Posted by: episystechpubs | January 22, 2019

Editor’s Corner: Home on the Range

Today’s topic isn’t about the deer and the antelope playing. Nope, it’s about a different kind of range: ranges of numbers. You might think it’s an easy topic, but we see all kinds of punctuation and spacing in the documents we edit, and we’re always making corrections. Let’s have a look at the following range types and how you should write them:

· Numbers

· Time

· Currency

Numbers

The correct treatment of a range numbers expressed in numerals is one number followed by an en dash (–) and another number, with no spaces between the numbers and dash. (Note: For a lesson on the different types of dashes, see this edition of Editor’s Corner.) Here are a few examples:

· Bob told me to bring 10–12 doughnuts to his house.

· I have a collection of 500–550 rubber bands.

As you can see, there are no spaces before or after the dash, and it is an en dash, not a hyphen. If you want a shortcut for creating the en dash, press Alt+0150 on your keyboard.

Time

Here’s an interesting tidbit. If you are expressing a range and you use the word “from” before it, you should use the word “to” rather than a dash between the values. For example:

  • My office hours are from 6:30 a.m. to3:00 p.m.

If you’re trying to save space and you want to use the en dash, then simply leave the words from and to out (again, there are no spaces before or after the en dash):

  • My office hours are 6:30 a.m.–3:00 p.m.

Currency

When you are writing about currency, it is usually safest to spell out the amounts you are talking about. What do I mean by that? Well, if you write that something costs from $10–$50 thousand, that technically means $10.00 to $50,000.00. In cases like this, you should spell out the amounts on both sides of the en dash:

  • He deposited $10 thousand–$20 thousand every year.
  • She paid $10 thousand–$1 million dollars to her ex-husband, but she wouldn’t get more detailed than that.

Or, you can spell it out using the words from and to.

  • The house cost from $10 million to $12 million.

Confused? I hope not! Just don’t be surprised if you send something to the editors and we take away your spaces and hyphens and replace them with an en dash and a smile. J

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services


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