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How should currency values be expressed in writing

REP

I tried to find the proper way to express a currency value in a written passage. So far, I have been unable to find a source that I trust. Should it be:

1. I spent $200 on a pair of shoes.
2. I spent 200 dollars on a pair of shoes.
3. I spent $200 dollars on a pair of shoes.

Dominions Son

@REP

I tried to find the proper way to express a currency value in a written passage. So far, I have been unable to find a source that I trust. Should it be:


1 and 2 are both acceptable. 3 is redundant.

Also acceptable is:

4. I spent two hundred dollars on a pair of shoes.

gas->fire :)

Replies:   Grant
Grant

@Dominions Son

3 is redundant.


Yep, saying "I spent 200 dollars dollars..." just sounds odd.

Dominions Son
Updated:

When in Rome: I spent CC dollars on a pair of shoes.

Dominions Son
Updated:

Abe Lincoln: I spent ten score dollars on a pair of shoes.

Replies:   Dominions Son
Dominions Son

@Dominions Son

Or maybe Abe Lincoln: I spent one gross two score and sixteen dollars on a pair of shoes.

Crumbly Writer

As always, it depends on whether it's in dialogue (where it's always spelled out as it spoken) or in the description, where abbreviations are fine:

Description: She spend $200 on shoes.

Dialogue: "I spent two-hundred dollars on shoes."

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

I can tell I am old. You are talking about spending an obscene amount for a pair of shoes. It might cost that much these days, but I seriously doubt Lincoln paid 200 dollars for shoes. I think his salary as President for four years was $25,000.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

I can tell I am old. You are talking about spending an obscene amount for a pair of shoes.

You clearly haven't spent much time with young women recently. They spend an exorbitant amount for footware--and it's of dubious quality at best. Still, they think it's important (when you meet a new woman, how long does it take you to notice her shoes? Men's eyes traditionally don't travel any further south than the breasts!).

Switch Blayde

@REP

The Chicago Manual of Style says to spell out 1-99 AND any 1-99 number that ends with hundred, thousands, millions, etc.

So two hundred dollars is spelled out.

But I couldn't find if you'd write
$201
or
201 dollars

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

But I couldn't find if you'd write
$201
or
201 dollars

That's because of newspaper usage, where word count is at a premium. For dialogue, you spell out exactly what the characters say--though I wouldn't go so far as spelling out pi. If the number is large enough, it's allowable to shorten it, but I'd spell out $201, or even one-thousand and ninety three.

Dominions Son
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


I wouldn't go so far as spelling out pi.


You just did. :)

REP

My 39-year old daughter recently spent $400 for a purse, and my 17-year old granddaughter spent $150 for a wallet. Or should that be four hundred dollars and one hundred and fifty dollars.

Ernest Bywater

@REP

2. I spent 200 dollars on a pair of shoes.


This is what many of the grammar expe4rts will accept the most, while some will also accept option 1, and others will want you to use:

I spent two hundred dollars on a pair of shoes.

The above is what I usually go with because I find numerals tend to jump off the page / screen at people while the words just go with the flow.

sejintenej

The (? joking) reference to CC dollars in Rome is definitely out as would be the Arabic numbers.

As for the $ sign, you would have to set the place because that sign is used by many countries and the word dollar is not limited to the US of A. Even mainland China used to use it.

OK so your MP is in Milan to see the fashions but does your keyboard have the € sign. He then goes to se the dubious sights in the Ginza so you have to start using the § (damn, that was supposed to be a yen sign in the ASCII table, I'll have to find another ASCII table). Potentially complicated.

EP; I get your drift for two hundred dollars but as for the Chicago mob, do you really really want to spell out in letters the amount you got in the law suit after the lawyers got their cut; I infinitely prefer $12,289,324.79

Replies:   Dominions Son  tppm
Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

For dialogue, you spell out exactly what the characters say


It was never stated that this was dialogue.

Dominions Son

@sejintenej

The (? joking) reference to CC dollars in Rome is definitely out as would be the Arabic numbers.


