A conductor is a material which will allow an electric current to flow easily. In the case of a wire connection, it needs to be a very good conductor. Good conductors include most metals. The most common conductor used in wire is copper, although you may come across others such as aluminium. An insulator on the other hand is a material which does not allow an electric current to flow. Rubber and most plastics are insulators.
Dashed lines are drawn between the symbols to denote which switches control specific lights or receptacles. There are quite a few symbols used to represent the devices used in home electrical wiring but some of them are very similar, so care should be used when working with them!
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