Tag Archives: B2B writing

Ampersands — Use sparingly

Did you know this symbol has a name?

An ampersand is the informal symbol for "and."
An ampersand is the informal symbol for “and.”
It’s called an ampersand and it’s grossly over-used in business writing. Ampersands are pronounced as written: am-per-sand.

The ampersand is an over-used abbreviation for the word “and” – it really should be limited to a few situations in formal, business writing:

1.) In company names where it’s warranted (Smith & Jones Law Firm)

2.) When artistic considerations dictate; e.g., a logo

3.) In specific academic references (Grant & Smith Publishing,2001)

4.) Addressing a couple on an invitation or envelope (Mr. & Mrs. Smith)

5.) When items in a series are related, but this is bridging on unacceptable (John has experience in Marketing, Research & Design and Business Management)

In general, it is not proper grammar to simply abbreviate the word and replace it with an ampersand. Why? Because the ampersand symbol is considered more casual. If you’re working for a business-to-business or business-to-consumer company, you should not be using it. If you want to send it in a text message to your bae, however, that’s fine by me.

In conclusion, it’s not that I hate the ampersand, it’s just not correct in formal, business writing.