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The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation

Category: Numbers

What Kind of Rule Is Usually?

Posted on Tuesday, May 19, 2015, at 2:38 pm

A thought-provoking inquiry showed up recently in our inbox: I can’t decide which verb is correct in sentences like the following. Would I write There are three kilograms of flour in the kitchen or There is three kilograms of flour in the kitchen? Two meters of fabric is here or Two meters of fabric are …

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Revised and Expanded Blue Book Coming Next Month

Posted on Tuesday, January 14, 2014, at 2:23 pm

The eleventh edition of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation is set for a February debut. It has been six years since the tenth edition was published. So when the publisher, Jossey-Bass, requested another go-round, the team at GrammarBook.com was elated. We trust that readers will find the new, extensively revised and expanded version …

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Christmas ’Log Review

Posted on Thursday, December 12, 2013, at 7:12 pm

Every year, for six weeks or so, I get a taste of what it’s like to be a superstar. From late October to early December, I am accosted daily by an aggressive mob of stalkers who know where I live. Their urgent need for my attention seems to be their only reason for being. No, …

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The Number vs. A Number

Posted on Thursday, December 9, 2010, at 9:01 am

The expression the number is followed by a singular verb while the expression a number is followed by a plural verb. Examples: The number of people we need to hire is thirteen. A number of people have written in about this subject. Pop Quiz Choose the correct word in each sentence. 1. The number of …

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Hyphens with Numbers

Posted on Tuesday, July 27, 2010, at 10:45 am

Should you write 13-feet or 13 feet? Here is the rule: when you're combining two or more words to form a compound adjective in front of a noun, put hyphens between these words. Examples: Lara handed me a 15-foot pole. An eighteen-inch monitor is too big for my desk. Emergency room nurses work 12-hour shifts. …

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Writing Numbers as Both Numerals and Words

Posted on Thursday, April 15, 2010, at 2:13 pm

Many readers have asked me why people write numbers this way: Example: We will need 220 (two hundred twenty) chairs. While it is often unnecessary to have both numerals and words for the same number, and can come off as pretentious, there are two reasons for using both: 1. You are more likely to make …

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Numbers as Adjectives

Posted on Thursday, March 5, 2009, at 4:07 pm

A subscriber recently wrote in with a question that's a good followup to last week's Tip of the Week, Writing Numbers: "When are hyphens used with numbers? Is it 13 feet or 13-feet; 12 hours or 12-hours?" Rule: Generally, hyphenate between two or more adjectives when they come before a noun and act as a …

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Writing Dates and Times

Posted on Sunday, August 24, 2008, at 11:24 pm

Please note: This original post has been updated and replaced by a new version of Writing Dates and Times. Rule: The following examples apply when using dates: The meeting is scheduled for June 30. The meeting is scheduled for the 30th of June. We have had tricks played on us on April 1. The 1st …

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Fractions, Decimals, and Money

Posted on Sunday, August 24, 2008, at 11:22 pm

Rule: Always spell out simple fractions and use hyphens with them. Example: One-half of the pies have been eaten. Rule: A mixed fraction can be expressed in figures unless it is the first word of a sentence. Example: We expect a 5 1/2 percent wage increase. Example: Five and one-half percent was the maximum allowable …

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Writing Numbers

Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007, at 4:33 am

Deciding whether to write numbers as numerals or as number words is a matter of style. The style for a literary publication may differ from the style for a journalistic publication. The key in all cases is to use a consistent style throughout your writing. Many publishers of literary works, such as literary journals and …

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