§ - What Is It?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Kelmon, Jan 27, 2007.

  1. Kelmon macrumors 6502a

    Kelmon

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2005
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #1
    My wife and I had a bit of a heated debate this morning regarding the merits (or lack thereof) of Fujitsu's recently announced Happy Hacking Keyboard Lite 2 where the Caps Lock key has been removed. As part of this discussion (where, for anyone who cares, I was happy to see the key removed whereas she wasn't) we ended up thinking about which keys on a keyboard we don't use and therein lies the crux of this thread. On an Apple standard keyboard, just beneath the Escape key, is a key that I have NEVER used and for which I don't know what it represents. The key produces the symbol § - does anyone know what the heck this is and what it is used for?

    Incidentally, I do know that a debate about the merits of a Caps Lock key is very sad. I have to live with this knowledge...
     
  2. BGAYLOR07 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Location:
    Georgia, U.S.
    #2
    I'm not sure what it is on the keyboard but kinda off topic, I know it is the sign for simoleans in The Sims 2 Games!! :p
     
  3. Richard Flynn macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Location:
    Sydney
    #4
    It is the shorthand for a 'section' within a document, when you are making a specific reference. So, I could refer to Maurice Grevisse, Le Bon Usage (13th ed.: Louvain-la-Neuve, 1993), § 581, which is a specific reference to a paragraph about the use of ordinal-numeral adjectives in French (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.). At a pinch you can use the § symbol to denote a reference to a chapter, but generally it would be better advised to write 'Chapter x' or 'Ch. x' because strictly § refers to a paragraph. Helpful symbol, although probably not used as much as most of the other keys on the keyboard.
     
  4. emptyCup macrumors 65816

    emptyCup

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2005
    #5
    The @ was the least used key on a typewriter until the invention of email. Who knows what happy future the § may have.
     
  5. Kelmon thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Kelmon

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2005
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #6
    You know, I tried putting it into a Wikipedia search feeling sure that this would work but got no hits.

    Anyway, thanks very much for the information, guys. I can't see me using the symbol much in the future but at least I know what it means now.
     
  6. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #7
    Wait, what? I take it you aren't using a US-standard keyboard, because the key under escape on any Apple US keyboard has the tilde (~) symbol, which I at least use all the time in math and such to mean "about" as well as to refer to home folders in Unix, and also the backtic (or whatever the "backwards" apostrophe is called) which I've never used but I assume is involved in some languages with accented characters or something.

    Personally, I'd put the tilde as the straight key and have the backtick as the shift version, since at least in US use, the tilde is WAY more commonly used.

    On US keyboards, the section character is typed with option-6.
     
  7. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #8
    It is typically something that would reference a section of a larger document. You'll see it alot when reading about laws and such. Section/Sub Section.
     
  8. Veritas&Equitas macrumors 68000

    Veritas&Equitas

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2005
    Location:
    Twin Cities, MN
    #9
    LOL! Dear God, being enslaved to the wonders that are law school, once I saw the symbol as the thread title...I just laughed...I see that section symbol in my sleep...
     
  9. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #10
    I'd guess his location in Belgium would contraindicate the "using a standard US keyboard" part. ;)

    I'm surprised, though, that you don't use it in your languages any more than we do, and yet you've got it on your keyboards. Do other keyboards sold in Belgium typically have the section marker on them? The Apple US keyboard doesn't really have any printed key caps that d not also typically appear on non-Apple keyboards in the US, with the obvious exception of the modifier keys.
     
  10. Kelmon thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Kelmon

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2005
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #11
    I probably should note that I'm a British national living as an ex-pat in Belgium so my keyboard is a standard British one rather than either a US standard one or those god forsaken Azerty keyboards the continental use over here (*shudder*).
     

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