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68

If your argument was that thousands means 2000+, then you could show your boyfriend the following dictionaries, which define thousands in your favour: merriam-webster freedictionary collins Do not show him the following dictionaries, which define thousands in his favour: oxford dictionary.com cambridge I'd say opinion is well and truly divided.


45

I have also noticed when reading French and Spanish texts, that it is quite normal to write numbers below ten in full as well, e.g. "los tres hombres que..." instead of "los 3 hombres que..." My guess is that writing numbers in full in a European language is easier than using Roman numerals, which were the mainstay until the Arabic-Hindu number system came ...


38

Actually, eleven and twelve also seem to be derived from 10+1 and 10+2. Let me quote from the classic book Number: The Language of Science by Tobias Dantzig (1930, republished with nice foreword by Barry Mazur): Indeed, there is no mistaking the influence of our ten fingers on the “selection” of the base of our number system. In all Indo-European ...


37

You probably don't want to do it at all. Noninteger numbers are best written in their decimal form (1.5, 5.0). If they can be expressed as simple fractions, you can do that instead: “one and a half” for 1.5. If you absolutely want to write it out, then you'll have to do it the way they are spelt: “one point five”, “five point zero”. You can use oh instead ...


35

Both zeros and zeroes are acceptable, see e.g. Merriam-Webster, Wiktionary or TheFreeDictionary. The usage stats from the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) and the British National Corpus (BNC) look as follows: COCA BNC zeros 312 132 zeroes.[n] 106 5 So in practice zeros is preferred in the US and ...


33

You could make the argument that English does not have singular and plural markers per se, but rather singular and "non-singular". (I'm not necessarily advocating this view, just throwing it out there.) The evidence would be that the singular form is used to refer to one of something, while the plural form is used to refer to all other amounts. This ...


31

0.25 miles. The rule I follow is that you use the singular only when talking of exactly one mile. You'd also say half a mile, quarter of a mile, etc., but in these cases it's as though you're still talking of "a mile" first, and then taking half or quarter of it. Let me say something further, with the caveat that it may be my own idiosyncratic usage: use ...


31

They are called tally marks. Tally marks, or hash marks, are a unary numeral system. They are a form of numeral used for counting. They allow updating written intermediate results without erasing or discarding anything written down. However, because of the length of large numbers, tallies are not commonly used for static text.


26

It depends on whether two-thirds (or any similar proportion) is regarded as a measure of amount or of number. In (1), the emphasis is likely to be on the amount of pizza eaten, and not on the number of individual thirds, so (b) would be appropriate. In contrast, in (2) the emphasis is on the number of visitors who were men, so plural concord, as in (a), is ...


24

I seem to remember the old askoxford.com site said either was acceptable: CDs and CD's. But now the replacement Oxford Dictionaries Online firmly suggests to avoid the apostrophe except in a few special cases: Apostrophes and plural forms The general rule is that you should not use an apostrophe to form the plurals of nouns, abbreviations, or ...


22

"One hundred and thirty-five" is perfectly correct, although the "and" tends to be removed in American English. It makes sense mathematically, since "and" is synonymous with "plus" — two apples and three apples makes five apples. One hundred, and thirty-five, makes 135. The "and" is particularly useful when articulating a series of numbers. "One hundred ...


18

Although people do use it mean 1900–1909, it isn't a misuse to use it to mean 1900–1999. Another way to refer to the first decade would be "just after the turn of the century", or "at the turn of the century". I would say 1920s to mean 1920–1929 though. If you do a corpus query (COCA) you'll find that 1900s is almost always preceded by early. (121 times ...


18

The usual way is just to find the Latin root and add the suffix: quintuple, sextuple, septuple, nonuple, etc. For numbers beyond eight or nine, the -uple constructions sounds rather strained, if not downright silly. (Duodecuple? Really?) I'd recommend -fold as an alternative ("a ninety-fold increase"), or substitute another counter noun altogether: an ...


18

There are two main ways to express decimal numbers in words. Reading the decimal. In this method you read the part of the number left of the decimal point as a normal integer, then the word “point”, followed by the numbers to the right of the decimal point. They are read either as individual digits, or sometimes in pairs as two-digit numbers. Examples: ...


18

Both are commonly used and acceptable. There are various common cases where a superficially singular subject can or indeed must be associated with a plural verb: The government [are/is] considering the proposal. A lot of these matters [have/*has] been dealt with. The majority [are/??is] pleased with the outcome. A half of all pensioners ...


