What Is An At Sign ( @ ) And How Do You Use it?

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While that email doesn’t look especially reliable, it does offer an example of how the at sign is most commonly used. Although the at sign is most often used in email addresses, it does have a few other uses that you might come across, especially if you find yourself on social media.

What is an at sign?

An at sign (@) is a symbol that is commonly used before the email domain name in email addresses. This symbol may also be used to informally substitute for the word at and is often used for a specific reason on social media.

✏️ Example usage of an at sign

The following examples show some instances where an at sign might be used.

  • If you have questions, my email address is fakeemail@notreal.lol
  • My brother @PlatypusFan777 just graduated from college! #congrats #ClassOf2021
  • Plz meet me @ the mall @ 8 2night if u want 2 hangout 😀

When do you use an at sign?

The at sign is a typographical symbol (not a punctuation mark) and has one usage in which it may appear in formal writing. However, it does have several common uses online and in informal writing.

Email addresses

The at sign is used in email addresses and typically separates a username from a domain name in an email address. For example, the email address sendspamhere@gmail.com is hosted by Google through their Gmail email service and belongs to someone using the username sendspamhere. Because there is no other efficient way to write an email address, the at sign might be used in formal writing when mentioning a person’s email address.

Substitute for the word at

In informal writing, such as texting or on social media, the at sign may be used to represent the word at and would be read aloud as such. For example, the sentence I won $100 @ the casino would be read as I won $100 at the casino. This usage would not be considered acceptable in formal writing and should be avoided.

Social media mentions

On many social platforms, using the at sign before a person’s username allows someone to “tag” another person when posting content. Depending on the platform, doing this may cause that person to receive an alert or notification that they have been mentioned by another user. For example, a post that reads @PBandJames1234 is my BFF! #friendship includes a tag to the user named PBandJames1234 in hopes that they will see the message or the message will direct others to that person’s social media account.

This practice is so common on social media that the at sign is sometimes used as a slang verb to mean “to tag someone in a social media post.” For example, a person who posts A hot dog is not a sandwich. Don’t @ me! on social media is jokingly saying that they don’t want anyone to mention them (or tag them) in a reply or response to this “controversial” post.

Take this quiz to see how much you know about the at symbol and other typographical symbols.

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