In the written press, in the pages of a book or in an advertising brochure we find all kinds of typographical signs, such as quotation marks, square brackets, the dash, the bar, the ellipses or the asterisk. The latter has a star-like shape (*). In fact, the word comes from the Greek word asteriskos and literally means "little star."
In written >
This sign is used to inform the reader about a specific issue. Thus, next to a word the asterisk appears in parentheses and in this way the reader knows that at the end of the text there will be an informative note with that sign accompanied by a specific clarification. If in a text there is more than one clarification at the foot of the page it is not advisable to use this sign and use a numbering in brackets.
- Sometimes this symbol is used before a word to indicate that it is misspelled (for example, "* There were more than 100 victims in the accident").
- Also, three asterisks are used accompanied by a word when you want to avoid using foul terms (“I was very angry and told everyone to go for c ***”).
- In the sacred texts they are used to separate the psalms from the verses or to specify that in the prayer it is necessary to pause for the recitation to be carried out correctly.
- In the field of linguistics it is used to indicate that a word has evolved over time.
- Finally, in some dictionaries it appears before a date or a place name (* Madrid 1950 means that the person mentioned was born in this city).
From a historical point of view
The cuneiform writing made on a clay table was the first medium in which messages written with phonetic symbols began to be written. To complement the letters of the alphabet it was necessary to incorporate some specific signs.
The Greek philologists of the Alexandrian period were those who used the star sign to communicate a correction in the classical texts. The asterisk and the set of typographic signs began to spread widely after the creation of the printing press in the fifteenth century.
In other communication contexts
- Two signs appear on telephones on both sides of the zero: on the left * and on the right the pad (#).
- In some electronic forms this sign is used and it indicates that a section must be filled out in a mandatory way.
- In computing it is used as a reference or multiplication operator.
- In the >mathematics it is used to communicate that it must be multiplied.
Fotolia Photos: signoeber / mracka70