Writing for Business - A Whatis.com Blog

Dec 6 2012   8:26PM GMT

Do you use an ampersand in company names? Bonus: The fascinating history of the ampersand

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore


Which is correct?
__________________ is promoting eBooks as “instant gifts.”
a. Barnes & Noble
b. Barnes and Noble

Answer: a.

Barnes & Noble uses the ampersand in its name so we do too. Some guides, like the Chicago Manual of Style, once advised changing ampersands in company names to “ands” but they’ve changed their minds.

This post was inspired by a fascinating article on ampersands on Dictionary.com. You’ll have to go read it to see everything that’s so fascinating about it, but here are a few choice facts:

  • The ampersand originated as cursive et, Latin for and, back in the first century.
  • It would be another millenium-and-a-half before the word ampersand was coined.
  • The ampersand was once the 27th letter of the alphabet, pronounced as “and per se and,” which devolved to “ampersand.”


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