16

Which version is grammatically correct (given that I hopefully provided at least one correct alternative)?

[...] the company yielded a result to the amount of −€6.680 billion in 2008.

or

[...] the company yielded a result to the amount of €−6.680 billion in 2008.

Since I'm not a native speaker, I'd appreciate any other tips/corrections as well.

  • 3
    We don't use signs in these kind of contexts. I'd simply say the company had a loss of 6.6 billion., etc. – Noah Sep 1 '13 at 9:56
  • Ok thanks. What if I wanted to write that the NIAT (net income after taxes) was ... [insert one of the above]? What would then be the right one? :) – henry Sep 1 '13 at 10:00
  • 1
    I would still avoid using the currency sign. I’d write, “The company’s NIAT was –2.84 million euro”, typing out the name of the currency instead of using the € sign. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 1 '13 at 10:07
  • Thanks for your comments so far. So how come in these two texts (arbitrary google results after a 2 minute search) both use only text-currencies and symbol-currencies? bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-31/… and bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-31/… I'd say the text-variant is clearly the right/common one, but there are phrases which say: [...] to $123. Would that be an inconsistency then? I just want to understand it better. – henry Sep 1 '13 at 11:12
  • 2
    Actually, in text, if the net income after tax is a loss, say that. "The company made a net loss after tax of €2.84m" – Andrew Leach Sep 1 '13 at 11:42
14

In general, you would not write out the minus sign in descriptive text.

The company suffered losses in excess of $7 billion.

The company suffered a 2.4 million dollar deficit.

The words "losses" and "deficit" make the minus sign redundant and unnecessary.

The only example I can think of where you might need to be explicit would be a table, where you might be showing both losses and profits. In that case you would probably use the (loss) syntax common in financial docs:

Company X: $2.1M

Company Y: ($1.4M)

Though you could conceivably use a minus sign as well and your point would be made clear:

Company X: $2.1M

Company Y: -$1.4M

  • 1
    +1, except that you have both "$" and "dollar" in $2.4 million dollar. – Cerberus Sep 1 '13 at 13:02
  • 4
    More than just being redundant and unnecessary, I’d say a minus sign when dealing with losses actually change the meaning. A net loss of –2.4 million dollars is a net gain of 2.4 million dollars. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Sep 1 '13 at 13:17
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Good point, I edited my op. Lynn, thanks. – henry Sep 1 '13 at 13:28
  • 2
    Minor style note: Avoid using a hyphen for a minus sign when possible. If a proper minus sign isn't available, it's generally acceptable to use a figure dash or en dash instead. They generally have the same appearance as a minus sign (the most important thing being width) whereas a hyphen does not. – Bradd Szonye Sep 1 '13 at 17:53
  • 1
    @PieterGeerkens I can't speak for the rest of Europe, but would say that, in British English, altho' billion used to mean 10^12, we have now almost exclusively adopted the Am usage of 10^9. – TrevorD Sep 1 '13 at 23:39
5

The minus sign is always the leftmost: -(rest of the symbols).

The currency symbol is always adjacent to the figure: (amount).

To avoid ambiguity and help readability, one may place the minus sign in parentheses:
(-) €6.680

protected by tchrist Nov 3 '16 at 13:07

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