Current Perl documentation can be found at

Here is our local, out-dated (pre-5.6) version:

The former is a scalar value, the latter an array slice, which makes it a list with one (scalar) value. You should use $ when you want a scalar value (most of the time) and @ when you want a list with one scalar value in it (very, very rarely; nearly never, in fact).

Sometimes it doesn't make a difference, but sometimes it does. For example, compare:

    $good[0] = `some program that outputs several lines`;


    @bad[0]  = `same program that outputs several lines`;

The -w flag will warn you about these matters.