# How should I hyphen decimal numbers written in letters (that contains the word "point" and "and")?

All the wesites I've looked at says to hyphen numbers when you are describing compound numbers between 21 and 99 (except 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 and 90). A compound number is any number that consists of two words; for example, eighty-eight, twenty-two, forty-nine. Numbers higher than 99 do not need a hyphen.

But the problem is that none tells me what happens when we encounter decimal numbers.

How should I hyphen these numbers that contain "point" and "and"?

• three(-)and(-)a(-)half.

• three(-)point(-)five.

• five(-)hundred(-)and(-)thirty(-)six(-)and a half.

• five(-)hundred(-)and(-)thirty(-)six(-)point(-)five.

Can someone perhaps provide me a link that explains this?

• This question has some suggestions e.g. "one and three-quarters" (see also Chicago), although rules are not very firm. Writing decimals in words is so horrendous that no style guide seems to cover it. Rather than "three point five" write "three and a half". Jun 30, 2022 at 13:31
• Decimals are not usually written in letters; they are written as decimals. Only in some legal documents, will they be written out. For example: Party X will receive a 5.5% (five and a half percent) commission on all sales. Jun 30, 2022 at 13:52

## 1 Answer

I have only come across conflicting information concerning whether or not to hyphenate decimals expressed in words. However, I will provide you with some knowledge, that I hope you form the habit of using. That being your use of the word "and" when writing numbers out in word form. The word "and" is only correctly used to replace the decimal point as in 3.14, which would be three and fourteen-hundredths. There is no five hundred and thirty-six, or any other number with the word "and" in any other place but where the decimal is located. 536 should is correctly expressed in words as five hundred thirty-six. It might seem weird to you initially because you have likely been conditioned over your whole life to use "and" incorrectly when expressing numbers, but what I state here is truth. "And" is only used to replace the decimal point in a number when expressed in word form, it functions as a divider separating the whole number part from the fractional part of the number. That is the purpose of the decimal point, and the purpose of using an "and", to separate two differing parts of a number in a clear, structured manner to avoid any ambiguity, or confusion.

Also, one more quick note while I'm here. There is no such number as ten hundred. Nine hundred is the largest hundred you can have. Once you pass nine and go on to what some call ten hundred, is incorrect. After nine hundred is one thousand. Likewise, there is no such numbers as thirteen hundred, nor nineteen hundred, or even thirty three hundred. Instead, the correct way to express those amounts would be one thousand three hundred, one thousand nine hundred, and three thousand three hundred. Same holds true for other values of numbers, for we work in a base 10 number system where each column of a value ranges from zero to nine, for upon reaching the tenth unit of that column, it carries over to the next higher valued (to the left) column. Ten ones equals ten (10 x 1 = 10), ten tens equals one hundred (10 x 10 = 100), ten hundreds equals one thousand (10 x 100 = 1,000), and so forth. So imagine the irritation that is conjured deep within my mental recesses when I hear someone say something like, "Sixteen hundred, and twenty-three"!

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Mar 28 at 23:49
• "Five hundred and thhirty-six" is fine in England. American schoolmarms may tell you not to use "and" for this. See english.stackexchange.com/q/3518/9368 Mar 29 at 7:07
• And "thirteen hundred" is fine in British English too. The "hundred" limit is actually 1900: while we have to have "a thousand; two thousand", we do say "nineteen hundred" either as an approximation ["around nineteen hundred nails"] or less often in combination ["nineteen hundred and sixty"] ; but we wouldn't say "twenty-one hundred". Mar 29 at 9:29
• I have heard twenty-one hundred. Even ninety-nine hundred. But not one hundred hundred. Mar 29 at 12:43