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I'd be glad if someone could tell me how numbers like "2.3.4.5.6" are read (pronounced)? "Two dot three dot four..." or "two three four" or maybe "two point three point four"?

  • It depends wholly on speaker and context, which vary by the phase of the moon and the solar wind. You cannot get a single right answer here. You can get no more than a survey of what various people might say. – tchrist Jan 11 '13 at 12:37
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    This has been asked before, but I can't locate the question. Perhaps someone else can. – Barrie England Jan 11 '13 at 12:37
  • @tchrist so doest that mean I can read them whatever I want? :) – Nik Jan 11 '13 at 12:39
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    The two standard ways to read them are by saying point or dot for the (.), but not both. If you don't include one of those words & say only two-three-four-five-six-etc., you might confuse the listener. – user21497 Jan 11 '13 at 12:51
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The generally accepted and correct pronunciation of 2.3.4.5.6 would be:

Two point three point four point five point six.

The term point comes from full point as used as a punctuation mark or full stop. From Oxford English Dictionary (OED):

point, n.1

a. A full stop (in full, full point);

  • And 2.13 as two point thirteen, not as the decimal number two point one three. – Andrew Leach Jan 11 '13 at 14:55
  • @AndrewLeach Yes, good point! Sorry couldn't resist. – spiceyokooko Jan 11 '13 at 14:57
  • @spiceyokooko Would you please point to a source? – Tin Man Mar 31 '18 at 12:19
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It seems that there isn't consensus on a single term to use.

In another post here on StackExchange, Dan Sheppard writes:

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).

Version numbers carry a similar ambiguity. Both the terms "dot release" and "point release" are valid, and version numbers can be read in a variety of ways. In the case of "Web 2.0," for example, both "dot" and "point" can be used:

There seem to be many possible ways of saying this - "two point oh", "two point zero", "two dot oh", two point nought", "two oh", "web two" - with a certain amount of variation according to nationality, company loyalties and other factors.

  • In the specific case of version numbers, in my personal experience as a software engineer I also often hear the point omitted entirely — for example, reading version 1.2.3 as “one two three”. Given that software collaboration is so often remote and text-based, I wonder if there is regional variation in the spoken pronunciation. – Thom Smith Apr 21 at 17:02

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