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Writing large numbers

English translation: write out million and billion but not thousand or lesser

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
English term or phrase:Writing large numbers
English translation:write out million and billion but not thousand or lesser
Entered by: Stephanie Ezrol
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11:10 May 23, 2010
English to English translations [PRO]
Bus/Financial - Finance (general) / Large numbers
English term or phrase: Writing large numbers
This question specifically relates to writing large numbers in financial statements such as annual reports.

Is it OK to mix numbers and words? For example:

With an initial annual production capacity of 20 thousand vehicles...

Toyota’s annual report for 2008 contains that exact sentence.
To me, it just looks wrong and should be

With an initial annual production capacity of 20,000 vehicles...

It is a confusing issue because 20 billion or 20 million looks OK, but not 20 thousand.
And when you have numbers like 1,200 thousand that looks really not right to me.

Is there any style guide that covers this? I couldn’t find anything in Chicago Manual of Style.
jojikiba
Local time: 13:06
write out million and billion but not thousand or lesser
Explanation:
Many style guides suggest spelling out million and billion. I prefer that approach.

"Numbers◦
In nearly all manuscripts, write out numbers from one to one hundred, then start using numerals: 101, 347. Write out large round numbers that occur in isolation and can be expressed in two unhyphenated words: four hundred, sixty thousand, twenty million.◦Spell out the word percent and express percentages in this way: 3.4 percent, 11 percent, 50 percent, 100 percent, 50–85 percent.◦Smaller numbers in the company of larger ones are expressed in a complementary way: The percentages were 5, 20 and 121. The two jobs call for seventeen and six hundred workers, respectively.◦Express large dollar amounts in this way: $46,000, $50 million, $3.1 billion.◦In manuscripts with lots of numbers — books on statistics, for example — you will want to use numerals after one or ten and you will also want to use the percentage sign (%)."

http://www.fernwoodpublishing.ca/page/Style-Guide


Express thousands of dollars this way, using a comma:
✎ $5,000
17
Express millions and billions of dollars this way:
✎ $3 million; $1.2 billion
In technical reports and papers, use a dollar sign to express costs under $1.00:

AND

For numbers of 1 million or more, use the numeral (and a decimal, if necessary) and the words
million, billion, and so on:
✎ 1.1 million households
3.5 billion people
$2.5 million in funding

http://www.nrel.gov/docs/gen/fy01/24935.pdf


Millions and Billions Use figures with million or billion, except in casual uses. Spell out the word million. The contract is worth $7 billion. We hope to save our clients tens of millions of dollars.

AND from CSC, see page 24
http://assets1.csc.com/styleguide/downloads/Corporate_Editor...
Selected response from:

Stephanie Ezrol
United States
Local time: 00:06
Grading comment
For my particular case, this was the most helpful answer but thank you to everyone!
3 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +120 thousand is fine!
David Knowles
5rule of thumb
Gary D
4write out million and billion but not thousand or lesser
Stephanie Ezrol


Discussion entries: 2





  

Answers


16 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
writing large numbers
20 thousand is fine!


Explanation:
The general rule that I follow is to write numbers of ten or less as words. 20,000 or 20 thousand or twenty thousand are all acceptable.

For financial statements, it helps to be consistent, so 20,000 may be preferable if other numbers in the thousands are mentioned.

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Note added at 21 mins (2010-05-23 11:32:07 GMT)
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Try the Guardian style guide: http://image.guardian.co.uk/sys-files/Guardian/documents/200...

numbers

Spell out from one to nine; integers from 10 to 999,999; thereafter use m or bn for sums of money, quantities or inanimate objects in copy, eg £10m, 5bn tonnes of coal, 30m doses of vaccine; but million or billion for people or animals, eg 1 million people, 3 billion rabbits, etc; in headlines use m or bn

numeracy

Numbers have always contained power, and many a journalist will tremble at the very sight of them. But most often the only maths we need to make sense of them is simple arithmetic. Far more important are our critical faculties, all too often switched off at the first sniff of a figure.

(The numeracy section is very good!)

David Knowles
Local time: 05:06
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 20

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Joyce A
59 mins
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
writing large numbers
write out million and billion but not thousand or lesser


Explanation:
Many style guides suggest spelling out million and billion. I prefer that approach.

