In English parts or fragments of sentences can simple be duplicated with ditto marks, here's an example from Wikipedia:

Black pens, box of twenty ..... $2.10

Blue ” ” ” ” ..... $2.35

Japanese has dōnojiten iteration mark: - which works similarly to "same as above" or "same as the last one": 人々, 山々, 個々.

The Wikipedia page talks about Chinese iteration marks saying:

In Chinese, 二 (usually appearing as 〻) or 々 is used in casual writing to represent a doubled character, but it is never used in formal writing or printed matter. In a tabulated table or list, vertical repetition can be represented by a ditto mark (〃).


Iteration marks have been occasionally used for more than two thousand years in China. The bronze script from the Zhou Dynasty, shown right, ends with “子二孫二寶用”, where the small 二 (“two”) is used as iteration marks in the phrase “子子孫孫寶用” ("descendants to use and to treasure").


Here I have something that seems more like 上 than 二 though:


Wikisource has written it as:


So presumably this mini-上 looking character is also an iteration mark but Wikipedia only talks about 二、〻、or 々.

So, is 上 also an iteration mark? and Can 上 always be used like English ” ” (i.e.: same as above)?

  • 似乎是企图把〻楷书化的结果,To me it looks more like the left half of 比 though. Jan 16, 2018 at 9:28

3 Answers 3


According to this kknews article (找薦004.疊字符/重字符這麼用,有沒有錯?), many variants were used for the iteration marks, including marks that were or looked like the following:

  • 「S」
  • 「々」
  • 「上」
  • 「乙」
  • 「=」

It goes on to state that what looks like「匕」is normally thought of as a result of rapid writing leading to graphical corruption, or degradation of the engraving medium (for steles). We know that「々」came from a variant of「同」, but the origin of「=」is conjecture without any hard evidence. It may be later surmised as「上」or「二」, but it is probably impossible to ever know.

BTW, if you search your copy of 躋春臺, it will have more examples of「匕」as the iteration mark.


[Everyone is trying to warn me off of 上 but sometimes the heart just wants what it wants.]

The MoE variant characters page


is saying that this slightly unconventional number two:


is a variant of:

It's 研订说明 goes on to say:

音讀 ㄕㄤˋ #ㄦˋ

漢語拼音 shàng #èr

研訂者 李鍌




Under their 形体资料表 they also have a document entitled 金石文字辨異:


If 上 and 二 were somewhat interchangeable it wouldn't be surprising if 上 was also used as an iteration mark like 二.

  • the image that you provided from Taiwan's MoE dictionary that looks like「二」is not two, but **only**「上」. 「上」in oracle bone and bronze scripts is written like how we write「二」today, that is, with the top horizontal line shorter than the bottom, while「二」in oracle bone and bronze script was written with two horizontal lines with the same length. They are not interchangeable. See xiaoxuetang's entries of「上」and「二」at xiaoxue.iis.sinica.edu.tw/yanbian?kaiOrder=24 and xiaoxue.iis.sinica.edu.tw/yanbian?kaiOrder=8
    – dROOOze
    Jan 22, 2018 at 12:38
  • @droooze my hypothesis was that if there was some sort of variant behavior between the two it wouldn't be surprising if there was continued confusion - on individual or mass levels. Thus leading to this (albeit wrong) kind of usage. Maybe it's a long shot, but hey you never know.
    – Mou某
    Jan 22, 2018 at 12:47

Don't let the written characters fool you!
The character which works as iteration mark is definitely not a 上(lit. "up"). Rather, it looks like Chinese character 二(lit. "two") with a small vertical stroke on the left. The vertical stroke could be some redundant stroke which is unintentionally produced by the author, or a small piece of anomaly which could occur during scanning.

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