That little “a” with a circle around it is most commonly used as the “at” symbol. The symbol is usually found in e-mail addresses. Surprisingly though, there is no official (官方的) name for this symbol, there are lots of strange ways to describe the @ symbol. Before the @ symbol became the popular symbol for e-mail, it was used to show the cost of something. For example, if you bought 6 apples, you might write 6 apples @$1.10 each.
As e-mail is becoming more and more popular, the @ symbol or the “at” sign is used between a person’s online user name and his mail server address, for example, email@example.com
. The symbol’s use on the Internet made it necessary for people to put this symbol on keyboards in the countries that had never seen or used the symbol before.
The actual origin (起源) of the @ symbol remains a mystery. According to an ancient western legend, during the Middle Ages before the invention of the printing press (印刷机), every letter of a word had to be written by hand for each copy of a book. The monks (僧侣) looked for ways to make the letters of common words less. Although the word “at” was quite short, it was quite a common word in texts and documents. As a result, they circled around “a” and created @.
1. What did someone mean by writing 5 pears @$2.0 each in the past?
A. He bought 5 pears for free.
B. He paid $7.0.
C. 5 pears cost $2.0.
D. Each pear was $2.0.
2. Why did the monks in the old times create @ most probably?
A. Because @ could be printed very easily and clearly.
B. Because they were ordered to invent some symbols.
C. Because they didn’t want to write the word “at” again and again.
D. Because they wanted to make their texts or documents look special.
3. Which of the following is NOT true?
A. @ is often seen in e-mail addresses today.
B. The @ symbol has always meant the same in history.
C. The Internet makes @ become more popular.
D. The actual origin of @ is still difficult to explain.
4. What do we know from the passage?
A. @ was used before the Middle Ages.
B. @ is still always used to show prices of goods now.
C. No one had seen @ before it was put on the keyboard.
D. There was no @ on keyboards in some countries before.
5. Which is the BEST title for the passage?
A. What is @ B. The secret of @
C. How to use @ D. The actual origin of @