Braille uses several contractions and special symbols to save space. For example, the word braille, when written in braille, is the three letters brl. This is a braille contraction. Some common words like "the" and "and" have a one-character symbol. Common letter combinations like "er" and "ie" also have special symbols. If you look at a sign for a public restroom, you will see that it has only seven letters. This is because "st" is one of the common letter combinations that has its own symbol.