English Grammar Review
Special Topics


Let's discuss writing about money: $   £   €   ¥   ₹   ₽   ₤   ₣   元

To keep things clear and simple, we will talk about money only in terms of dollars.

Rule 1a: Use digits to express exact amounts of money.

On her trip across Norway, Mette bought $250 worth of supplies and only had a $20 bill when she arrived.

Rule 1b: Use digits to express approximate amounts of money.

Johannes earns more than $50,000 a year but typically gives more than $3,000 to charities.

Rule 1c: Use words to express indefinite amounts of money.

The inventory in Oslo is worth a few million dollars; in Bergen it's worth many thousands of dollars.

Rule 1d: Use words to make a casual reference to money.

Ms. Heggland got two hundred dollars from the ATM. Mr. Karlsvik found a twenty-dollar bill in his desk.

Rule 2a: When a whole dollar amount is mentioned in a sentence, it is not necessary to add a decimal point or zeros.

Sigrid gathered $85.00 and submitted it.
[not necessary]

Sigrid gathered $85 and submitted it.

Rule 2b: When a whole number is in a column with other numbers that do have decimals, it's usually best to add a decimal and two zeros. A uniform appearance is desireable when dollar amounts are lined up vertically.

Henrik recorded the $435 and tallied the expenses:


Rule 3a: To describe money that is a "round amount" and over a million dollars, it's okay to express the amount partly in words.

Mr. Undset budgeted for $8 million, but we only spent $6.5 million.

Rule 3b: When you need to express an amount that is not a round amount and that should show more precision than a single decimal, you should use all digits to specify the amount.

Mr. Undset budgeted for $8 million, but we spent $6,525,000.

Rule 4a: For clarity, be consistent. Related amounts should be presented the same way.

We will spend $700,000 to $1 million on the project.
[not consistent]

We will spend $700,000 to $1,000,000 on the project.

Rule 4b: For clarity, be consistent. Fully specify each end of a range of amounts.

The Bergen distribution center will cost $10 to $20 million.
[not consistent]

The Bergen distribution center will cost $10 million to $20 million.

Lesson: Money
Module: Special Topics
Course: English Grammar Review