## Re: Periods After Whole Numbers

Subject: Re: Periods After Whole Numbers
From: KNOXML1 <KnoxML1 -at- TEOMAIL -dot- JHUAPL -dot- EDU>
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 1996 09:43:55 EST

Someone (I forget who--sorry) wrote:
>>My supervisor insists on putting periods after whole numbers. For
>>example, he writes "200. kg" rather than just "200 kg".

And Kris Olberg replied:

>I can't think of any GOOD reason to use it. Reduce ambiguity? No.
>Significant digits? No. (In the example, if there was only one significant
>digit, would you write that as 2.00 kg?) Because it's dictated by folklore?
>Emphatically no.

>I can think of GOOD reasons to not use it. 1) It takes up one extra byte of
>storage space every time it's used, 2) it's extra information the read must
>process for no good reason, and 3) you're probably one of only a handful of
>writers in the world that does it.

Kris is right, but there's another very good reason to avoid the decimal point:
It implies that the zeros in 200 kg are mathematically siginificant. (That is
the point of its use in accounting. It says that the \$200 is no more that
\$200.49 and no less than \$199.50; it was not rounded from \$203 or \$195). Your
supervisor is not reducing ambiguity, he is asking you to change the meaning and

Yes, lose the period!

Margaret Knox Morris
Techincal writer/editor
Margaret -dot- Morris -at- jhualp -dot- edu

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