Dollar Sign

Rules and Examples

Punctuation marksThe dollar sign is used to represent the dollar and peso.

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The dollar sign looks like an "S" with a vertical line running from top to bottom.


Sometimes the vertical line does not run all the way through the sign.


Some people make the dollar sign with two vertical lines running top to bottom.


Here are a few examples of the dollar sign in different fonts in Microsoft Word:

$ - Bodini MT Black

$ - Forte

$ - Microsoft Sans Serif

$ - Times New Roman

$ - Curlz MT

$ - Calibri

On the keyboard

You can make the dollar sign on most keyboards by holding the SHIFT key and pressing 4 on the top number line.

You can also insert the dollar sign in Microsoft Word by choosing INSERT SYMBOL and selecting the dollar sign.

Using the dollar sign

1. You can use the dollar sign in all informal writing (journals, emails, texts, friendly letters)

  • I bought my daughter a new bike for Christmas for $75.

  • Tom will mail you a check for $152.55 to cover the bill.

  • Please send $500 for your December rent payment.

2. In formal writing, it is more acceptable to write out the numbers and the word "dollar"

  • $75.56 = seventy-five dollars and fifty-six cents

  • $100 = one-hundred dollars

  • $5,400,000 = five-million, four-hundred thousand dollars

3. Use the dollar sign in charts, tables and most technical documents


4. Use the dollar sign in advertisements to save space

Apartment for Rent
2 bed/1 bath
Large backyard
$600/month rent

apartment for rent sign

Bob's Diner is Now Hiring
Weekend Wait Staff
20 hours/week
Positions starting at $5.25/hr plus tips


5. Many newspapers and magazines use the dollar sign in headings to save space

dollar bills Examples:
  • Student Loan Debt Hits $1 Trillion

  • Raising Minimum Wage to $8.75

  • Accident Costs Student $25,000 in Fines

  • Bank loses $10 million in Fire

  • Woman Finds $3,000 and Returns to Owner

  • Charity Raises $2,500 for Children

Origins of the dollar sign

No one knows exactly where the dollar sign came from.

However, there are many theories trying to explain the origin of the dollar sign.

  • The United States Abbreviation Theory suggests the dollar sign is an abbreviation of United States by combining the "U" and "S" as one symbol.

  • The Peso Abbreviation Theory suggests the dollar sign comes from the plural form of the peso symbol, which is a capital "P" with a small "s" above it and to the right.

  • The Pieces of Eight Theory is similar to the Peso Theory. When a peso is divided into pieces of eight, the abbreviation is "P8" or "/8/." You can see  how these abbreviations could become the dollar sign.
   dollar sign

These were the uses of the dollar sign. Now that you know them, it is time to practice! Read and do exercises.

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