Where the Check Mark Means “No”

One of the earliest usages of the check mark (✓) as an indication of completion is on ancient Babylonian tablets where small indentations were sometimes made with a stylus, usually placed at the left of a worker’s name to indicate whether a listed ration had been issued. In the United States, it’s a positive indicator, meaning “yes” or “correct.” However, not all countries share our usage of the check mark in a positive way. For example, it’s common in Swedish schools for a check mark to indicate that an answer is incorrect, while “R” indicates a correct answer. Similarly, Finland uses the check mark to indicate something is wrong. In Japan, Korea, and Taiwan the “O” is used instead of a check mark to mean "yes," while the “X” is commonly used for wrong.