1. Weoriel
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    Weoriel New Member

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    Question

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Weoriel, Jul 25, 2011.

    Is it acceptable to use an ampersand in a proper sentence? I see it on billboards and in commercials, but in writings? I generally write the word "and", and have no trouble. I was thinking more along the lines of in between two or more names.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Not in a proper sentence, with the exception of an ampersand that is part of a product trademark or a title of a creative work.
     
  3. Weoriel
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    Weoriel New Member

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    Thanks, I'd been wondering about that. It seems silly to even have an ampersand, if it's not proper to use it.
     
  4. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    It used to be proper. If you look at 19th century business correspondence it was used extensively, for example. And it is still usable in some contexts, as you and Cog have already noted. The thing is, it's a contraction, so it's used where contractions are appropriate. But it's not a spoken contraction; you can hear if somebody says "can't" instead of "cannot", but you can't hear somebody say "&" instead of "and" which pretty much kills it for the places where contractions would be used in creative writing. The only situation I'd add to the uses you and Cog have already observed is if you are trying to emulate that archaic business style I mentioned earlier. Oh, and for informal notes -- fridge notes and the like.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    yes, it was common usage in text a couple of centuries ago, is still in common use today for product names and in advertising... but should not be used in prose text...
     
  6. darkhaloangel
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    darkhaloangel Active Member

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    I think if you want to use it in prose text - go ahead and experiment. It's not killing anyone.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    but it would most likely kill that work's chances of being published!
     
  8. teacherayala
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    teacherayala Contributing Member

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    This "experiment" would only be appropriate if the medium of narration were, say, in diary or letter form such as Bridget Jones' Diary. Otherwise, if you're writing a 3rd person story, for example, whatever experiment attempted would be bound to fail if you are planning on publishing. Again, it really depends on the medium, and I would assume if you pepper even a letter or diary with ampersands then it would be really annoying to read.

    Just on a logical P.S.: It doesn't kill anyone to refuse to use punctuation, correct tense or indented paragraphs, but it doesn't mean that it's going to improve your writing. Rough draft writing you can do what you want as long as you keep the creative writing flow going, but really if you want an actual reader to pay attention to what you write, you need to write for the reader. Only certain genres can stretch these rules, and it really depends on the medium and context.
     

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