# In which case are items written in a different order than they are read aloud?

When talking about money, people often write "\$1", but read this as "one dollar", rather than "dollar one". (Same with "£1" and "one pound"). Are there any other situations, besides currency, in which items are written in a different order in which they are spoken or read aloud?

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£10, €20, ¥30... – Hugo May 2 '12 at 9:09
Big C with a number inside, which is read as "16th century" (or whatever the number happens to be). – user16269 May 2 '12 at 9:09
@David Huh? I've never seen this notation. Can you point to an example? – Jay May 2 '12 at 13:52
Yeah, I've always wondered why we don't write 1\$. We do write cents that way, i.e. we read "ten cents" and write "10¢". Anybody know if there are other countries that read and write in the same order, either way? – Jay May 2 '12 at 14:03
@Jay, actually, I've had a bit of a look and I can't find an example online of the "number inside C" notation. However, to prove that I'm not making it up, I did find help.lockergnome.com/office/… and uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090912113604AAAabDv - but I realise that this isn't particularly satisfying. Sorry. – user16269 May 3 '12 at 5:26

Sometimes this happens with other units of measurement, particularly when the unit is squared. That is, we might write "12 ft2", but say "twelve square feet," or "10 mi2" as "ten square miles."

This example isn't as universal as currency – that is, no one says "dollar one," but some might say "ten miles square."

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But "10 miles square" is not the same as "10 square miles". "10 miles square" is usually understood to mean a square that is 10 miles on each side, i.e. 100 square miles. mathforum.org/library/drmath/view/58423.html – Jay May 2 '12 at 13:57
Oh, and note that the "ft^2" notation is pretty much limited to scientific circles. It's very handy, especially when you get into complex units like kg m^2 sec^-2, or when you're doing calculations, but I suspect most people would not understand it. – Jay May 2 '12 at 13:59
@Jay: Perhaps usually, but certainly not always. – J.R. May 2 '12 at 14:22
@JR That's why I carefully wrote "usually". :-) But I don't get the point of your example: it confirms what I said. DC is 10 miles square, i.e. 100 square miles. Or it was until a chunk of the land was given back to Virginia, now it's more like 64 square miles. – Jay May 2 '12 at 16:17
@Jay: You're right, my counterexample only confirms your point! D'oh! Thanks! Good catch - both times. – J.R. May 2 '12 at 20:11

Whether you write the symbol first also varies between countries, sometimes even with the same symbol so you can have 10€ and €10 - it's a real pain when internationalizing software.

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