Business Writing Tip #53—Numbers, Dates and Currencies

Numbers

Usually we use words to write the numbers one to nine, and then use digits for the numbers 10 and above. We also use words when the number starts a sentence or comes after a bullet point.

  • Four hundred people have registered for the conference.
  • Five thousand Euros

In English, commas divide large numbers into groups. Decimal points are used for fractions.

  • 1,500 (one thousand, five hundred)
  • 1.5 (one point five, one and a half)

Dates

There are many ways to write dates in English. Spell out the date in full to remove any confusion. Use one of the following accepted formats:

  • 10 April 2013
  • April 10, 2013

Or, if you want to also include the day:

  • Wednesday, 10 April 2013
  • Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Important note:

Remember, if you decide to use the format dd/mm/yy or dd/mm/yyyy for dates your reader could be confused about which date you are referring to. In US English the format is mm/dd/yy or mm/dd/yyyy. Spell out the date more fully to avoid confusion. It would be inconvenient to have a visitor arrive on 7 June when you’re expecting them to arrive on 6 July.

Currency

Place the currency symbol before the number in English.currency

  • CZK 14,000
  • GBP 3,695.45
  • USD 230

Important note:

If you use the dollar sign ‘$’ make sure you specify which country’s currency you are referring to. Australia, New Zealand and Canada all use dollars, as do a number of other countries.

 

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