On my bag of Pumpkin seeds (from Bulgaria, which I like a lot more than other pumpkin seeds, which are bigger and flatter), It has the English (not Bulgarian) description:

Pumpkin Seeds Roasted & Salted

...which is translated thus:

Semillas de Calabaza Tostadas & Saladas

Why would the "&" be retained? In English it makes sense, because that single character replaces three characters ("and") but in the case of the Spanish it doesn't, as the word that the ampersand represents ("y") is a single character. Wouldn't this be a preferable translation:

Semillas de Calabaza Tostadas y Saladas


  • 1
    & is a shortening of the Latin et, from which the Spanish y is derrived. When you consider this, your question seems a bit backwards--why does English, which is not derived from Latin, use &? But that's a question for another site :)
    – Flimzy
    Aug 19, 2014 at 11:24
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    Even the English name ampersand derives partly from latin (and per se and). Though you are right, @Flimzy, this is not a question for this forum.
    – Gorpik
    Aug 19, 2014 at 11:53

1 Answer 1


Yes, it'd be preferable as y. Although & is certainly permissible in Spanish (in fact, the DRAE surprisingly still recognizes the full word et as a valid Spanish conjunction, although labeling it as desusado), when standing in for y, it's rarely used since & takes more time to type or write. In older Spanish, you'd see it occasionally fill in for etcétera as &cetera or &c. (the latter of which sees some use in English). In modern day Spanish, it's mainly used commercial, mostly I think to give a foreign flair.

The only time I'd ever see it necessary might be if there'd be a situation where, for instance, you have two people's surnames names and you want to make it clear there are two people rather than just one person with the conjunction y in between his/her surnames. But that'd be such a rare circumstance (maybe multi-author parenthetical citations?) for confusion I can't even think of one off the top of my head, and frankly commas work just as nicely haha.

  • It's actually not that rare. It's commonly used for the name of partnerships, like a lawyer's office: Feregrino & Villalobos, for example. Aug 19, 2014 at 18:13
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    @FranciscoZarabozo That's probably a good example of exactly that situation I mentioned :) If a law office were Feregrino y Villalobos, you wouldn't know if it's one person or two. Using & forces the two-person interpretation. Aug 19, 2014 at 18:25

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