How do you read section 20.1234 in a regulation by a government agency?

For example, the law is 38 C.F.R. section 20.1234. How do you read 20.1234?

Do you read it as "twenty one two three four" or "twenty point one two three four?


  • 2
    Twenty dot twelve thirty-four.
    – tchrist
    Sep 13 '14 at 22:15

Where one number ends and the next begins is often ambiguous in English, so I would recommend being explicit with separators. For example, consider the ambiguity in distinguishing section 20.1 from section 21 without some word indicating the separator.

The word you use -- "dot", "point", "mark", "sub", -- is a matter of personal taste or else institutional style, but when in doubt a word which directly describes the symbol is usually fine (I would say point here).

In some contexts you will find that each level of hierarchy has a name or jargon associated with it -- "section", "clause", "item", "sub-section" etc -- in which case you can use this in place of the separator.

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