TAKE A STAND ON THE AMPERSAND

By Mark Welsh

After 30 years subverting language for craven commercial purposes I'm hardly qualified to get all "Grandma Grammar" on anyone's ass about what's proper and what's not.  But an overused abbreviation is ambitiously sweeping the world right now, and none of our dangling participles are safe.  It goes by the name of "ampersand". You may know it by its street tag:

 The ampersand has been prancing about in brandbooks & catalogs & advertising a lot of late, sucking in it's prosperous belly and masquerading as the exact equivalent of and - which it isn't and never will be, no matter how seductively it loops and swoops.  And should be used in the majority of cases, while & should be used in just a few (see below).  & just because it's quicker to write & than and, doesn't mean it's okay to interchange them willy nilly like no-one will notice.  I noticed, and i've been grinding my teeth in my sleep about it for months.  Thanks a lot &.  

Herewith, hereby, and heretofore, the rules and regulations of AND vs. & (that no one ever asked for). 

 

 WHEN SHOULD AND BE &? 

& is appropriate in business names, like "Rich & Honest Bank" or "Grammar & Grandpa's proofreading"

& is okay when space is limited; e.g. long lists and tiny disclaimer text that no one ever reads anyway

& is used to indicate a closer collaboration than and in film credits for stories and screenplays, etc. 

And & is made for beautiful logos in a way that and sadly is not.

Stay tuned for next week's rant about the exclamation mark: Overused or merely misunderstood?!!!!!