Questions relating to the use of numbers or numerals in speaking or writing English.

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How to write dollar amounts in a narrative

What's the best way to write dollar amounts in a narrative (such as a novel), particularly if the amounts are large and/or fractional? I would use this: "The national debt just hit 14.6 trillion ...
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2answers
10k views

Correct way to write a range of dollar figures

What is the best way to express the range from $4.5 billion to $5.2 billion? Is the following correct? ... between $4.5 and $5.2 billion...
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1answer
1k views

When is it proper to abbreviate first to 1st?

When is it proper to use 1st instead of first? For example, is the correct sentence acceptable? Can you give more detail about why you 1st got involved? I tried finding some authoritative ...
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3answers
646 views

“More than one” is to “plural” as “less than one” is to what?

We call the quantity of more than one (singular) plural. Is there any general word similar to this for a quantity less than one (singular)?
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2answers
211 views

Starting a quote with a number

I know you cannot start a sentence with a number written digitally (how do I say this?). For example I could not write: 2013 is almost over! Can a quotation begin with a number, though? For ...
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3answers
853 views

The reasons are two. Correct?

I stumbled upon this phrase in this video's description. A few words about this masterpiece: Brahms began composing this piece in 1854 and finished it in 1876. The reasons for delaying ...
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4answers
1k views

Is there a term to denote writing numbers in words rather than as digits?

Often when writing we would like numbers to be written out fully e.g. thirty rather than in digits e.g. 30. Is there a name for this kind of representation?
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2answers
35k views

How to spell out dollars and cents [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How to say the total amount? Which is the correct way to spell out dollars and cents? Forty-Two Thousand Dollars and 00/100 ($42,000.00) or Forty-Two Thousand ...
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2answers
4k views

Usage of “second/third/fourth … last”

In German there is a pattern for counting items from the end of a list. The last item is "das letzte", the one before is "das vorletzte", the one before that is "das vorvorletzte" and for each other ...
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2answers
260 views

What is the correct way to express the ordinal form of a large number?

If I want to express... The 1114th person ...with the number in words, would it be best to do... The one thousand, one hundred and fourteenth person ...or hyphenated... The ...
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2answers
134 views

Why “proximate” refers to centesimal? [closed]

I mean, when I read "proximate" I think about "proximity".. why does it refers exactly to the 3rd digit in a number?
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2answers
104 views

Cardinal or ordinal numbers when the word “number” is used

In the sentence "He was number three to finish the race", is the word "three" an ordinal or cardinal number? My gut reaction is that it's a cardinal number, but I'm having a hard time arguing for it. ...
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1answer
79 views

Use of the word “chance” to mean a number

In the Song I'm a Good Ol' Rebel the lyrics include the verse But I killed a chance of Yankees I'm unable to find a definition of chance that fits this usage. I presume it means a number but ...
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3answers
261 views

Need help simplyfying sentences containing economic information

I am not very knowledgeable about economics and am trying to reword these two sentences: In 1964 the CDC 6600 cost around $7 million USD, though some sources site prices of up to $10 million. ...
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1answer
98 views

Is it proper to say “I earned -1 points today” when I lost 1 point?

Suppose I play a game where I can lose points as well as gain them. Usually I'll say: I earned 10 points today, hooray! But what if I lost points and still want to use "optimistic" verb? I ...
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3answers
1k views

What is the formal way of expressing 1990s?

How do you express the last decade of 20th century in formal written English? "1990s"? If the century is known from the context, can you simply say "the nineties"? As in: "The involvement of US in ...
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1answer
64 views

Names of Numbers [duplicate]

A thought hit me today that I can't get out of my head. Why are the numbers 10 - 19 so special, that they get their own naming scheme unlike the rest of the numbers. for example. if we go up in ...
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1answer
199 views

What is the correct way to express yearly quarters? Is using roman numerals correct?

While looking over a company's annual report, I realized that every business quarter was denoted using roman numerals. E.g. QI,2014 QII, 2014 etc. I am sure I am being petty and pedantic, ...
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3answers
258 views

Words or digits? What is good style for numbers in mathematical writing?

What is considered good style for writing small numbers as words or digits in mathematical texts? I have three concrete examples, are there any differences between those? "M is a matroid of rank ...
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2answers
315 views

How to punctuate a range of hyphenated numbers? [duplicate]

What is the best way to punctuate a range of hyphenated numbers, e.g., sections 12-3 through 12-7? EDIT: Just to reply to those who marked this as a duplicate, I really fail to see how the post that ...
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1answer
222 views

A lot of numbers in a paragraph, how should I phrase them [closed]

The formal grammar demands that numbers be written out as words at the beginning of a sentence. I have a paragraph like the one below and I am not sure how best to re-phrase it so as to conform to the ...
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3answers
84 views

Reading discount rates

How I should read discount rates like the following: a $3.50 discount I'm not sure if I should say "a three-fifty dollar discount," "a three dollar and fifty cent discount," or ...
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1answer
163 views

Correct usage of numero sign (№): cardinal numbers okay?

Can the numero sign (№) only be used to indicate ordinal numbers only, or would it be correct to use it for cardinal numbers as well? A very specific example: if I write about "the number of males ...
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1answer
59 views

Is a number range always plural?

If I were to say "2-3 weeks" it seems clear that weeks should be plural. Are there any cases where a number range would not be plural (e.g. 0-1 week or 0-1 weeks)? Would it matter if the usage was ...
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1answer
52 views

How many can follow up with “you”?

