"In Old English Manuscripts, the Tironian "et" served as both a sonic and morphological place holder. For instance a Tironian "et" between two words would be phonetically pronounced "ond" and would mean "and". However if the Tironian "et" followed the letter "s", then it would be phonetically pronounced "sond" and mean water (cognate with English sound). This additional function of a phonetic as well as a conjunction place holder has escaped formal Modern English; for example, one may not spell the word "sand" as "s&" (although this occurs in an informal style practised on certain internet forums). However, "&c." for "etc." is still seen in handwriting and books."