Number Sign

Rules and Examples

Punctuation marksIn the English language, the number sign ( # ) is also known as a

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  • pound sign
  • pound key
  • pound
  • hex
  • octothorpe
  • hash (British English)

On the keyboard

The number sign ( # ) is made on an American keyboard by holding the SHIFT key and pressing the number 3 on the top number line.

The number sign can also be inserted into a document by choosing INSERT SYMBOL and selecting the # symbol.

Number Sign

In the American English, the # symbol is read as "number" when it comes before a number.

We mostly use the number sign in informal writing, such as emails, texts, journal entries and advertisements.

  • #5

    Number Five

  • Please pick up your #2 pencils.

    Please pick up your number two pencils.

  • Tim was #15 in line.

    Tim was number 15 in line.

  • Please complete #1–10 in your workbook.

    Please complete numbers 1 through 10 in your workbook.

Do not put a space between the number sign and the number.




# 25

Pound Sign

In the United States, the # symbol is also called the pound sign or pound when it comes after a number.

Pound refers to the unit of weight that is abbreviated as lb.

  • John cooked 2# of hamburger for supper.

    John cooked 2 pounds of hamburger for supper.

  • The baby weighs 8.2#.

    The baby weighs 8 pounds and 2 ounces.

  • I gained 1# during vacation.

    I gained one pound during vacation.

There is no space between the number and the pound sign.




400 #

Pound Key

On and American telephone, the # symbol is referred to as the pound key. The pound key is located on the bottom right of the phone.
telephone keys

Usage of the # symbol in British English

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the # symbol on the telephone is usually called the hash. It is never called the pound sign.

In the United Kingdom, pound refers to currency.

The symbol for the pound is £.

In British English, the use of the # symbol as an abbreviation for "number" is rare. In British English, "number" is abbreviated as "no."


American English:


British English:

No. 2

American English:

His basketball jersey was #6.

British English:

His basketball jersey was no. 6

basketball player

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

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