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abbreviations for thousand, million, etc.

English translation: kbnmln...

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15:23 Oct 16, 2002
English to English translations [PRO]
English term or phrase: abbreviations for thousand, million, etc.
i've always thought that it wasn't right to write "mln." for "million" or "th." for "thousand", but could never explain why. could somebody please tell me what is the rule here: is it at all acceptable to abbreviate numbers? (e.g. "K" for "thousand")?...
zmejka
Local time: 22:24
English translation:kbnmln...
Explanation:
K is certainly okay as a standard abbreviation for 1000, but I would say it depends on the context. In financial texts (but not in contracts or formal legal documents etc), and in computer related areas it is a common used abbreviation. Rule of thumb - it's okay when talking about money US$10K, or bytes, but not about everyday things or people.
Then you have standard idioms such as Y2K...


As for million and billion, perhaps mln and bln are more used in the US, I'm not sure (I've noticed that these are the abbreviations often used by Russian translators), but for UK use, mn and bn are much more common. Again I would say that would most really be used in financial contexts.




Zmeika, I found this site a while back and stored it for future reference, it might be of use. Doesn't talk specifically about hundreds and thousands, but has lots of other standard abbreviations for units of all sorts that are used in science (but some will also be relevant to, for example, business etc).

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Note added at 2002-10-16 15:43:07 (GMT)
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I\'d also say that, if you can get hold of a copy, the Economist produces (or at least they used to) a guide to English journalistic style and usage. They would certainly give a more authoratitive explanation than I can.
Selected response from:

Dan Brennan
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:24
Grading comment
Dan, you saved me once again. :))) Thank you! And thank you all for your kind help and comments!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
5below
María Alejandra Funes
5K and M or Mn
Karina Pelech
4 +1kbnmln...
Dan Brennan
4try just numbers
literary
3 +1m, M, k, K
jerrie
4I prefer to write them out
jccantrell


Discussion entries: 1





  

Answers


7 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
K and M or Mn


Explanation:
K = kilo
M = mega
...
although it can get confusing. I prefer to use k and Mn and Bn for billion (Am. billion: 1,000,000,000)

Good luck ... :o)

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Note added at 2002-10-16 15:43:20 (GMT)
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http://www.ces.clemson.edu/ge/staff/park/Class/ENGR120/Hando...

http://www.access.gpo.gov/styleman/2000/chapter_txt-9.html

http://web.otenet.gr/sailor/abbr2.htm


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Note added at 2002-10-16 15:47:43 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

You could also clarify things by putting them in base 10 or base 2

e.g. 10 (to the power X) in base X

Generally numbers go by the rule of Roman prefixes:
Power / Name / Abbr
24 Yotta- Y
21 Zetta- Z
18 Exa- E
15 Peta- P
12 Tera- T
9 Giga- G
6 Mega- M
3 Kilo- K
2 Hecto- H
1 Deca- D
-1 deci- d
-2 centi- c
-3 milli- m
-6 micro- µ
-9 nano- n
-12 pico- p
-15 femto- f
-18 atto- a
-21 zepto- z
-24 yocto- y



    Reference: http://www.raycomm.com/techwhirl/archives/9412/techwhirl-941...
    Reference: http://mathforum.org/library/drmath/view/60697.html
Karina Pelech
Argentina
Local time: 15:24
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
PRO pts in pair: 31

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  #41698 (LSF): kilometers is km, etc. kilo uses small 'k'
1 hr
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15 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
I prefer to write them out


Explanation:
Is K for thousand? k is for kilogram. Is K for 1024 in a computer sense, or is it degrees Kelvin of temperature?

M is mega, is that one million in a computer sense? Or is it just one million?

I would recommend that you buy a style guide, such as the Chicago Manual of Style (if in the USA==see the link) or whatever is most common in your area. These standard references seem to cover most questions like this.


    Reference: http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/cmosfaq/
jccantrell
United States
Local time: 11:24
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 836

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  Michał Kisielewski: for kilogram is kg (k for 1000, g for grams), same of bytes (kB). In science K is unit of temperature kelvin
3252 days
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17 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
kbnmln...


Explanation:
K is certainly okay as a standard abbreviation for 1000, but I would say it depends on the context. In financial texts (but not in contracts or formal legal documents etc), and in computer related areas it is a common used abbreviation. Rule of thumb - it's okay when talking about money US$10K, or bytes, but not about everyday things or people.
Then you have standard idioms such as Y2K...


As for million and billion, perhaps mln and bln are more used in the US, I'm not sure (I've noticed that these are the abbreviations often used by Russian translators), but for UK use, mn and bn are much more common. Again I would say that would most really be used in financial contexts.




Zmeika, I found this site a while back and stored it for future reference, it might be of use. Doesn't talk specifically about hundreds and thousands, but has lots of other standard abbreviations for units of all sorts that are used in science (but some will also be relevant to, for example, business etc).

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2002-10-16 15:43:07 (GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

I\'d also say that, if you can get hold of a copy, the Economist produces (or at least they used to) a guide to English journalistic style and usage. They would certainly give a more authoratitive explanation than I can.


    Reference: http://abacus.bates.edu/~ganderso/biology/resources/writing/...
Dan Brennan
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:24
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 137
Grading comment
Dan, you saved me once again. :))) Thank you! And thank you all for your kind help and comments!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Clair@Lexeme
1 hr
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22 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
below


Explanation:
In BrEn,

thou. = thousand
mill. = million
k = kilo





    The Oxford Dictionary of Abbreviations
María Alejandra Funes
Local time: 15:24
Native speaker of: Native in SpanishSpanish
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6 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
m, M, k, K


Explanation:
m = million
M = Mega (as in Mbyte)
K = thousand (following number 5K
k = kilo

We have had several letters along similar lines. The overall response is supported by members of The Computer Bulletin advisory panel, who were not consulted before the publication of Michael Bangham's letter and the footnote. This has brought a decision to use the standard of a lower case k for kilo and capital M, G, T and so on for mega, giga, tera and so on, when these are used in truncated form, such as Mbyte, Gbyte. Lower case letters are used when the words are spelt out in full (megabyte and so on). A lower case m will be used as shorthand for a million, as in £10m. All these abbreviations are confirmed by the Oxford Dictionary for Scientific Writers and Editors.

From link below.

hth





    Reference: http://www.bcs.org.uk/publicat/ebull/jan2000/let.htm
jerrie
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:24
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in pair: 773

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Piotr Kurek
17 mins
  -> Thanks
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2684 days   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
try just numbers


Explanation:
With above 100.000 residents, Fargo is not only the largest city but also one of the most important transportation hubs and commercial centers of the state ...
www.apartmentsandrenters.com/rental/state_ND_city_Fargo.htm...


literary
Local time: 20:24
Native speaker of: Native in PolishPolish
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