Large Numbers Exercise (13)

All but one of the following sentences demonstrate incorrect style for large numbers according to The Chicago Manual of Style; revise the style of the number as necessary:

Answers and Explanations

Large numbers generally follow the same style rules as small ones, but there are special considerations for large round numbers and rounding off large numbers:

1.
Original: This city of 3,000,000 has come a long way since its humble beginnings.
Correct : This city of three million has come a long way since its humble beginnings.

For improved readability, spell out large round numbers.

2.
Original: The database amounts to about fifty million documents and about 150 billion words.
Correct : The database amounts to about fifty million documents and about 150 billion words.

When using a term of magnitude (million, billion, and so on), apply the basic rule for spelling out numbers or using numerals: Use a numeral for a number exceeding one hundred and spell out numbers of less than one hundred. When two or more numbers that refer to the same thing are mixed (at least one over and one under one hundred), use numerals consistently. This sentence is correct. (Documents and words are related but not identical.)

3.
Original: The following year, about 2,389,000 units were produced.
Correct : The following year, about 2.4 million units were produced.

For improved readability, very large numbers should be rounded up and reduced to a decimal fraction to one or two digits.

4.
Original: The city’s population is about 2,245,389.
Correct : The city’s population is 2,245,389.

Do not use about or approximately when a figure is exact, or round off the number (i.e. "The city’s population is about 2.25 million").

5.
Original: Last year, 50–60,000 people attended the event.
Correct : Last year, 50,000–60,000 people attended the event.

When both numbers in a number range are large round numbers with the same number of digits, do not omit zeros in the first number.

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