Proper English question

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by line6man, Feb 3, 2014.


  1. line6man

    line6man

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    Occasionally, when I have a conversation with someone via instant message, I will want to type an exclamatory sentence ending with a digit number. For example, "I'll be back at 5!" In mathematics, a number with an exclamation point means to take the factorial of that number, so I usually put a space between the digit and the exclamation point, so that it will look proper to me, and not be ambiguous. (Even though most people don't even know what a factorial is.) Is there a proper way to express these kind of sentences in a clear way? I suppose something like "...five!" instead of "...5!" would be best, but what if I still want to use a digit instead of the word for the number? For that matter, is it improper to end a sentence with a digit?

    It's been a while since I've studied grammar, but I don't remember ever being taught this. :hyper:
  2. bassinplace

    bassinplace

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    I don't know a lot about math, but I know enough about grammar to say I'm pretty sure inserting a number in place of a letter is improper. If you're using it to refer to time then I believe to be proper you have to write it out in full, i.e., 5:00.
  3. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister Supporting Member

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    I learned to spell out any number under 10. For time of day, I would do as bassinplace, and write it out.

    -Mike
  4. slobake

    slobake Supporting Member

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    The AP Stylebook says you should spell out any number less than ten. The AP Stylebook is the standard for American Journalists. I don't know if it would apply to your situation.
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  6. DerHoggz

    DerHoggz I like cats :| Banned

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    "I'll be back at five o'clock!"

    Although o'clock is a shortened version of "of the clock" I think it is generally accepted as proper.
  7. line6man

    line6man

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    I'm not just talking about things like the time of day. Other sentences arise, as well. For example "****! Look on page 391!" Or "You only sent me 3!"
  8. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Supporting Member

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    Written prose is not mathematical notation, so there's nothing improper about punctuation after a digit. No one is going to mistake your sentence for an equation.
  9. ZenG

    ZenG

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    Is there a number for "umpteenth"?
  10. zortation

    zortation Supporting Member

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    2 + 2 = 5, if you use really big twos.
  11. Duuuuuuuuuude

    Duuuuuuuuuude

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    "I'll be back at 5:00!"
  12. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

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    In any academic writing, this is correct. It adds clarity to any writing, and therefore I recommend it to you...especially since the OP is asking for a way to enhance clarity of communication.
  13. fmoore200

    fmoore200

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    Why do you yell so much? :bag:
  14. DerHoggz

    DerHoggz I like cats :| Banned

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    That could be construed as 5:01. (0!=1)
  15. ShredderMaximus

    ShredderMaximus

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    Easy, stop any and all communication with everyone and move into the mountains. Problem solved.
  16. Tegzsa

    Tegzsa

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    Try

    "Forsooth, I shall return at the second bell of the dog watch!"
  17. line6man

    line6man

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    It depends on the context. For example, if you were a teacher who got an email from a student, asking why he/she didn't get credit for a test problem, it would look a bit silly if you said "That's a 1? It looks like a 7!"
  18. line6man

    line6man

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  19. knumbskull

    knumbskull

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    Chicago Manual of Style, innit.
  20. f.c.geil

    f.c.geil I'm your huckleberry... Supporting Member

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    Spell out the number, unless it is time, then use the standard time notation for your country/job. If you still want to use a simple numeral to designate time, perhaps adding the a.m. or p.m. would clarify for you.
  21. caligula

    caligula

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    Why not simply use a full stop instead of an exclamation mark?

    "I'll be there at 5." instead of "I'll be there at 5!"

    Ambiguity maths/prose gone.

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