Monday, January 21, 2008

English names for the characters in keyboard

~ tilde (sounds like til-da); be prepared to explain to computer-illiterate people saying "you know, the wave-shaped thingy"
! exclamation; commonly read as bang in case of #!/bin/sh
@ at
# pound; but commonly read as shee in case of #!/bin/sh, not sure why
$ dollar
% percent
^ caret; not many people know this word so be prepared to say "no, not carrot; it's the character above 6, an arrow pointing up"
& ampersand
* star; some read asterisk
( opening parenthesis (some may shorten it saying paren)
) closing parenthesis
_ underscore; once I heard people say underbar
+ plus
- minus; as symbol before arguments in commands, some people including me read dash, easier to say one syllable
= equals
` backtick or backquote
{ opening brace
} closing brace
[ opening bracket
] closing bracket
| pipe or vertical bar
\ backslash; be prepared to explain to some computer-illiterate people
: colon
; semicolon
" double quote
' single quote
< less than; some may read left angle bracket
> greater than
, comma
. dot; period if in English text
? question mark
/ slash or forward slash; some computer-illiterate people may be confused about / and \

(), [] and {} may also be called brackets in general. In that case, they specifically call [] square brackets and {} curly brackets. I never like this. Open and Closing may also be called left and right.


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Llengot said...


The 'pound' (#) is also named 'hash' or even 'sharp' (which is really a musical sign).

The notation #! on the scripts is often called 'shebang' (sharp + bang). That's because it's commonly read as shee.

Hope this helps :)

Curtibabe said...

Well, if you REALLY want to get technical, you may want to call "#" an octothorpe.

bhaskar said...

regarding (),[],{}

we can call them as
( : o-paren
) : c-paren
{ : o-brace
} : c-brace
[ : 0-bracket
] : c-bracket

where o stands for open
and c for close

...............isn't it simple?

Nat said...

Strictly F.Y.I.:
Wikipedia names the "`" mark as Grave Accent ( ). Of course, Wikipedia is not a definitive source, but I thought that you might find this one datum to be interesting.

Jay said...

You can also say apostrophe for single quote

Frank Lindahl said...

Nice, might add hyphen for '-' and IBM mainframers say splat for '*'.

Frank Lindahl said...

Oops, slipped up apostrophe is the term for single quote, depending upon context.

admin said...

Hi, I find this information very much useful. Especially in my case since I am teaching keyboarding to kids and I encounter alot of questions about the names of those characters. Any way do you have the exact technical terms of those?