Writing Commas in Numbers
Date: 07/11/2003 at 15:17:35 From: Megan Subject: France's Math System Is it true that in France where we in America use decimals in math, they use commas, and where we use commas they use decimals? An example would be we would write 3,998.60 and they would instead write 3.998,60.
Date: 07/11/2003 at 17:09:38 From: Doctor Peterson Subject: Re: France's Math System Hi, Megan. Yes, this is true of much of the non-English-speaking world. I have long wanted to find a good reference that would show me where each convention is used; one that you might find interesting is the Regional and Languages Options box in Windows XP (other versions of Windows may do it differently), where you can select from a long list of countries and see the default choices they give for writing numbers, currency, times, and dates. I don't know whether I always trust Microsoft to know the correct way to use any language, but the variety of options is fascinating! Try picking any European or South American country. Here are some references I have found that tell a little more about it: Commas in Numbers - Grammar Slammer, English Plus http://englishplus.com/grammar/00000087.htm Many European countries use a comma in place of the decimal point and use periods or blank spaces to separate every third digit. United States: 2,367.48 francs France: 2.367,48 francs or 2 367,48 francs Cross Cultural Comparisons: Numbers http://www.geocities.com/Broadway/1906/cultr14.html France: The decimal point is a comma, as in all of Europe. Certainly not a dot, except on computers. How Many: Using Numbers and Units - Russ Rowlett http://www.unc.edu/~rowlett/units/numbers.html In English-speaking countries, the decimal point (decimal marker) is the period. In continental Europe and most other places, the decimal marker is the comma. ... Since the comma often means a decimal point, the International System (SI) requires that large numbers, like the billions above, be represented as groups of three digits separated by narrow spaces, not by commas. Country-Specific Data Formats http://w3.pppl.gov/misc/motif/MotifStyleGuide/en_US/Country- Specific_Data_Formats.html Thousands Separators The comma, period, space, and apostrophe are examples of valid separators for units of thousands as shown in the following examples: 1 234 567 1.234.567 1'234'567 1,234,567 Decimal Separators The period, comma, and the center dot are examples of valid separators for decimal fractions as shown in the following examples: 5,324 5.324 5 324 [the dot is invisible here] Incidentally, in some countries (such as in India) digits are not even grouped in threes as we do, because they have different traditional names in their languages from our "thousand" and "million." They call 1,00,000 a lakh and 1,00,00,000 a crore. So the way we write numbers is not at all standard around the world. If you have any further questions, feel free to write back. - Doctor Peterson, The Math Forum http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
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