Archive: October 25th, 2007

My Two Cents

I’m more a word-person than a number-person, but there are a couple little rules to remember:

  • A percentage is written in hundredths. That is, .25 is the same as 25%.
  • This means that you should never write .25% unless you actually mean to describe .0025 (which is really very, very small).
  • You write a dollar amount as, say, $25.95. That’s twenty-five dollars and ninety-five cents.
  • If you just want to talk about the cents, you can either give your $.02, or your 2-cents, but if you ever actually write $.02-cents, you’re actually describing .0002 dollars. (The dollar may be struggling these days, but it’s not quite that bad yet.)
  • Additionally, for the record, when saying a number aloud, you should only use the word “and” at the decimal between whole numbers and the fraction. That is, $9.95 is nine dollars and ninety-five cents.
  • If you put an “and” anywhere else, like “two thousand, seven hundred and thirty seven,” it sounds as if you’re saying the number 2700.37, not 2,737.
  • Lastly, next time you’re writing a check, take a closer look at the line where you spell out the dollar amount. Standard checks (here in the U.S., at least) have the word “Dollars” printed at the end of the line. This means that you do NOT have to write the word “dollars” yourself. All you need to spell out is the actual, numeric amount, like, “One hundred ninety-nine and 99/100.”
  • And, of course, never write “One hundred ninety-nine and 99 cents” because, technically, what you’re then describing is $.19999, which is not even two dimes’ worth of cash.