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In the 1st century Old Roman cursive writing, the letters E and T (forming the word "et" -- "and") were sometimes written together. It was frequently added as the last character in the Latin alphabet. The modern italic type ampersand is a kind of "et" ligature that goes back to the cursive scripts developed during the Renaissance. After 1455 printers made extensive use of both the italic and Roman ampersands to conserve space. The word "ampersand" became common by 1837, as a slurred corruption of "and per se & (and)", meaning "and by itself and (represented by the symbol &);" in English-speaking schools, any letter that could also be used as a word ("A," "I," "O") was repeated with the Latin expression "per se" ("by itself") to avoid confusion. It was once commonly regarded as the 27th letter, pronounced as "et" or "and." In screenplay credits, authors joined with "&" actively collaborated together, while authors joined with "and" did significant work on the script at different times and may not have consulted each other at all.
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