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$Overlay??? Creating jQuery representations of objects

In Perform Part: 2 the instructor creates a jQuery representation of the object:

var overlay = '<div id="overlay"></div>';

..by wrapping it in parenthesis and adding a dollar$ to it:

var overlay = $('<div id="overlay"></div>');

My question is simply why? What is the point of even doing this. If you appended the

'<div id="overlay"></div>'

to any part of the DOM without making it a jQuery representation would it not also work just as well?

Hey Tyler, As i know it is the basic rules of jquery for selecting element whether we want to append them or making an event on it ..!

check out here actually what is it http://www.w3schools.com/jquery/jquery_syntax.asp