What is the 27th letter of the English alphabet?
I’m not a trivia buff. I could care less how many home runs Babe Ruth hit; I don’t know the height of the Eiffel tower, and I will never remember who played what part in any movie.
However certain obscure facts do catch my attention. This one passed my desk the other day. Did you know there is a 27th letter in our alphabet? Yeah, that’s right, 27!
So before I go on and tell you the answer, I want you to think about it. What could it be? <pause now…. and think!>
I’ll give you a hint since you didn’t pause. It’s been on the keyboard of every computer and typewriter for years. Most of you don’t use it in any writing at all. However, certain corporations use it in all correspondence. What could it be?
Hint number 2: This letter is one of just a few letters that can be used as a word, such as “A” or “I.”
Hint number 3: Falsely claimed by some to be attributed to and named after Andre-Marie Ampere, this letter was quite commonly used in his publications.
The answer is “&” – the Ampersand.
The question then is how and why did it come to be? First, let’s discuss the history of “&.” In Latin, the letters “e” and “t” were combined to form the word “et.” Et is Latin meaning “and.” Over the years, the style of the combined cursive letters evolved into the common day &.
Now let’s discuss how “et” and “&” became pronounced “ampersand.” Many years ago when reciting the alphabet, children would end the alphabet with …X, Y, Z, and per se “and.” The Latin phrase “per se” meaning “by itself.” Thus, the 26 letters, and by itself &. Per se could also be used with A and I (and previously O) because these letters are (were) also words. Over time, the slurred phrase “and per se and” became “ampersand.”
Now you know the rest of the story. But why?
I write this not to display my expertise on the matter – after all I get my current education from the same source as you – the internet. I do take the time, however, to verify my sources and information.
Many people trust that one source is enough. In fact many people never take time to read the Bible, they just accept what their Pastor or close friend says. However, I think we should all take the time to research our own Bible, pray for guidance, and seek God’s direction and truth in our lives. You never know where He’ll take you or what He’ll do in your life, until you follow Him. Thanks for reading www.followingod.com! I hope you enjoyed reading today’s “non-trivial” blog.
PS – Did you know that “et cetera” or “etc.” can also be written “&c.” – now you know!