Imagine you are talking to a coterie: Who will vote for Obama? (2 hands raise) I want to ask you two... How many can follow up with "you" if there are more people to imply? Who will vote ...
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3answers
141 views

Where do these numbers come from, and do we still use them? [duplicate]

I began to read the stories of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, and several times already, I came across numbers the form of which surprise me... First, in A Study in Scarlet, Chapter IV: ...
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2answers
2k views

English words for specific positive integers (e.g. dozen, score, gross, myriad) [closed]

Dozen = 12 Score = 20 Gross = 144 Myriad = 10,000 Googol = 10¹⁰⁰ Googolplex = 10Googol Indian English: Lakh = 100,000 and Crore = 10,000,000. Ignoring all the numbers already listed on ...
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3answers
86 views

Late/early for numbers other than age/year

When referring to age or to periods in time, it is quite common to use expressions such as He is in his late twenties or The best music was produced in the early eighties I have recently ...
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2answers
643 views

Usage of hyphens with numeric measurements

What is correct: two 1-Gb links; two 1 Gb links; or two 1Gb links? I suspect the first, however I do not know the name of this situation, which makes it difficult to for me to find via Google. I ...
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30 views

The first two of ten thousand have been delivered

Does this mean that the first literal two have been delivered? Or does it mean the first two thousand have been delivered?
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15 views

Article before “two” with intervening adjective?

Consider the following sentence: (1) The project will include Alice, Bob, and an expected two new hires. This sounds correct to me; it means we are expecting to hire two new people and will put ...
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0answers
32 views

How do we say hexadecimal numbers? [duplicate]

When speaking series of decimal numbers, we say "one... nine, ten"; when speaking hexadecimals do we say "one... e, f, ten"? Do we say "nineteen, ateen, bteen... fteen, twenty" and so forth, or do we ...
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1answer
85 views

Should street numbers be written as cardinal or ordinal numbers [closed]

When writing a numerical street, do you use a cardinal number (220 Street) or ordinal number (220th Street)
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0answers
19 views

Ordinal numbers as adverbs [duplicate]

I was once told not to end "firstly [point 1], secondly [point2], thirdly [point 3]" in -ly and to leave them as first, second, third etc. Is this always true or only in certain situations? Is it ever ...
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3answers
762 views

What size of number should be written in digits as opposed to spelt out? [duplicate]

I was taught that small numbers should be written with letters and not numerals. For example "5" would be "five". I've heard conflicting rules and am wondering what the largest number that should be ...
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0answers
5k views

“Two and two makes four” vs. “two and two make four” [duplicate]

Two and two makes four. Two and two make four. Which is grammatical? Please provide your reasoning.
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0answers
82 views

What is the question for which the answer is “This is my third coffee today”? [duplicate]

Duplicate of: How should I phrase a question that must be answered with an ordinal number (e.g., the third prime)? Framing a question to which the answer is an ordinal number How manyth son ...
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2answers
823 views

“sufferings” is plural though it is uncountable,but how?

We know that there is no plural form of the "uncountable noun," but, for example, we write: His sufferings force us to retain pity for him. Is it possible to make an uncountable noun plural? If ...
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4answers
512 views

How to say fractions like “7/8” or “546/823”

I have come across the following three spoken variants for the fraction ⅞: Seven by eight Seven over eight Seven into eight I am also aware of seven-eighths but I don't want to use that as it ...
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1answer
338 views

What comes after quadruple? [duplicate]

I know: Single Double Triple Quadruple But what comes next? Up to 10 would be fine.
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3answers
1k views

When do the “-uple”s end? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How to form single, double, triple… and uni-, bi-, tri-… words? There's single, double, triple, quadruple... — what's next? Is there an end to the ...
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1answer
614 views

how do I write “about four or five hundred US Dollars”

I proofread/edit transcribed witness evidence, and often witnesses will say something like "around four or five thousand dollars". If the evidence is all about figures, I would sometimes write this ...
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3answers
1k views

many hours is? or are?

Time, distance, weight are treated as singular, like "3 hours is too long." Then, in this instance, "How many hours of sleep is/are needed to keep fit?" Is "is" correct?
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57k views

How to say the total amount?

I'm not sure if the saying of the total amount USD 23,428.32 is correct below (esp. the 'cent' part after the dot): Say U.S. dollars twenty-three thousand four hundred and twenty-eight and ...
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2answers
55 views

“being wined and dined” — singular?

I want to say, "He loves being wined and dined, and he's not above demanding it." I don't know whether being can be treated as the referent of it, or I must take the whole verb phrase as a plural. I ...
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2answers
165 views

Combining numbers and text

In the following sentence I am using a combination of numbers and words in a sentence: The greatest loss in accuracy for the method is between a rate of one and two hours where, on average, the ...
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3answers
124 views

Formatting numbers in a book about mathematics

Would anyone be kind enough to point me to a reliable source (preferably on line) where I can find definitive answers to how to format numbers consistently within a book about maths aimed at popular ...
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1answer
156 views

can I say 'a 300-thousand city'

I am looking for a noun meaning 'having 300 thousand inhabitants' so that I could say for example 'a 300-thousand city' instead of 'a city in which 300 thousand people live' or 'a city inhabited by ...
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3answers
68 views

How to refer to a previous number by “that much”?

Sentence: Using cross-validation, it was shown that modeling at a penalty value of 1.25 did achieve the highest performance. This indicates that a penalty value that much could mitigate the ...
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2answers
64 views

Number usage in a series [closed]

Is it right to say that the percentage decreases by 10% each time, like in this example: Around 30% of politicians throughout the world are women. A significant 30% is represented in Scandinavian ...