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I am currently writing an essay, I have to state there is a $1 million prize for something. What is the correct way of stating this amount?

I have gone with "one million USD", do you think this is acceptable or is there a preferred format?

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I would not use “USD” in general writing. Just say a million dollars U.S., or a million (American) dollars. If you must. Normally “dollar” means American funds unless otherwise qualified by locale. –  tchrist Nov 30 '12 at 15:26
    
I always use US$599, NT$18,000 (New Taiwan dollars), AU$600, CA$700. But (USD), (CAD), etc. is a perfectly normal option. –  user21497 Nov 30 '12 at 16:04

3 Answers 3

If you and your essay readers are in the U.S., then they will correctly infer one million U.S. dollars from $1 million.

Currency abbreviations (such as USD, CHF, CAD, JPY, and EUR) are used by currency traders to denote currency pairs.

I would avoid USD unless your essay readers might confuse the prize for Canadian or Australian dollars. In those cases, you might write it as

a $1 million (CAD) prize

the fabulous $1 million (AUD) prize

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I would only use an abbreviation like "USD" in a context where other such abbreviations are used or at least would seem appropriate. If you're writing general text, with all the other words spelled out normally, it would be odd to suddenly use an abbreviation here.

Also, I think most general readers would not realize what "USD" stands for without some context. I mean, if you just said, "the prize is one million USD", unless you have been talking about multiple foreign currencies in this context before this, I don't think most readers would instantly realize what that stands for.

If you were writing to an American audience, who would normally expect all dollar amounts to be American dollars unless otherwise specified, you should simply say "$1 million". I'm not sure what conventions are in other countries, but as an American, if I was writing for an American audience and the prize was in, say, Australian dollars, I would write "$1 million (Australian)" or "one million Australian dollars".

I'd avoid "$1 million (USD)" or "one million dollars (USD)" because it's redundant: that spells out to "one million dollars (United States dollars)", and grates like "ATM machine", etc.

If you are writing an article for bankers or international financiers, that's different, then it's conventional to write "US$1 million", etc. and they know what you mean.

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In Britain, once the country of the currency is established then customary symbols would be $1m, A$1m, C$1m, Z$1m. Not sure that one million Zimbabwean dollars is much of a prize compared to the others, though. –  Andrew Leach Nov 30 '12 at 16:09

I like rajah9's answer but I would restate the variations for a little better readability:

a prize of $1 million (CAD)

the fabulous prize of $1 million (AUD)

or

1st Prize - $1 million (CAD)

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