Re: Periods After Whole Numbers etc.

Subject: Re: Periods After Whole Numbers etc.
From: Nancy McGuire <Nkmcguire -at- AOL -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 1996 23:35:56 -0400

I'm replying to several threads here.

First, the use of the serial comma was addressed at great length in the
copyediting listserv. Many of the replies are archived on the Copyediting-L
Style FAQ page at
One particularly clever example of how this could change the meaning of a
sentence is as follows:
a) I would like to thank my parents, Ayn Rand, and God.
b) I would like to thank my parents, Ayn Rand and God.

The FAQ page also addresses the issue of one space or two after the period at
the end of a sentence. The consensus was that if your text is professsionally
typeset or if you use proportional fonts, the double space is unnecessary and
produces white tracks through your text. The double space is a carryover from
the typewriter days when all you had to work with was monospace type.

As for the use of a decimal point after a whole number, this is common
practice in the sciences when you want to indicate that a number is, for
example, exactly 200 (measured to the nearest whole unit), and you are not
just using 200 as a nice round number. Outside of that context, the use of a
decimal point after an integer seems a little superfluous. Are you counting
whole units or measuring fractional quantities?

Nancy McGuire
nkmcguire -at- aol -dot- com

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