# How to read US\$ 23.711 billion

#### Oliviaclouds

##### Senior Member
I wonder how to read the figure <US\$23.711 billion>.

Should it be read as "twenty three point seven one one billion US dollors"?

And would it be read differently if it's not of money?

Any help is appreciated.

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• #### DonnyB

##### Sixties Mod
"twenty three point seven one one billion US dollors"

It's actually dollars, but otherwise that looks fine to me. And no, it doesn't normally make any difference if it refers to something other than money.

#### natkretep

##### Moderato con anima (English Only)
With those decimals, it doesn't seem to make that much sense to express it as billions. I would write it as US\$2,711 million (two thousand, seven hundred and eleven million US dollars) - assuming that a billion is a thousand million rather than a million million (old British usage).

But if you do use billions, then of course yours is the way to read it.

##### Senior Member
With those decimals, it doesn't seem to make that much sense to express it as billions. I would write it as US\$2,711 million (two thousand, seven hundred and eleven million US dollars) ...
As an AE speaker, I would find this extremely irritating. (Only your friends will tell you.)

#### RM1(SS)

##### Senior Member
With those decimals, it doesn't seem to make that much sense to express it as billions. I would write it as US\$2,711 million (two thousand, seven hundred and eleven million US dollars) - assuming that a billion is a thousand million rather than a million million (old British usage).
I think that most Americans, being unfamiliar with long-scale counting, would find this to be very odd.

#### Egmont

##### Senior Member
Given a choice between a unit that allows one to express this quantity as a number between 2 and 3, and a unit in which the quantity is expressed as a number between 2,000 and 3,000, I agree that most Americans would choose the larger unit that allows using the smaller number. I would have thought that people in other countries would also. Wouldn't you express the weight of a sack of potatoes as 2.7 kg, rather than 2,700 grams/grammes?

Added in edit: the original question was different; it involved the choice between a unit that allows for a two-digit number or one that requires a five-digit number. I think my position is even stronger on this: most people would always choose the unit that permits a two-digit quantity, even if that means one must add decimal fractions, for the simple reason that it is easier for humans to "feel" the size of a two-digit number. That is why people measure their weight in kilograms, not grams, even if they add a fraction of a kg. That is why the people who formulated the metric system created a new unit for every thousand original ones, all the way up: to avoid the need to deal with quantities over 999. And that is why more recent scientists continue to invent units such as light-years and parsecs, and computer technologists deal with gigabytes, terabytes and petabytes rather than large quantities of smaller units.

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#### srk

##### Senior Member
I'm reminded that I have a bottle of dietary supplements that lists a dose as 1000 mg. Isn't that a gram? I'll be glad to read answers to Egmont's question.

#### DonnyB

##### Sixties Mod
I would say that in BE it depends partly on how easy it is to say, and partly on what common pack sizes there are for various things. Two point seven kilos of potatos sounds fine, for example. But a fifteen hundred gram box of cereal sounds better to me than one point five kilos. And in answer to srk's qustion, medicines are sold or dispensed in doses of so many milligrams, so it would be a thousand milligrams. That is indeed a gram but no-one over here would say a one gram dose of dietary supplement.

#### Myridon

##### Senior Member
It also has to do with assumed standards of measurement. If it says 1000mg, it should be within .5 grams of 1000mg, i.e. 999.51 to 1000.49 grams. If it says 1 gram, it could be off by 0.5g, i.e. 0.51 g to 1.49 g. For a candy, that would be an acceptable amount of variation, but not for a drug or a vitamin.

#### srk

##### Senior Member
DonnyB said:
no-one over here would say a one gram dose of dietary supplement.
I find that people over here do talk about doses in grams, and that doses may be prescribed in grams, milligrams or micrograms. The bottle I was talking about contains fish-oil gel caps. A label saying that the gel caps contain 1 gram of fish oil each would be as useful to me as one saying 1000 mg. Maybe there are labeling laws requiring the use of milligram units.

#### Parla

##### Member Emeritus
I wonder how to read the figure <US\$23.711 billion>.
In the first place, we would use a comma, not a decimal point (\$23,711 billion). When we are talking about sums of this magnitude, I think most of us would ignore the last two digits and say "twenty-three point seven billion dollars" or, since the average person doesn't know what "point" means, we'd probably say "twenty-three billion, seven hundred million dollars".