The section sign, §, is a typographical character for referencing individually numbered sections of a document; it is frequently used when citing sections of a legal code. It is also known as the section symbol, section mark, double-s, or silcrow.
|In Unicode||U+00A7 § SECTION SIGN (HTML |
|See also||U+00B6 ¶ PILCROW SIGN|
The section sign is often used when referring to a specific section of a legal code. For example, in Bluebook style, "Title 16 of the United States Code Section 580p" becomes "16 U.S.C. § 580p". The section sign is frequently used along with the pilcrow (¶) also known as the "paragraph sign", to reference a specific paragraph within a section of a document. While is usually read in spoken English as the word section, many other languages use the word "paragraph" exclusively to refer to a section of a document (especially of legal text), and use other words to describe a paragraph in the English sense. Consequently, in those cases it may be read as paragraph, and may occasionally be described as a "paragraph sign", but this is a description of its usage, not a formal name. When duplicated, as , it is read as the plural "sections". For example, "§§ 13–21" would be read as "sections 13 through 21", much as (pages) is the plural of , meaning page.
It may also be used with footnotes when asterisk , dagger , and double dagger have already been used on a given page. It is common practice to follow the section sign with a non-breaking space so that the symbol is kept with the section number being cited.(p212,233)
The section sign is itself sometimes a symbol of the justice system,[a] in much the same way as the Rod of Asclepius is used to represent medicine. The Austrian Ministry of Justice used the symbol in its logo for a time.
The sign has the Unicode code point U+00A7 § SECTION SIGN and many platforms and languages have methods to reproduce it
- MacOS: ⌥ Option+6
- Windows: Alt+0167 or Alt+21 (code page dependent)[b]
- iOS: & (long press)
- Android: ¶ (long press) (Territory dependent.[clarification needed] In some territories, long press on S)
- Linux: Composes! or Composeso
- URL Encoding:
- Chrome OS (with International/Extended keyboard setting) AltGr+⇧ Shift+s
- Vim: Ctrl+K followed by digraph ⇧ Shift+SE
Some keyboards include dedicated ways to access §:
Two possible origins are often posited for the section sign: most probably, that it is a ligature formed by the combination of two S glyphs (from the Latin signum sectiōnis). Some scholars, however, are skeptical of this explanation.
Others have theorized that it is an adaptation of the Ancient Greek παράγραφος (paragraphos), a catch-all term for a class of punctuation marks used by scribes with diverse shapes and intended uses.
- Standler, Ronald M. (2004). "Legal Research and Citation Style in USA". Retrieved 2009-12-15.
- Radoeva, Krista (2017-01-12). "The section sign". Punctuation series. Monotype Imaging. Retrieved 2020-07-19.
- Butterick, Matthew. "Butterick's Practical Typography: Paragraphs and Section Marks". Retrieved 2017-10-07.
- Reference, Law Library (August 9, 2018). "Guides: Bluebook Guide: Federal Statutes". Georgetown University Law Library. Retrieved December 6, 2018.
- "The Unicode Standard, Version 10.0 – C1 Controls and Latin-1 Supplement" (PDF). Retrieved 2017-10-07.
- "Some text-to-speech voices read the section symbol as paragraph instead of section". Retrieved 2017-10-07.
- Felici, James (2012). The Complete Manual of Typography (Second ed.). ISBN 978-0-321-77326-5.
- "The Law of Business Organizations under the New Brazilian Civil Code". Retrieved 2017-10-07.
- Webb, Stephen (2018). Clash of Symbols (eBook). Springer International Publishing. p. 22. ISBN 9783319713502.
- Webster, Noah (1886). "Arbitrary signs used in writing and printing". Webster's Complete Dictionary of the English Language (Authorized and Unabridged ed.). London: George Bell & Sons. p. 1784 – via Internet Archive.
- Richard Green Parker (1851). Aids to English Composition, Prepared for Students of All Grades. New York: Harper & Brothers. p. 32.
- Erwin Herbert Lewis (1894). The History of the English Paragraph. University of Chicago Press. pp. 11, 16–17. ISBN 9780404502621.
- Garulli, Valentina (2018-10-09). "Lectional Signs in Greek Verse Inscriptions". In Petrovic, Andrej; Thomas, Edmund; Petrovic, Ivana (eds.). The Materiality of Text: Placement, Perception, and Presence of Inscribed Texts in Classical Antiquity (eBook). Brill Publishers. p. 106. doi:10.1163/9789004379435_006. ISBN 9789004379435.