Write for Business - Blog

UpWrite Press understands the importance of writing skills in business: We're business people just like you. On this blog you'll find tips to improve your writing, along with topics of interest to our staff.

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    Writing Rules: Numbers in Dates

    Tuesday, December 22, 2009

    In letters and most other business writing, dates are indicated by the month, day, and year with a comma separating the figures.

    June 15, 2002

    The military and most European companies use the day-month-year system with no commas.

    5 June 2002

    Note: Avoid using slashes with numbers.

    In many countries 6/8/03 would mean August 6, 2003.

    (From Write for Business, page 212, and Proofreader's Guide PDF, page 14)

    Writing Rules: Hyphenating Numbers

    Thursday, December 17, 2009

    Hyphens are used to form compound modifiers indicating measurement. They are also used for inclusive numbers and fractions when written out.

    a 500-mile flight
    the fiscal year 2001-2002
    a two-thirds majority
    a three-hour drive

    (From Write for Business, page 212, and Proofreader's Guide PDF, page 14)

    Writing Rules: A Number before a Compound Modifier

    Tuesday, December 15, 2009

    Unless they cannot be expressed in one or two words, use words for numbers that precede a compound modifier that includes another number.

    She sold twenty 35-millimeter cameras in one day.
    The prescription called for 120 25-milligram doses.

    Note: You may use a combination of words and numerals for very large numbers.

    6-8 million       2 billion to 2.9 billion       7 trillion

    (From Write for Business, page 212, and Proofreader's Guide PDF, page 14)

    Writing Rules: Numbers Beginning Sentences

    Thursday, December 10, 2009

    Use words to express numbers when they begin a sentence.

    Twelve customers have complained so far.

    Note: If this rule creates an awkward sentence, reword the sentence.

    Clumsy: Seven hundred forty-two employees signed up for dental care last year.
    Better: Last year, 742 employees signed up for dental care.

    (From Write for Business, page 212, and Proofreader's Guide PDF, page 14)