I want to translate the name of my college from Chinese into English.

The translation is like that "Guangxi Vocational and Technical College of Communications", but if I wish to make this name shorter, I think "&" is interchangeable with "and", but I am told that it is informal if you use a symbol rather than a word.

So what is the difference?

  • 2
    Do you know, the well-known university, Texas A&M? So, I think it's not very informal to do so; but I am a learner and that's just an educated guess.
    – Cardinal
    Jun 30, 2017 at 9:45
  • 2
    Related on ELU Jun 30, 2017 at 9:53
  • I am Czech but I think you can usually see & when there's a pair of something.
    – Probably
    Oct 6, 2017 at 6:39

1 Answer 1


The ampersand (&) is considered to be used mostly in informal writing. Different style guides give different recommendations.

Some style guides allow ampersands as part of a formal company name (Smith & Wesson, Tiffany & Co.). Other style guides recommend spelling out the and in such cases. Most style guides recommend using the ampersand when the rest of the name is also an abbreviation (AT&T) and in common expressions (R&D). As you see here, there are no spaces on either side of the ampersand when it is used that way.

I like the answers of Robert Charles and Alankar Paul on Quora:

There's a tradition in editorial work of using the ampersand (&) for internal documents and pre-publication copy. The ampersand therefore becomes a sort of automatic cue for editors to see that the copy is either unedited or unready for release. It's also a kind of safeguard against accidental release or use of copy, since typesetters generally will do an "&" search during or before final page makeup. Sometimes, by dint of habit, these people would carry over in using & in other activities, e.g. on the Internet. Generally, & shouldn't be used in regular correspondence except in some company or organisation names.

It is considered more suitable to use 'and' in formal writing, especially when mentioning names of people, companies, government agencies. (like Road and Transportation Department instead of Road & Transportation Department).

Where may the ampersand be used:

  • It is often used in Business names and should always be mentioned that way. e.g: Reid & Taylor, AT&T
  • When mentioning a family/couple or an address. e.g: Mrs & Mr Smith, Mr John & Family
  • When citing sources, if there are multiple authors in a source. (with exceptions) e.g: Nevid, Rathus, & Greene, 2008.

Do not use an ampersand in general writing simply to abbreviate the word and. For example:

  • We need to reorder toner cartridges and paper. (Good)
  • We need to reorder toner cartridges & paper. (Bad)
  • @NanningYouth You're welcome, my friend! Jun 30, 2017 at 14:00

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