comma with number greater than 999: always used?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Thomas1, Sep 13, 2006.

  1. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    Hello, :)

    I would like to learn if it's a common practice to put a coma in numbers like, for instance:

    I'm not sure about the last three; I inserted commas by the rule of thumb, I'd appreciate some rationale as to when you use them. :)

  2. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    You don't have to, it just makes them easier to read.
    If I saw

    1000000 ... I'd have to count the 0's.. but if I saw
    1,000,000 - I'd instantly know it was 1million (two sets of three 0's)
  3. cyberpedant

    cyberpedant Senior Member

    North Adams, MA
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    In AE we always put commas after a third 0. Your 1000,000 should be 1,000,000. But when numbers get really big (i.e., more than twelve or so 0s) we use scientific notation.
  4. Thomas1

    Thomas1 Senior Member

    polszczyzna warszawska
    Thank you. :)

    Follow-up questions:
    Do you insert commas into numbers consisted of various numerals (e.g. 123,987,367)?
    Do you do the same with decimal fractions (I know you put a decimal point after 0)?
  5. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    The answer to your question is, yes it is common practice. Yes it is after the third 0 you insert a comma.
    To your other questions, yes.. if it's any number we also do it.

    I have 34,567,674 hairs on my head.. etc etc.

    We don't do it with decimal fractions, no.
  6. GenJen54

    GenJen54 Senior Member

    Downright Pleasant, USA
    USA - English
    But only 34.567674% of them are gray! :D

    In other words, when the number is not a decimal expression, we use commas as has already been suggested. When it is a decimal expression, no matter how far out the decimal is carried, we only use a single decimal point.

    Of course, carrying out a number this far rarely occurs in everyday use, unless one is in a scientific or mathematic field, and then integers are commonly used.
  7. Hakro

    Hakro Senior Member

    Helsinki, Finland
    Finnish - Finland
    Note that in many European countries the commas and points are used contrariwise: points between every three figures and a decimal comma. (This will probably change sooner or later because of the computers that use the anglo-saxon system.)
  8. mgarizona

    mgarizona Senior Member

    Phoenix, AZ
    US - American English
    I guess the basic answer Thomas is that we insert a comma in any number above 999, then every three places thereafter. Consider it this way: the first comma seperates the hundred from the thousands; the second, the thousands from the millions, etc.

    1,001 etc

    1,000,001 etc
  9. Alxmrphi Senior Member

    Reykjavík, Ísland
    UK English
    Hakro raised a very good point I forgot... it swaps in European countries, they use decimals instead of commas.
  10. Presto627 New Member

    New York
    English- USA
    Yuck. I hate scientific notation. I would rather just read 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 .. haha
  11. Giordano Bruno

    Giordano Bruno Senior Member

    English, England
    I believe that the international standard for decimalized measurements does not require a space or comma up to 9999. I don't know the reason for this, except perhaps to avoid having to put a comma in dates.

    Since the US is stubbornly holding out against decimalization, I would guess that none of this applies over there.
  12. volky

    volky Senior Member

    Puerto Rico, USA
    The use of commas or decimals is also swapped in latin american countries.

    A colombian would say 1.000.000,00 while in USA you say 1,000,000.00.

    Interesting ;)
  13. illuminaut Senior Member

    San Francisco
    Isn't the comma at the end used only for prices? Or would you also write 1.000.000,5 ?
  14. volky

    volky Senior Member

    Puerto Rico, USA
    I'm not quite sure. What I have experienced is that everytime I get in contact with somebody from Venezuela, Colombia, Uruguay....etc, they send me their numbers like that. (working with money basically).

    Under other conditions I imagine they do the same, ex. if they are counting large volumes of merchandise, etc.

    It would be nice if someone from Latin America can bring some light into how they use this.

    I promisse I will contact my Uruguay resources and let you all know.
  15. flamenquita

    flamenquita Senior Member

    Czech Republic, Czech
    ...and what if there is a range, like 1-2 thousand, do I still have to use the coma? Like: "each month I spend 1-2,000 euro on XXX" Many thanks for your reply!
  16. Brioche

    Brioche Senior Member

    Australia English
    Most definitely.
  17. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    You don't have to use the comma. The comma separator is entirely optional, a matter of personal choice, unless you are working to a style guide that says otherwise.
    It is, however, normal to use it.

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