Time to Ditch the Ampersand!

Most editors have a – short(?)- list of pet peeves. One of mine is the indiscriminate use of the ampersand. The wretched & that is too often used to replace the actual word – and.


Don’t get me wrong, there are legitimate uses for the ampersand. Use the ampersand when it is  part of the name of a business: e.g., Abercrombie & Fitch; Johnson & Johnson; or Bed Bath & Beyond. These companies have chosen to use an ampersand as part of their name and it is important to respect that. (Equally important, of course,  to respect those that have not chosen to use the ampersand, such as RW and Co.)


“But…. it saves time, and it’s such a pretty little sign…”

True, it is kind of cute, but how much time is realistically saved by typing one symbol – and one away from the main bank of letters at that – instead of three is surely debatable.


Nonetheless, in any kind of formal writing, which would include anything work related – internal emails included – it is not appropriate to use & as shorthand for and.



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