Re: Re: writing numbers???

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spring4321 – 2008-05-30 4:47 PM

Thanks Peg, I’ll add CMS to my reference library. How can there be such variation in answers? If they can’t decide on one way to write out numbers, no wonder I can’t figure out commas.

ok, so . . . sixty MPH, a thousand miles, forty-five hundred miles, four hundred ninety-nine. Is that correct?

Hi, Mary. Yes, I believe that’s correct.

The CMS is a good resource, and I have a copy myself. However, I believe CMS is geared more towards non-fiction than fiction–just something to keep in mind. Also, as my co-author and I recently discovered, it’s not infallible: for example, it makes no distinction between beginning a sentence with a prepositional phrase and beginning one with an adverbial clause (the distinction is not irrelevant, as it’s more imperative to set off the latter with a comma than it is the former, especially if the former is very short).

Mary, the reason there is such variation in answers is that all these “rules” are merely opinions based upon usage, and both usage and opinions change. Right now I’m reading “Oliver Twist,” and although it’s a terrific read (and so much darker than the musical, by the way), Dickens’s punctuation borders on the bizarre: there are semicolons, colons, and commas all over the place, and often in places where, by today’s standards, they absolutely should not be.