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Grammar Tips & Tidbits


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Writing Numbers: Part II


Welcome to Part II of the "Writing Numbers" series. If you missed Part I, you can  read it here.

The following rules come from The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation website, courtesy of Jane Straus.¹ You can view additional tips, read Jane's blog, or purchase her book at the following website: http://www.grammarbook.com. Jane's site also includes tons of free quizzes so you can test your knowledge. If you can't get enough grammar quizzes, you're in luck. Jane just launched a subscription area containing over 100 interactive quizzes!

Rules for Writing Numbers: Part II
by Jane Straus

Rule 7                Write decimals in figures. Put a zero in front of a decimal unless the decimal itself begins with a zero.
  Examples The plant grew 0.79 of a foot in one year.
    The plant grew only .07 of a foot this year because of the drought.
Rule 8 When writing out large numbers of five or more digits before the decimal point, use a comma where the comma would appear in the figure format. Use the word and only where the decimal point appears in the figure format.
  Examples $15,768.13 (Fifteen thousand, seven hundred sixty-eight dollars and thirteen cents)
    $1054.21 (One thousand fifty-four dollars and twenty-one cents)
    NOTE: The comma is now commonly omitted in four-digit whole numbers.
Rule 9 When expressing decades, you may spell them out and lowercase them.
  Example During the eighties and nineties, the United States economy grew.
Rule 10 The following examples apply when using dates:
  Examples The meeting is scheduled for June 30.
    The meeting is scheduled for the 30th of June.
    We have had tricks played on us on April 1.
    The 1st of April puts some people on edge.
Rule 11 If you wish to express decades using incomplete numerals, put an apostrophe before the incomplete numeral but not between the year and the s.
  Correct During the '80s and '90s, the United States economy grew.
  Incorrect During the '80's and '90's, the United States economy grew.
Rule 12 You may also express decades in complete numerals. Again, don't use an apostrophe between the year and the s.
  Example During the 1980s and 1990s, the United States economy grew.


Click here to read Part III.

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1.  Straus, Jane. "Rules for Writing Numbers." The Blue Book of Grammar
     and Punctuation
. http://www.grammarbook.com/numbers/numbers.asp.
     Published with permission.