Sunday, May 08, 2005

$ymbolizing the Dollar

For Americans, the symbol for money is the $. I like the $. When I was a little kid, it was easy for me to learn. Just draw an S and then put a vertical line through it. Hey, I said to myself, I can do that. When you're done, it looks nice. To me, it looks better than the euro sign, which is sort of e with a horizontal line through it.

If you ask most people where the $ appears on their money, they'll probably say on the corners, right where the amount appears. The truth is that the $ doesn't appear on our currency. That's confusing.

Another confusing thing is that the dollar sign can be written with one vertical line or two. I always write it with two vertical lines, but one of them sometimes ends up looking like a 1. Thus, sometimes when I intend to write $20.00, the amount comes out looking like $120.00. The extra vertical line gets displaced over to the right so that it comes out as a 1. Maybe I should just drop the extra vertical line.

In school, we were never taught where the $ comes from. According to the linked article, the $ is used in some countries as the symbol for the peso. That quashes the theory that the $ is a narrow U superimposed over an S. It also must mean that the $ is not American in origin. I can't see other countries honoring the U.S. by symbolizing their money with our initials. The article also goes on to explain why we write $1 instead of 1$. Good. Now that I know something about the $, I can go back to spending $, earning $, thinking about $, dreaming about $ . . .



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