Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Zero is nothing--A numbers Rule writing tip

Long lines of zeros are confusing to the eye. Stylebooks vary on usage of numbers. Strunk & White says "Spell numbers out to 99," but AP/UPI NEWS style says "Spell numbers out to nine." We follow the CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE, with a few changes to accommodate some of the computer programs among our distributors.

CHICAGO says to spell out numbers to 99 and use the numerical thereafter. Measurements should always be given as numericals, especially measurements of time, distance, and money. And long lines of zeros should be avoided to escape that Eye confusion mentioned above.

Therefore it shouldn't be $5,000,000.00 But $5 million dollars--and yes the "dollars" is usually included just for clarity's sake.

It should be five o'clock in the afternoon, unless a digital clock is used, and then it's 5 p.m. not 5:00 PM. Zeros again.

CHICAGO does say to use caps for the AM and PM abbreviations, but caps have a way of disappearing from text for at least one of our distributors, so we go with AP News style there and use a.m. and p.m.

Well, back to work for me on Elena Bowman's GENESIS. Thanks again, Elena, for having sharp eyes!

Hope y'all have a good day.

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