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Check Mark (✔)

A check mark, checkmark or tick (✓) is a mark used to indicate the concept "yes" (e.g. "yes; this has been verified", "yes; that is the correct answer", "yes; this has been completed", or "yes; this [item or option] applies to me"). The checkmark is one of the most common symbols used in forms.

The easiest way to say "yes" - Check Marks

A check mark (✓)—sometimes spelled as one word, checkmark; alternately referred to as a "tick"—is a mark used in check-off boxes on tests and documents to indicate the answer "yes." 

On tests, the use of a check mark would indicate "yes, this is the correct answer to that question." With checklists, use of marks could mean that "these tasks have been completed," or "these items have been purchased." On legal documents, the mark would indicate "yes, this classification applies to me."

The check mark is sometimes confused with the x-mark, though the latter is generally used to indicate negative answers: no, wrong, failed, etc. Checkmarks aren't punctuation nor used in typical academic writing.

When to use checkmarks

As an action, to "check off" something means to write a check mark onto a piece of paper. Teachers often use true and false answers in their exams and tests, and check marks are usually placed in designated check boxes.

In English-speaking countries, the check mark is seen as a symbol of convenience when it comes to leaving affirmative answers on documents. This is due to the brevity of the mark, which is quick and easy to jot down on paper; as opposed to words like "yes" or "purchased."

However, the meaning of the check mark differs in other countries. In France, the mark is used to denote an incorrect answer, whereas correct answers are marked with a "B." The check mark is also used to indicate wrong answers throughout most of Scandinavia. In Swedish schools, the letter "R" is used for correct answers; in Finland, correct answers are indicated by a forward slant with two vertical dots.

Checkmark vs. multiple choice

When it comes to tests and quizzes, the check mark makes it much easier to complete all the answers within an allotted number of minutes. Otherwise, you might be required to write any given number of answers—yes, no, correct, incorrect—and run the risk of wearing out your hand in the process.

The expedience of check marks holds especially true for questions that demand more than a yes or no answer; with check boxes, an answer in the form of a complete sentence can simply be selected and marked off instead of written out in full. 

Check marks are also convenient for legal paperwork. When a person fills out an application for benefits of one kind or another, the amount of pages to fill in and sign can seem like a daunting task. But when many of the steps can be answered with check marks, the checkboxes can simply be highlighted for an applicant to mark off. Considering that most people neither enjoy filling out paperwork or reading all the fine print contained in such documents, the ability to dash right through it all with little strain to the hands is a huge benefit; made possible in part by check marks.

The popularity of checklists could largely be attributed to the convenience of check marks, which make it easier to check things off in a timely matter without crossing off items and rendering such lists unreadable. With grocery lists, for instance, an item can simply be marked beside its name during a trip to the supermarket; several days later, the same list can be reused with a second column of marks. For people that follow daily routines and use check-off lists to stay motivated, check marks help keep such lists organized while serving as logs of a full week's work.

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