounce the ^ symbol?

As a diacritic, this symbol is a circumflex. According to the linked Wikipedia article, hat, roof or house are used when the context is mathematics.
Thomas Francois's user avatar
51 votes

What's the best way of being clear that a dash ("–") is being used as subtraction in a written message?

The mathematical symbol - rarely appears between words, because of the likelihood of being misunderstood. If it has some spacing it could be taken as an en dash amount of widgets (total widgets this ...
Weather Vane's user avatar
  • 20.9k
50 votes

Symbols for "YES" and "NO" in formal English writing

I'd also consider using Y for Yes and N for No. I think this is clear for everyone speaking English. It may look worse in the manner of design but will be understood by all.
Robin Z.'s user avatar
  • 601
39 votes
Accepted

What is this swastika-looking symbol in John Hancock's family papers from circa 1762?

I am free & determined to be so & will not willingly & quietly subject myself to slavery. & = "and" I am free and determined to be so and will not willingly and quietly ...
chasly - supports Monica's user avatar
33 votes

How to pronounce the ^ symbol?

The answer depends entirely on context. If you're doing quantum mechanics, it's called a hat and signifies that the thing it's on top of is an operator (something that acts on a wave function to ...
Oscar Bravo's user avatar
32 votes

Is there a symbol used with AD and BC to mean "possible date"?

I don't know whether historians use it in this way, but one of the many uses of the tilde (~) is "approximation". Robinson discovered the island in ~202 BC. would therefore be read/...
Anthony Grist's user avatar
31 votes
Accepted

What do you call these symbols on either side of some text?

These look like fleurons: A fleuron, also known as printers' flower, is a typographic element, or glyph, used either as a punctuation mark or as an ornament for typographic compositions.
psmears's user avatar
  • 16.2k
25 votes

How to pronounce the ^ symbol?

A few symbols that look like ^: Well, ^ itself; in maths, I usually call it hat, but another answer says Wikipedia says it is also called roof or house; as a diacritic, I would call it a circumflex, ...
MickG's user avatar
  • 713
25 votes

What is the sign, used in documentation, that means illegible--in the same fashion as [sic]?

From the U.S. Library of Congress: Illegible or unclear text: Illegible text is anything you can’t read because a page is damaged, text is heavily crossed out or because you can’t tell what ...
Richard Kayser's user avatar
20 votes

What's the best way of being clear that a dash ("–") is being used as subtraction in a written message?

I'm going to present a slight frame challenge. Symbols such as -, +, ×, ÷ are best used in formulas, since the context makes their meaning clearer. If you're using prose, I'd suggest phrases such as &...
Syntax Junkie's user avatar
19 votes

Why are there 4 ambiguous phonetic symbols in IPA representations of English?

Actually, it's "worse" than that. Nearly all the vowels of English have more than one possible representation in IPA. For example: The vowel sound of the word "kit" can be written as [ɪ] or [i] The ...
herisson's user avatar
  • 81.6k
18 votes

Why are there 4 ambiguous phonetic symbols in IPA representations of English?

Within one language community, the IPA may be simplified for dictionary entries. The /r/ is a classic example. In strict IPA usage, it is the sign for an r sound with a short trill, as in Italian Roma,...
KarlG's user avatar
  • 28.1k
18 votes

What do you call these symbols on either side of some text?

In typography, these ornaments are called ❦ dingbats ❦ Here are some: Image source: Beyond the Bullets: 6 Great Uses For Dingbat Fonts
Tinfoil Hat's user avatar
  • 16.5k
17 votes

Is there a symbol used with AD and BC to mean "possible date"?

The Oxford English Dictionary prepends the letter c to indicate an approximate year: c1400 (▶?c1380) Pearl a quotation from a manuscript of around (= circa) 1400 preserving a text probably composed ...
Laurel's user avatar
  • 66.1k
16 votes
Accepted

Where does the @ symbol come from?

It seems the best current scholarly theory is "none of the above." The theories cited in the question have been proposed by various scholars, but there is little evidence to back any of them up. ...
Athanasius's user avatar
  • 2,363
13 votes

What is the name of the glyph that looks like a dash, but tapers on a single end?

These types of symbols are generally called ornaments or sometimes typographic ornaments (see here and the comment below for more info and alternate names). Your example is specifically a page ...
DyingIsFun's user avatar
  • 17.9k
13 votes
Accepted

Something appears valuable or precious but it isn't, symbolically equivalent to Pyrite?

Tinsel is a more common word which is symbolically equivalent to pyrite with its figurative usage; and it symbolizes something that appears valuable but is actually worthless. It comes from the fact ...
ermanen's user avatar
  • 62.7k
12 votes
Accepted

How to pronounce "×" in "12 × 3 mm²"?

'by' as in 12 by 3 square millimeters
Underminer's user avatar
12 votes
Accepted

What is the symbol that shows word blending called?

It is called an undertie: Undertie The undertie is used to represent linking (absence of a break) in the IPA. For example it is used to indicate liaison (e.g. /vuz‿ave/). On computers, the character ...
Mick's user avatar
  • 9,410
11 votes

Symbols for "YES" and "NO" in formal English writing

✓ and ✗ (or V and X if you stick to ASCII) seem to be understood correctly when all cases are filled. Reinforcing with colors (green and red respectively) helps to avoid confusion as well, when using ...
Dmitry Grigoryev's user avatar
11 votes

What is the sign, used in documentation, that means illegible--in the same fashion as [sic]?

The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, lists 3 possibilities: ellipsis points, bracketed comments or guesses (frequently with a question mark), or a 2-em dash. 13.57 Missing or illegible words. In ...
Stu W's user avatar
  • 7,116
11 votes

Something appears valuable or precious but it isn't, symbolically equivalent to Pyrite?

Ersatz means being a usually artificial and inferior substitute or imitation MW or ​artificial and not as good as the real thing or product OLD Ersatz City has a nice ring to it, if that works.
jimm101's user avatar
  • 10.6k
10 votes

Why are there 4 ambiguous phonetic symbols in IPA representations of English?

What you are seeing is not variation in pronunciation by different varieties. Most all dictionaries (OED, M-W, Collins, online dictionaries) will give one pronunciation for British English (RP) or ...
Mitch's user avatar
  • 71.2k
10 votes

Is there a symbol used with AD and BC to mean "possible date"?

If historians are uncertain about the date, is there a simple and short notation they can add to the date, to indicate the uncertainty? I'm looking for something like this, but more professional: ...
Decapitated Soul's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Are o͞o and ü interchangeable?

You should use neither of those for the phonemic representation of human. You should use the standard IPA, which is /ˈhjumən/. So that vowel is /u/, or with the leading glide, /ju/. Sometimes the ...
tchrist's user avatar
  • 134k
8 votes

Symbols for "YES" and "NO" in formal English writing

I'm writing a conference paper in English... My Japanese colleague told me that I should use "○" for YES and "x" for NO in my paper, but I think the right symbols should be "✓" for YES and "x" for NO. ...
lly's user avatar
  • 10.3k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible