# 17.12=seventeen point twelve or seventeen point one two?

#### Simin93

##### Senior Member
Hi there

How can I read my GPA(grade point average)? When I graduated from MIT university, my GPA was 17.12.

Now, I should say seventeen point twelve or seventeen point one two?

Many Thanks

• #### boozer

##### Senior Member
Seventeen point twelve is normal
Seventeen point one two is also normal and clear.

#### Uncle Jack

##### Senior Member
I don't know about "usual" (this is not a context I am familiar with), but since this is clearly an ordinary decimal number, "Seventeen point twelve" is wrong.
"Seventeen point one two" is the only correct way to say this as a decimal number.

If it were something else, such as a section in a document, "seventeen point twelve" or "seventeen twelve" might be fine.

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#### DonnyB

##### Sixties Mod
I agree with Uncle Jack.

We don't have GPAs in the UK as far as I know, so I suspect most BE speakers would interpret it as a "normal" decimal number and say it as seventeen point one two.

#### boozer

##### Senior Member
How does interpreting it as a normal decimal number make any difference? I interpret it that way, too and I could still think of it as
seventeen point one two or
seventeen point twelve (hundredths)

Maybe I have studied mathematics in a different way, but for me saying twelve is the short of twelve hundredths and I can't see why it should be wrong.

#### Loob

##### Senior Member
I know I'm disagreeing with boozer [], but seventeen point twelve is wrong in my book, too: I always read the numbers after the decimal point one by one.

#### boozer

##### Senior Member
Well, mathematics is the one subject we did not study in English, so... I am probably transferring my mathematical logic into English and there is some discrepancy... I can live with that.*

EDIT: * and it is also good to know. Thanks.

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#### Simin93

##### Senior Member
Thank you, all.

#### Egmont

##### Senior Member
... When I graduated from MIT university, my GPA was 17.12. ...
I am a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

1. It is never, ever referred to as "MIT university."

2. Its grading scale does not make a GPA of 17.12 possible.

If you used MIT as a random example, fine. The name of the school and its exact grading scale are not relevant to the question in this thread. However, if you plan to try to pass yourself off as an MIT graduate, you must do a lot more homework before you have any hope of being successful. (I will not post the most important question that is used to detect a false claim of this type.)

#### boozer

##### Senior Member
We were explicitly taught at school to read out decimal points digit by digit.
Yes, that makes perfect sense in my book as well: after 3 or 4 digits the fraction becomes rather unwieldy so you cannot really say
seventeen point one hundred fifty six thousand three hundred eighteen (millionths)

#### Uncle Jack

##### Senior Member
Yes, that makes perfect sense in my book as well: after 3 or 4 digits the fraction becomes rather unwieldy so you cannot really say
seventeen point one hundred fifty six thousand three hundred eighteen (millionths)
What if it is only twelve millionths (17.000012)? If the denominator isn't unambiguously hundredths then "point twelve" can always lead to multiple answers.

Of course, there are all sorts of circumstances where we do say "twelve" with a decimal value of 17.12, but not using the word "point". If I happened to overhear someone say "seventeen twelve" then, in absence of any other context, I would (rather riskily, I admit) assume it to be £17.12. Twelve, of course, refers to twelve pence, not point twelve of a pound, but we don't usually write £17.12p, not now (though it was common in the early 1970s when the currency system was new, and the old currency often did require the smaller unit to be identified, depending on what the value was and what notation was used).

#### boozer

##### Senior Member
What if it is only twelve millionths (17.000012)? If the denominator isn't unambiguously hundredths then "point twelve" can always lead to multiple answers..
In what way? What do you mean by 'different answers'? You mean 12 hundredths as opposed to 120 thousandths, etc.?

#### Uncle Jack

##### Senior Member
In what way? What do you mean by 'different answers'? You mean 12 hundredths as opposed to 120 thousandths, etc.?
If you would be willing to say "seventeen point one hundred fifty six thousand three hundred eighteen" for 17.156318 (your only objection appeared to be that it was unwieldy), then logically you should also be willing to say "seventeen point twelve" for 17.000012, with the number after the "point" being in millionths for each. There might be justification for this way of saying numbers if you always used millionths, in which case 17.12 would be "seventeen point one hundred and twenty thousand". However, if you are willing to swap denominators, so the number after the point could be in hundredths, thousandths, millionths or whatever, then 17.12, 17.012, 17.0012 and so on would all be spoken as "seventeen point twelve".

#### boozer

##### Senior Member
If you would be willing to say "seventeen point one hundred fifty six thousand three hundred eighteen" for 17.156318 (your only objection appeared to be that it was unwieldy), then logically you should also be willing to say "seventeen point twelve" for 17.000012
Oh, never. One has to count zeros and digits after the decimal point and work it out before saying it, otherwise it becomes wrong, mathematically. This is why I said the number gets unwieldy if you add too many digits. That is certainly not the case with only 2 digits after the decimal point and working with hundredths, as in the original example.

Yes, my example was extreme and unwieldy, but quite correct mathematically. Indeed, it is something I myself would never choose to say over seventeen point one five six three one eight

#### dojibear

##### Senior Member
I am a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

1. It is never, ever referred to as "MIT university."

2. Its grading scale does not make a GPA of 17.12 possible.
I graduated there too: Course XVI, Class of '69.

1. The word "Institute" has a meaning similar to "University". Since one word is in the school's name, the other word is not. Many colleges and universities do not have the word "University" or "College" in the name.

2. GPAs are always a percentage, not a number. There is always a maximum number. If MIT's maximum number was 20, you could have a GPA of 17.12 (out of 20). But it is not. Most colleges have a max of 4.0 ("four point oh"). You can look up MIT's maximum GPA number online.

#### Edinburgher

##### Senior Member
GPAs are always a percentage ... Most colleges have a max of 4.0
Surely if it's always a percentage, the maximum should always be 100.

#### dojibear

##### Senior Member
Surely if it's always a percentage, the maximum should always be 100.
I should say "fraction" or "average", not "percentage" since "percent" means "out of 100".

In fact GPA stands for "Grade Point Average". For example (at some colleges) A is the highest score for a semester course. So you get points for every course: A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, failed = 0. After 4 years, the average of all those numbers is your GPA.

< Removed friendly response to deleted post. Cagey, moderator >

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#### Cagey

##### post mod (English Only / Latin)
Moderator's reminder:

The topic of this thread is how to read numbers to the right of a decimal point.

For a discussion of 'grade point average', see: Grade Point Average (BrE equivalent)

#### sb70012

##### Senior Member
It is the rule rather than the exception in AE to say "twelve" not "one two" for 17.12. In BE the twelve version is (almost) unheard of.
Do you mean it's OK to read it as "seventeen point twelve" in the US? Is it formal or informal to read it like this?

Thank you.

#### JulianStuart

##### Senior Member
Do you mean it's OK to read it as "seventeen point twelve" in the US? Is it formal or informal to read it like this?

Thank you.
I hear it in both settings and I said above the twelve is more common. As I said, both are used in AE. In the science world I lived in, it is less common than point one two

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