RE: What's 1 to do?

Subject: RE: What's 1 to do?
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: "Chris Vickery" <cvickery -at- arenasolutions -dot- com>, "Leonard C. Porrello" <Leonard -dot- Porrello -at- SoleraTec -dot- com>, "Sean Brierley" <sbrierley -at- Accu-Time -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 16 Jul 2008 10:19:26 -0400

Leonard asked:

> Does anyone know why we spell out one through ten?

and Chris V top-posted this reply:

> I wonder if it's a leftover from typewriter days. One through ten
> be the most commonly typed numbers, and spelling them out would keep a
> typist's fingers in the three rows of the keyboard to which they were
> accustomed.
> [/total guess]

I think that your guess might be half-right...
On a typewriter, or in other old situations of limited type-face, the
"1" (one) was a letter "l" (ell), or else it _looked_ a lot like a
letter "l" (ell)... as you will immediately see if you view this e-mail
in plain text mode with the same font that I'm using. (The same problem
can arise with some sans-serif fonts, where both l (ell) and 1 (one) are
simple vertical bars.

Similarly, the numeral 0 (zero) and the letter O (uppercase oh) could be
hard to distinguish.

If they occurred in clumps-and-bunches, then it was immediately obvious
that the reader was looking at numerals and not letters. If they
occurred singly, then it was less ambiguous to just type out a full
Nobody wanted to be typing out lots of full word numbers, so the line
was drawn at 10 (ten)... though some went higher.
My preference to really ensure clarity has always been to do what I've
done above. Type either the numeral or its word, then follow that with
the word or its numeral in parentheses. The only place where you might
run into trouble with that approach is with accountants and bookkeepers,
who see a number in parentheses as a negative or a debit amount.

- Kevin

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What's 1 to do?: From: Peter Neilson
RE: What's 1 to do?: From: Sean Brierley
RE: What's 1 to do?: From: Chris Vickery
RE: What's 1 to do?: From: Leonard C. Porrello
RE: What's 1 to do?: From: Chris Vickery

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