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I'm looking for some guidance on how to describe an industry according to it's revenue, and I'm seeking clarity around the correct usage of assigning a dollar value to an industry.

First and foremost, does the description:

Ten billion dollar industry

Refer specifically to the annual revenue of an industry? Or is it ambiguously used to describe the annual profit, annual investment or even capital value - and thus requiring additional context to define the statement?

Secondly, if I were to write it numerically, which is more readable?

  1. $10 billion industry
  2. 10 billion dollar industry
  3. $10 billion dollar industry

I feel like:

  1. is grammatically correct, but awkward to parse because the leading dollar sign requires the insertion of the absent word "dollar", two words later.
  2. is likewise grammatically correct, but more readily parsed.
  3. is not grammatically correct because either the dollar sign or the word "dollar" is redundant.

I have seen 3 used from time-to-time - would it be considered acceptable use, or is it simply a common mistake, like "PIN number" Also, I'm happy to accept guidance on correct hyphenation!

  • 2
    #1 is the standard. It takes none of the work you have analyzed for anyone who reads English or recognizes the currency protocol. Granted I was recently offered editing work at "dollar forty-five an hour" where the recruiter misread $45/hr for lack of know-how in the language he was doing business in. I take the number to mean gross annual revenue. – Yosef Baskin Aug 16 '17 at 3:00

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