Yes is was a joke, as were the Abe Lincoln versions

tppm
Updated:

@REP

1 or 2, 3 is redundant

@richardshagrin


but I seriously doubt Lincoln paid 200 dollars for shoes.


He may have, but not on one pair. In fact he probably spent more than that, through Secretary Stanton, for shews for the Army of the Potomac.

@Dominions Son


Dominions Son

2/5/2016, 10:19:04 PM

Updated: 2/5/2016, 10:20:06 PM

@Crumbly Writer

I wouldn't go so far as spelling out pi.

You just did. :)


In fact, spelling out pi is easier than writing it numerically, unless you have a Greek keyboard.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin

@tppm

It's easy as pie.

tppm

@sejintenej

EP; I get your drift for two hundred dollars but as for the Chicago mob, do you really really want to spell out in letters the amount you got in the law suit after the lawyers got their cut; I infinitely prefer $12,289,324.79


Unless there's some compelling reason to give the exact amount, I would write that out as "a little under $12.3 million".

Crumbly Writer

@tppm

Unless there's some compelling reason to give the exact amount, I would write that out as "a little under $12.3 million".

If your main character is either an accountant or works for the IRS, then the exact amount is very important. If they work for a bank, the amount is still important, but it changes constantly with the application of additional fees.

Replies:   Serena Jones
Serena Jones

On a related topic, what about time? I don't know if that should be a new thread or not.

But do I write out time?

It was one thirty am when the phone rang.

"Who calls at 1:30am," Jeff groaned.

Is this also a dialogue vs description issue.

And also, I have never spent $200 dollars on an accessory in my life. A coat, yes; shoes, f--- no.

SJ

Replies:   sejintenej
Serena Jones

@Crumbly Writer

Agreed. In anything finance, to the penny counts.

SJ

Replies:   tppm
sejintenej

@tppm

EP; I get your drift for two hundred dollars but as for the Chicago mob, do you really really want to spell out in letters the amount you got in the law suit after the lawyers got their cut; I infinitely prefer $12,289,324.79

Unless there's some compelling reason to give the exact amount, I would write that out as "a little under $12.3 million".

Apparently the Chicago mob want you to write "a little under twelve point three million dollars. That is OK but as CW points out there may be circumstances when it is important to be accurate and I was simply pointing out that that was not very practicable under Chicagoan recommendations. I wonder if it was the notorious Mayor Daley who was the ****** in the woodpile ;-)

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
sejintenej

@Serena Jones

It was one thirty am when the phone rang.

"Who calls at 1:30am," Jeff groaned.
Is this also a dialogue vs description issue.


The question has to be "are you in Illinois" or can you use straightforward writing? I reckon I would be happy reading either / both of your formats - they are simple, easy to read and very clear as to the hour. OK so there are those who will bring forward the diktats the myriad "schools" but surely authors write to be read, not to bamboozle their readers.

tppm
Updated:

@Serena Jones

Are we talking newspaper headlines or accounting ledgers? If newspapers, round it, if accounting, give the amount to the penny, or even mil.

As to time, what I hate, and hear all the time, is 4:30 AM in the morning.

P.S. I always write time as numerals.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@sejintenej

That is OK but as CW points out there may be circumstances when it is important to be accurate and I was simply pointing out that that was not very practicable under Chicagoan recommendations.

My main point was that I couldn't be constrained by the 99 dollar limit Switch referred to, writing out numeric terms until it becomes too awkward. That's a relative standard, but if it reads easier, write it out whenever possible. However, it's entirely permissible to use numbers for anything over 199.

As for time, I'd follow the 'keep it simple' philosophy. Write out 11'oclock, noon and midnight, but use the numeric form for everything else (ex: "11:30"). After all, how would you write "11:30" so sound like how it's written? (Eleven-thirty, eleven thirty, eleven:thirty? None of the other options make much sense.)

Replies:   richardshagrin  tppm
richardshagrin

@Crumbly Writer

Half past eleven or possibly a half hour before midnight/noon depending on which 12 o'clock applies. Or there is the Army/European way, 1130 hours or 2330 hours, again if morning or evening. Sometimes there is a "hundred" in there like Oh six hundred hours. Or Oh dark thirty.