18

Numbers from 10 to 99 inclusive are often referred to as double figures in the UK. For example, from yesterday's (British) news: The death toll during the recent cold snap has hit double figures - as forecasters predicted up to another foot of snow is on the way.


18

If someone said "I have thousands of dollars" and really they had $1900, then you would say they are a liar or romancer. If they really had $2100, you'd think they are nominally correct, but being somewhat misleading. I'd say it gets to be "thousands" around $3000. One may even say thousands' meaning up until the next threshold, which would be up to roughly ...


16

Is this still the case or has the world aligned itself to the American way? At least Britain seems to have largely aligned itself that way. Quoting Wikipedia, which has an excellent entry on the topic (Long and short scales): [In the UK,] "billion" has meant 109 in most sectors of official published writing for many years now. The UK ...


16

The simplest explanation, which does not really delve into linguistics at all, is that "ten" is not a unit that you use in multiples. That is, "20" is not spoken of as "two-tens", "50" is not spoken of as "five-tens". Thus there is no need for the disambiguation of specifying "one ten". (French seems to have decided that if you don't specify a count, ...


15

Etymonline has this: Originally pronounced as it still is in only, and in dial. good 'un, young 'un, etc.; the now-standard pronunciation "wun" began c.14c. in southwest and west England (Tyndale, a Gloucester man, spells it won in his Bible translation), and it began to be general 18c. Wiktionary adds: one and once are pronounced differently from ...


14

In speech this is obviously always pronounced "ratio one to one." In writing, it is a matter of style. Anything of a technical nature should always be written in the 1:1 form, but when writing prose, fiction or something informal, you should certainly consider writing it as it would be spoken: "The mix was applied in a one-to-one ratio." The use of ...


14

The Oxford Public Affairs Directorate Writing and Style Guide (PDF) says Do not mix the two styles within a paragraph when they refer to the same category and gives as acceptable examples At least 8 of the 20 students were not concentrating Eight of the twenty students were not concentrating In general, 8 or 10 students were present at all ...


13

It is perfectly acceptable to say "give me half of that". In English, "half" in understood on its own to mean "one of two equal parts of something". To put it another way: It would make no sense to say "give me no halves of that". You would just say "give me none of that". It would make no sense to say "give me two halves of that". You would just say ...


13

Either rewrite the sentence or paragraph so it doesn't end with the number, or write it as you should with any normal sentence and put a period at the end: The answer is 0.8. That looks much neater to me than The answer is 0.8 .. If you're not dealing with mathematics or plain numbers, then another approach is to mention the units (which is often a ...


13

In data analyzed for the ‘Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English’ on constructions with one in or one out of followed by a number, plural agreement predominated. ‘The Cambridge Grammar of English Usage’, which quotes this finding, comments that ‘For most writers the choice depends on whether you’re thinking of a single case or a general principle.’


12

No method. The twelfth day is January 5th: 25-Dec 26-Dec 27-Dec 28-Dec 29-Dec 30-Dec 31-Dec 01-Jan 02-Jan 03-Jan 04-Jan 05-Jan January 6th is the day after the twelfth day of Christmas. I am not an expert on this subject, but this is from the Wikipedia page on Epiphany: Christian feast celebrating the appearance of Jesus Christ to the Magi ...


12

This isn’t a full answer, but some more pieces of the puzzle. Briefly: the OED supports the argument that the usage “twelfth night” = “Jan 6th” comes not from subtleties of ecclesiastical reckoning, but from a recent shift in meaning. According to the OED, the twelve days originally referred to the twelve days after Christmas, i.e. starting from the first ...


12

The sentence really should have read: Unfortunately, it increases the CPI by a factor of 1.1. One would probably not find this sort of ambiguity in a math text, but it is certain that a factor of was implied. Note, however, that Unfortunately, it increases the CPI to 1.1 does not mean the same thing! This implies, the final value of the CPI, ...


12

Without further context, I would take it to mean that that someone or something was rejected, thrown out or discarded. It's a slang expression, encountered primarily in restaurant context. When you eighty-six someone, you refuse to serve them. Edit: Wiktionary lists a few more meanings, along with this bit about etymology: Origin uncertain. The [Oxford ...


12

I'd go with the following structure: Q: Where does Obama fall in the sequence of US presidents? A: [He's the] 44th [president]. This reflects similar usage when discussing, for instance, rankings: Q: Where did Harvard fall on the U.S. News & World Report list this year? A: 2nd.



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