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Symbol at (@), everything you need to know about it

El at symbol, which is how the @ symbol; it is increasingly present in our lives thanks to the irruption of the internet. Its use has evolved in such a way that it is now used in social networks to mention a specific user.

The origin of the symbol at

It is believed that the origin of the symbol at, the "@“; It comes from a letter from a 1448th century Italian merchant discovered in the Mediterranean area. In the letter, the symbol is used as a way of referring to each of the amphoras that carried products to Rome. Another possible origin is in the Taula de Ariza of XNUMX, in an entry of wheat into the Kingdom of Aragon from Castile.

Its use as a symbol of a unit of weight spread in Italy, Spain and France, which made even old typewriters adopt that symbol in their first models. In Anglo-Saxon countries, its use was adopted to save space for the preposition "at“, and as a substitute for “at the rate of” to refer to payers or debtors in accounting documents.

How to put the at symbol with the keyboard

For put the @ symbol On a normal keyboard, we have to hold down the “Alt Gr” button, located to the right of the space bar, and press the “2” button located above the “Q” and “W” keys. This occurs because with the secondary character button, pressing the "2" key, we can put the at symbol keyboard.

On an iOS, Android, or console interface keyboard, the at symbol is usually in the special symbols section of the operating system keyboard. this position will depend on the system or even the keyboard application that we use.

At symbol on an Android keyboard

Use of at in science and mathematics

When writing test results, you need to add the conditions under which the data was collected to see if different conditions yield different results. An example can be the density of a liquid at a certain temperature, that is why the @ symbol is placed in front of the condition in which it has been checked, in this case, in front of the temperature measurement.

Here the symbol is used because of its history of use, substituting the preposition “at” in English. Using a single character instead of two can save time and space when doing many checks on a regular basis.

Using the at symbol in emails

Like its use to replace “at” in the English language was very widespread, the at sign is used as the symbol with which to mention dedicated spaces on a website. This is why what is used in email addresses, and to explain it in a simple way, we have the following example:

In the wrong direction[email protected]“, the email service client will send the email to the address “fernandez.com“, and the webmail server will send the message to “Juan" and "fernandez.com“. Thus, Juan received a message from the Fernandez.com website.

Its use has evolved so that in social networks such as Twitter and Instagram, the same terminology is used to refer to users of said social networks. For example, if in either of these two social networks you send a message with @Hardwaresfera, you will be sending a message addressed to us.

Why is the at symbol used in emails?

The reason that symbol is used is quite simple: not used in common names from anywhere in the world, which serves to define a separation between username and domain name. Periods can be used as first and last name separators in the absence of an empty space character. It is also used because it has been used to refer to something in one place, in this case, a user within an email service.

Other places where the at symbol is used

The use of this symbol in computing, It is not reserved only for emails, since it is used in computer languages, with different uses in each one. In ALGOL 68, it is a shortened form of the keyword “at“, whose function is to change the lower limit of an array. For the ActionScript language, it is used in XML parsing as a text string prefix to identify attributes as opposed to child elements.

In C#, the symbol denotes "string literals" where no escape characters have been used and where two double quotes in a row represent a double quote. As a prefix it also allows keywords to be used as identifiers.

It has also been used to indicate the position on the screen to write in some BASIC dialects. In Lotus 1-2-3, the at sign was the prefix for math functions. For the DOS system and in the Windows command console, the instructions prefixed with an at are not displayed on the screen). For bash, the @ character it is treated as a wild card that expands in a special way.

Is the use of the at symbol correct in Spanish inclusive language?

A secondary use that has been given to the @ symbol is that the at in inclusive language of Spanish in written texts. But it is not valid in spoken language as it is unpronounceable. The idea of ​​using it in inclusive language is based on the fact that the symbol has both the form of a feminine "a" and a masculine "o". By using it, includes both the male and female gender in words in which the gender is implicit in their name.

For example, the word "happy" is masculine while "happy" is feminine. In the case of wanting inclusive language to be used in a written text, use the at symbol to refer to both genders and you get the word "Happy“, to refer to both “happy” in the masculine and “happy” in the feminine.

This use is simply reduced to when it is written since it is impossible to use it in spoken language. It also has its criticisms. One of them is that for people who use text-to-speech technology, words that have strange symbols are not recognized and therefore difficult to read.

What does the RAE say about the "@" in the language even?

It must be taken into account that the at sign is not a linguistic sign and, therefore, its use in these cases is inadmissible from the normative point of view; Added to this is the impossibility of applying this integrative formula in many cases without giving rise to serious inconsistencies.

Royal Spanish Academy

The Royal Spanish Academy understands the use of the at sign to eliminate redundant words in circulars and posters, but it is not recommended for use in a formal setting. It should be said that the word of the RAE is not definitive and can be used if it is convenient or if its use makes reading or writing more comfortable, provided there is no possibility of doubt.

It is common to see in circulars for internal use in schools using “the students” or in companies using “the worker/s”, although there are certain words that do not lend themselves to this use because the masculine does not use the “o“, but the “e”. It should be said that although the idea of ​​using the at symbol as a form of inclusive language was widespread for two decades, recently there are groups that prefer to use the "e” to include the two main genders and other people on the gender spectrum such as non-binary people.

Why is “arroba” sometimes written as “carob”?

This return of the word "arroba" to "carob" as if it were a Brugeura comic, is a way of trying to avoid spam by bots. The idea is that the bots are massively investigating the topics of the forums to find emails to send spam to. By putting “carob” as “at”, it is intended to confuse mass bots that look for the at symbol “@” or “at” to add emails to their spam lists.

How do you say in english?

The “@” symbol in English is pronounced “at“, as a way of saying “en“. An example would be “[email protected]"it would be said"joe at mail dot com".

Why was the at sign created?

The @ was created several centuries ago in trade records several centuries ago. The use of @ in the computer field was created by Ray Tomlison in 1971, by putting the symbol between the user and the destination address when sending a message between two computers. He used the at symbol because it was one that already existed and was very little used in computing., so as not to confuse programs for computer scientists.

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Benjamin Rosa

Madrileño whose publishing career began in 2009. I love investigating curiosities that I later bring to you, readers, in articles. I studied photography, a skill that I use to create humorous photomontages.

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