Ditto mark
In UnicodeU+0027 ' APOSTROPHE (×2)
U+3003 DITTO MARK (CJK character)
Different from
Different fromU+2033 DOUBLE PRIME

The ditto mark is a shorthand sign, used mostly in hand-written text, indicating that the words or figures above it are to be repeated.[1][2]

The mark is made using "a pair of apostrophes";[1] "a pair of marks " used underneath a word";[3] the symbol " (quotation mark);[2][4] or the symbol (right double quotation mark).[5]

In the following example, the second line reads "Blue pens, box of twenty".

Black pens, box of twenty ... $2.10
Blue  "     "   "  "      ... $2.35


Ditto marks date to cuneiform tablets.

Early evidence of ditto marks can be seen on a cuneiform tablet of the Neo-Assyrian period (934–608 BCE) where two vertical marks are used in a table of synonyms to repeat text.[6]

Bronzeware script, c. 825 BCE, showing "子𠄠孫𠄠寶用", where the small 𠄠 ("two") is used as iteration marks in the phrase "子子孫孫寶用" ("descendants to use and to treasure").
Bronzeware script, c. 825 BCE, showing "𠄠𠄠寶用", where the small 𠄠 ("two") is used as iteration marks in the phrase "子子孫孫寶用" ("descendants to use and to treasure").

In China the corresponding historical mark was two horizontal lines 𠄠 (unicode U+16FE3 𖿣 OLD CHINESE ITERATION MARK), which is also the ancient ideograph of "two", similar to the modern ideograph . It is found in bronze script from the Zhou Dynasty, as in the example at right (circa 825 BCE). In seal script form this became , and is now written as ; see iteration mark.

The word ditto comes from the Tuscan language,[7] where it is the past participle of the verb dire (to say), with the meaning of "said", as in the locution "the said story". The first recorded use of ditto with this meaning in English occurs in 1625.[7] In English, the abbreviation "do." has sometimes been used.

An advertisement from 1833. The second item on the list can be read as "Prime American Pork, in barrels", but the third and fourth are ambiguous as to the origin of the meat. The repetition indicator used is "do." (Perth Gazette)

Other languages

For Chinese, Japanese and Korean, there is the specific Unicode character U+3003 DITTO MARK in the range CJK Symbols and Punctuation. This facilitates the setting of both marks on a single horizontal line in Asian vertical text.

Other languages may use equivalent symbols. For example, in Norwegian handwriting, a version using horizontal lines to indicate the span of the cell in a table where an entry repeats is sometimes seen (––〃––).[8] In French, it is called a guillemet itératif, but the actual symbol used may vary: » is used in Quebec, while in France is preferred.[9]

See also


  1. ^ a b Ditto mark. Oxford Dictionaries. Archived from the original on 27 September 2021. Retrieved 10 May 2021. A symbol formed from two apostrophes (〃) representing 'ditto'.
  2. ^ a b "Ditto mark". Collins Dictionaries. Retrieved 30 December 2019. two small marks (") placed under something to indicate that it is to be repeated
  3. ^ "Ditto—Definition for English-Language Learners". Merriam-Webster Learner’s Dictionary. Merriam Webster. Archived from the original on 2015-05-05. Retrieved 10 May 2021. A pair of marks " used underneath a word to save space and show that the word is repeated where the marks are.
  4. ^ "Ditto". Cambridge Dictionaries. Retrieved 30 December 2019. but the Cambridge Dictionary of Business English on the same page uses the CJK ditto mark
  5. ^ Angus Stevenson; Maurice Waite, eds. (18 August 2011). The Concise Oxford Dictionary. OUP Oxford. ISBN 9780199601110.
  6. ^ K.4375 and File:Library of Ashurbanipal synonym list tablet.jpg
  7. ^ a b Definition at The Free Dictionary
  8. ^ "gjentagelsestegn - Det Norske Akademis ordbok" [repetition signs - The Norwegian Academy's dictionary] (in Norwegian Bokmål). Norwegian Academy. Retrieved 16 July 2023.
  9. ^ "Banque de dépannage linguistique: Guillemets itératifs" [Linguistic help desk: Iterative quotes] (in French). Office québécois de la langue française. Retrieved 31 May 2022.