10 Reasons to Hate the Ampersand

  1. The ampersand is the Bob Benson* of punctuation. It tries too hard by half to please. “Look at me! I’m here,” it screams from the page. I see you, ampersand. Just go away.
  2. The ampersand represents everything that is lazy about bad writing. Just throw in an ampersand – only two keystrokes instead of three! [Editor’s Note: the two keystrokes on my MacBook Pro are represented by the shift and the 7 key]
  3. The ampersand is cute. Dave and Buster’s: not cute. Dave & Buster’s: incredibly cute!
  4. When the legal secretary in your office uses an ampersand in the nomenclature of documents you are supposed to upload to the institutional website, it wreaks havoc on the process. You must manually rename each and every document that contains an ampersand. That’s why you are in the office this weekend.
  5. Have you ever tried to write an ampersand? Like, with a pen in your hand? I mean, faithfully capture it, not cheat with some squiggly line. That’s right, it cannot be done.
  6. Did Jane Austen use an ampersand in the titles of any of her novels? No, she did not! Why is that, do you suppose? It’s because she hated the goddamn ampersand!
  7. Have you ever seen the looks on people’s faces when you use the word “ampersand” in casual conversation? It’s like you, a man, arbitrarily decided to change the subject to menstruation.
  8. Have you ever crossed paths with a copy editor? The kind that is really, really, really, really devoted to every single detail of sentence construction. The kind that was beaten by not one, but two nuns in seventh grade for once failing to detect the dangling participle? Enough said.
  9. The ampersand treats the more proper conjunction – and – like an illegitimate step-sibling. It makes me weep when I think about how proud and haughty the ampersand becomes when it is in the same room with “and.”
  10. I lied. The ampersand is actually a ligature. Do you even have the slightest idea of the provenance of this goddamned ligature? If you do, that means you took Latin at some fancy prep school. I should just kick your ass.

*A character on the TV show “Mad Men,” described by Jace Lacob as “a sort of golden retriever in an impeccably preppy suit who was always ready with an extra cup of coffee or a deli platter for a funeral.” Citation: https://www.thedailybeast.com/mad-men-who-is-bob-benson

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