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1930s & Earlier / Ampersand - The 27th Letter of the Alphabet
There are 26 letters in the English alphabet, right? That's only the modern count. For many years the ampersand was considered the 27th. Nineteenth-century text books almost always had the ampersand listed as an additional letter. According to scholars, the ampersand was created by combining the letters E and T, which forms the French word for "and": "et". Today is it considered bad form to write an ampersand in place of the word "and" in any scholarly work. It survives mostly in business names such as Barnes & Noble. The word ampersand comes from a corruption of the phrase "and per se and" that concluded the recitation of the alphabet in the 19th century.