"Numbers◦
In nearly all manuscripts, write out numbers from one to one hundred, then start using numerals: 101, 347. Write out large round numbers that occur in isolation and can be expressed in two unhyphenated words: four hundred, sixty thousand, twenty million.◦Spell out the word percent and express percentages in this way: 3.4 percent, 11 percent, 50 percent, 100 percent, 50–85 percent.◦Smaller numbers in the company of larger ones are expressed in a complementary way: The percentages were 5, 20 and 121. The two jobs call for seventeen and six hundred workers, respectively.◦Express large dollar amounts in this way: $46,000, $50 million, $3.1 billion.◦In manuscripts with lots of numbers — books on statistics, for example — you will want to use numerals after one or ten and you will also want to use the percentage sign (%)."

http://www.fernwoodpublishing.ca/page/Style-Guide


Express thousands of dollars this way, using a comma:
✎ $5,000
17
Express millions and billions of dollars this way:
✎ $3 million; $1.2 billion
In technical reports and papers, use a dollar sign to express costs under $1.00:

AND

For numbers of 1 million or more, use the numeral (and a decimal, if necessary) and the words
million, billion, and so on:
✎ 1.1 million households
3.5 billion people
$2.5 million in funding

http://www.nrel.gov/docs/gen/fy01/24935.pdf


Millions and Billions Use figures with million or billion, except in casual uses. Spell out the word million. The contract is worth $7 billion. We hope to save our clients tens of millions of dollars.

AND from CSC, see page 24
http://assets1.csc.com/styleguide/downloads/Corporate_Editor...

Stephanie Ezrol
United States
Local time: 00:06
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 51
Grading comment
For my particular case, this was the most helpful answer but thank you to everyone!
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

16 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
writing large numbers
rule of thumb


Explanation:
In financial statements you write it as "twenty thousand (20,000)"
or - there were ten thousand (10,000) cars produced during the month of December.

You always use the words and then in brackets after the number.

With a financial statement it is generally not a round number such as 20,000. so it is more likely going to be.

During the month of December twenty thousand four hundred and five (20,405) cars were produced.

The reasion for this is clarity of the production figures and for the tracking of rises and falls in production. Financial statements are deciphered to the last point and are read word for word, as people looking to invest look for signs of fluctuations, so every number has to be made absolutely clear.

If it is a article, (newspaper, magazine) then writing 20 thousand is ok
Tojo reported that it produced 20 thousand cars during December.
you don't use the full number as it can end up with a decimal point or comma in the wrong place.

In an article, it is generally a rounded up or down number so there does not have to be such exactness in the report. These reports get read quickly and are used as general information, so they don't need the clarity of the number as a financial statement requires.


---------------------------------------------------------------

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Note added at 20 hrs (2010-05-24 07:13:00 GMT)
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It is the way I do all my financial statements and as most financial statements are confidential it will be hard for you to locate one to reference to, especially a professional one.

When you write an abstract of a report, you use a short form, and a long more defined format as shown above, in the report.
You have to make up your own mind as to what you use, but we do it this way so that there is no misunderstanding of the volume or for the $ value being mentioned.
An example of using the short form mistake was when a share trader put in a sale of 1,000,000,000.00 shares instead of 1,000,000.00 and caused billions of share sell offs and a mini collapse on the US stock market.
The format you use must absolutely not be misunderstood by the reader, when it is an important report like a financial report.
A financial report is a legal document, like a contract and needs to be treated as such.

It is a rule of thumb and common sense is required..

We do ours this way because we work under ISO 9002 Quality assurance, and have it as one of our steps for quality. "Clarity and ease of understanding of all printed documents and reports."
I have a manufacturing business...


Gary D
Local time: 14:06
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 24
Notes to answerer
Asker: >>>In financial statements you write it as "twenty thousand (20,000)" Isn't that the practice used for contracts? I must admit I haven't seen any annual reports that express figures in that way. Could you provide any examples of annual reports that do?

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Changes made by editors
May 24, 2010 - Changes made by Stephanie Ezrol:
Created KOG entryKudoZ term » KOG term


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