What is ^, why are I and l so similar, and other computer keyboard questions

Like many people, I am familiar with the computer keyboard.

And while I use it often and appreciate it, I also have several questions about the computer keyboard.

For example, why are capital I and lowercase l so similar? Usually after I type one or the other, I have to look at them closely to try to figure out which is which. And what about 1? Why can’t we make them all a little more different?

Here are a few additional items:

When do I use a forward slash \? I had to search for it on my computer when I wrote this. It seems like the backslash / is much more popular. What is the main difference between / and \? I had never really noticed the vertical | slash that is above the forward slash on my keyboard until now. Do we just call it a slash? Or is it a line? And now I have to contend with |, l, 1 and I.

Why can’t we have one button for control-alt-delete? Lots of directions want you to press all three buttons simultaneously (even though my keyboard doesn’t actually have an alt button). It seems like one button on the keyboard should be able to do the same work more efficiently.

What is ^ for? It has a fairly prominent place above the 6, but I have no idea why anyone would use that. What do you even call it? The up arrow thingy?

Why can’t O and 0 be a little more different? Looking at it now, apparently the number is skinnier than the letter, at least with this font, but they are still quite confusing. People often use 0 and O interchangeably in conversations, and I have a hard time knowing which is which in type, especially if one of them is used in an email address. The email addresses are also confusing for I, 1 and l I mentioned in that paragraph located in this direction ^.

Why are there so many types of brackets and parentheses? We have ( ), [ ], { } and even < >. Why do we need so many of these? Are they for if you use a parentheses within a parentheses within a parentheses? How would I (not l [this reminds me, the word Iliad looks funny to type]) even do that?

What is this ` for at the top left of the keyboard? It looks like an accent mark, but I don’t know how to use it. And how is `different from ‘, or are they the same?

I have no use for the control button. Am I missing something important that everyone else is using? I have no control over much of anything in life, so it seems appropriate that I would not use control on my keyboard.

How does caps lock act like an automatic shift for the letter keys but it doesn’t affect the number keys? I honestly didn’t know it would work that way before I tested it just now.

Why do the letters on the keypads rub off so easily? It’s hard for someone young to learn to type on an old computer like mine because the letters on half of the keys are quite worn.

My Z key looks brand new. Same with X, and surprisingly also P.  I press P plenty, but maybe my pinky finger presses politely and gently so the letter won’t disappear.

Every time I use the escape key at work it never works. I’m still there.

What is this ~ for? It’s just a wavy hyphen.  I have seen it in website URLs, but does it really deserve such a prominent place on the keyboard? Is there any use for it in writing? I honestly don’t know.

Wouldn’t it be nice for the return button to ring a bell like they did on the old typewriters?  It was very satisfying to hit return and then hear all of that noise.

Why won’t my keyboard type out better content? All I can come up with is columns like this one.

Do you have any other computer keyboard questions? Or even better any answers? Feel free to comment below. Thanks!

7 thoughts on “What is ^, why are I and l so similar, and other computer keyboard questions

  1. ¬
    Sorry, just found another symbol that I also have no idea about.
    ¬ ?
    You have some interesting points and I also have this ‘¬’ to think about.
    Perhaps it’s only there so you can put it in your comments in columns about odd keyboard symbols.
    I think square brackets are there to make a nice frame for your emojis.
    (I won’t see if that works until it goes live, so that joke may be as indecipherable as the rest of the comment)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, didn’t work though… hang on [ 😉 ]
        I’m writing on a Chromebook, so on them ¬ is on a key to the left of the number 1.
        That’s as far as I go.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It seems as if there are different versions of keyboards, shouldn’t they all be a standard formation? I mean really why is the backslash/ more important than the question mark? as I have to go into uppercase for that. I do not always yell when asking questions after all. You may not have a control key but I have two, does that make me a control freak? Also why do I have a pause key can’t I do that on my own? So many questions, maybe I should just pause and think about life and how my keyboard has more control than I do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, a lot of the keyboards are the same, but why are there variations with some. And why are we so anti-forward slash? I am worried about you with your double control, too. Thanks for the fun comments!


  3. So many things to ponder! I’ve been studiously examining my keyboard for a full five minutes. Co-workers passing by may think I fell asleep. I’d like to know what to do with my “Command” key. I have no idea how to command it to do anything. It’s sort of like my cats – commanding them to do ANYTHING is futile. I’m going to start calling the Command key the CAT key. By the way, there are two CAT keys on my keyboard. I’m going to draw whiskers and ears on them.

    It’s the Iitt|e things . . . {Did anyone notice I spelled little with a capital I and a |?}

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I’m glad you were pondering your keyboard, too. That’s an excellent point about the command key, too, and the lack of command. I don’t have a CAT key on this computer keyboard, but I will start watching for that on other keyboards now, too. Hopefully no one thinks I am falling asleep while I am studying their keyboards. Thanks for spelling little like that, too! They look too similar! Thanks again.


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