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej

@richardshagrin

Or there is the Army/European way, 1130 hours or 2330 hours, again if morning or evening. Sometimes there is a "hundred" in there like Oh six hundred hours. Or Oh dark thirty.

European way? my neighbours use both systems (0 to 12 and 0 to 24) as they feel like it - there seem to be no rules but I will often use the 24 hour system to clarify.

As for Oh dark thirty I have seen this in stories but always wondered - it has to be an American thing and presumably dependent on sunrise or sunset

Replies:   Capt Zapp  Switch Blayde
Ernest Bywater

@tppm

As to time, what I hate, and hear all the time, is 4:30 AM in the morning.


How I use time will depend on the story and the way the characters use time - those with a military bent use the military numeric system of 04:30 hours for in the morning and 16:30 hours for the matching afternoon 12 hour time. If I use the letter designated with numeric time I use the lowercase version of 4:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. because the capitals look out of place and draw the reader's eye away from the main story (in my view). In dialogue it's always written out and I'll sometimes do that in the narrative as well, like it was two in the afternoon or it was two o'clock in the morning. However, I prefer to give time passing references like - they entered the building twenty minutes after leaving the college.

In the past I tried the A.M. and found I didn't like the way it looked, and the same for 4.30 - so now I always use the colon between the numbers and lowercase with the dots for the abbreviations. In both cases it's a matter of personal preference on the visual style.

Capt Zapp

@sejintenej

As for Oh dark thirty I have seen this in stories but always wondered - it has to be an American thing and presumably dependent on sunrise or sunset


Oh dark thirty is generally used when referring to a time when it is dark out and you would rather be asleep, not a specific time of night.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Capt Zapp

Oh dark thirty


I was taught that term was a generic one for anywhere between 11:00 p.m. and about 3:00 a.m.

Switch Blayde

@sejintenej

As for Oh dark thirty I have seen this in stories but always wondered - it has to be an American thing and presumably dependent on sunrise or sunset


I think I saw that expression on the raid that killed bin Laden. I believe it meant 30 minutes after midnight.

richardshagrin

For your viewing pleasure, lets discuss what 12 am and 12 pm mean. AM is ante meridiae Latin for before noon. PM is post meridiae Latin for after noon. In either case 12 hours before or after noon is midnight. If you need an M for noon, it is 12m, m for meridiae. My spell check suggests I am not spelling meridiae correctly. Its been a long time since I took Latin, its possible (likely) I am wrong. Mer id e a is how I think it is pronounced, if I am thinking of the right word. It means noon, of course. There is no way, even with daylight savings time adjustments, that noon can be twelve hours in either direction from noon. Post or ante. Please don't put am or pm after 12 if you mean noon.

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej

@richardshagrin

Please don't put am or pm after 12 if you mean noon

or midnight.

When I was involved with the UK armed forces the rule was that 2400 hours does not exist - it is always 2359 hours.

In civilian life I would always say 12 noon or 12 midnight or, better, simply leave the numbers out.

tppm
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

half past eleven

@sejintenej


As for Oh dark thirty I have seen this in stories but always wondered - it has to be an American thing and presumably dependent on sunrise or sunset


My understanding is Oh (or zero) dark thirty refers to some unspecified time after the sun sets.

Kinda like one I've heard from my father that pre-electric light farmers used for their work day, "from can't see to can't see."


When I was involved with the UK armed forces the rule was that 2400 hours does not exist - it is always 2359 hours.


My understanding is that on U.S. 24 hour clocks, midnight is 0000 hours

sejintenej

@tppm

When I was involved with the UK armed forces the rule was that 2400 hours does not exist - it is always 2359 hours.

My understanding is that on U.S. 24 hour clocks, midnight is 0000 hours


Yes, it would be but for the date on the reports on which date does 2400 hours fall? 2359 was understood to be midnight but it clarified the date

Ernest Bywater

@tppm

Technically yes, but every military organisation I've been in contact with never officially accepted or used 00:00 - everything was either 23:59 or 00:01 because it removed any confusion about the day or time.

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