zhang_[email protected]

How do Americans read the symbol "_"? Underline, underscore, or either?

Thanks a lot for your reply.
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Hi Teo,

I belive 'underline' (-) is different than 'underscore' (_). In your example, it will be 'underscore'.
According to Practical English Usage, by Michael Swan, 2005, it is read as underline in British English.
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In keyboard use, I believe this is an underline, and this an under_score.

How do Americans read the symbol "_"?
Calif Jim,

Is this, then, the official (or just Microsoft's) symbol for underline: "U" ?
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There is no "underline" symbol in my dictionary, but I think when we say "underline", we all know a line has to be drawn under something(a letter, a word...), or something is stressed.
Merriam-Webster barely distinguishes these two words, either in their verb or noun forms, and gives symbols for neither.

So I'm unsure what we're talking about. E-mail address terminology?

Right here in the 'Post Message' box, we have the symbol "U", (which states "underline" when one places a mouse pointer on it). On the keyboard, we have "_" which is a symbol that functions both for drawing a line under the text, and placing a single-unit horizontal mark under the empty space between the text. Do we have different words for these two functions, but only a symbol for one.

What do you say, CJ?
OED says:
Underscore : A line drawn below a word, etc..
Underline : A line drawn below a word written or printed.
Webster says:
Underscore : A line drawn underneath (especially a written matter).
Underline : A line drawn underneath (especially a written matter).
So we can conclude they are synonymous.

"The underline is …" googles 10700 sites and "the underscore" 31,700 sites.
There seems no difference in preference between AmE and BrE.

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