Well, phooey.

Language Log alerts me to the existence of Apink’s new single called “%%”.

I care about this, not because I listen to K-Pop, but because I use %% when I’m using repeated replace-all in large files (in the English language) and I want a string that reliably does not appear in the actual text. If, f’r’ex, I want (for some reason) to replace all the single paragraph breaks in a file, and keep all the double paragraph breaks as single paragraph breaks, I can replace ^p^p with %%, then remove all the ^p marks, and then replace all %% with ^p marks. This comes up if I’m (f’r’ex) dealing with text that has been imported from a pdf file, or with certain OCR result files. There are other sorts of occasions where it I have found it helpful to use a string of characters that I feel confident won’t occur naturally. And now, alas, I cannot be so confident.

Yes, I know the %% is used in certain coding structures, but the frankly slender chance that I will at some point be formatting a document with a reference to a K-Pop single is still greater than the infinitesimal chance I will be formatting a document with a reference to that command. So there.

It won’t be difficult to come up with another such string, of course—I’m taking recommendations!—but I’m used to my double-percentage-sign, aren’t I?


2 Responses to “%%”

  1. Jed

    I dunno, I feel like replacing your placeholder string might not be worthwhile—there’s no percentage in it.

  2. Jed

    (I tend to use a string like XXXXXXX as my placeholder, but I’m usually working on a document that I wrote, so I can be confident that that string doesn’t occur naturally. …Have you considered just shifting to %%%?)


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