Expensive punctuation

Subject: Expensive punctuation
From: Fabien Vais <phantoms -at- POP -dot- TOTAL -dot- NET>
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 1999 10:44:49 -0500

I just had to add my two Canadian cents worth to this discussion.

Here, in French Canada (Quebec), we (they) just have to do things
differently. As (most of) you know, Canada uses the dollar currency, just
like the States. In the past, here in French Quebec, we had always written
dollar amounts exactly the same way as Americans - $1,000.00. A comma marked
the thousands and a period marked the decimal point. Everyone was happy, and
everyone understood what we meant.

For the last few years (I would say less than 10 years), a minority of
French Canadian nationalists (they're called hard-line Québécois around
here...) decided that they wanted to be more "French", and looked to France
to see how they did things in this area. They found that in France (so it
seems), people write amounts as 1 000,00 FF to mean a thousand French
Francs. They leave a space to indicate thousands and a comma to indicate the


Here in French Quebec, we now have a mish-mash of different formats to write
amounts of money, none of which is a firm standard.

1. English-speaking people write $1,000.00 just like in the States.

2. Some French-speaking people also write $1,000.00 for simplicity sake.

3. Other French-speaking people (afraid of losing their culture in the sea
of English surrounding us....don't get me started on this one....!) write 1
000,00$ exactly like in France.

4. Still others (not quite sure any more...) write $1 000,00 or even
$1.000,00 with a mixture of different formats, coming out of their heads.

I hope this gives you more insight in the mess that we often find in Quebec,
particularly in French Quebec, just because a small minority of fanatics
enjoys racking their brains every once in a while and insist on DOING THINGS
DIFFERENTLY from the 300 million people around them.

Like I said, don't get me started on this topic!!!

Fabien Vais
Fabien Vais - Documentation Analyst
Technical Writing, Technical Translation/Globalization, Editing, Publishing,
Teaching, Training

e-mail: phantoms -at- total -dot- net
Mailing address: 38 Elderidge, Montreal, Quebec, H9A 2P4
Phone/Fax: (514) 685-4752

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