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WaxRubiks
2010-Jul-23, 05:34 AM
I've seen it around on the interwebs..

eg. 6.876.737 instead of 6,876,737

Is that officially correct in some quarters, because it could easily be confused with a decimal point.
What's wrong with commas?
Do some people think they're too old fashioned?

Jens
2010-Jul-23, 05:41 AM
It's funny, because I thought the full stops was a British usage, while in the US we use commas. But come to think of it, I think it's an issue of English versus other European language usage. I think that in French they use full stops instead of commas, so the people doing that may be non-English native speakers. Incidentally, there's also a usage with spaces, which I think is recognized by the ISO perhaps. So 6 867 737.

baskerbosse
2010-Jul-23, 05:43 AM
Problem here is that according to SI notation, both comma and full stop are valid for decimal character. (and are used as such internationally)
SI notation therefore recommends using space instead.

(i.e. 6 876 737.75 or 6 876 737,75)

Peter

Daggerstab
2010-Jul-23, 05:46 AM
As usually, Wikipedia has a summary:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decimal_separator
(the digit grouping separator is also covered there)

astromark
2010-Jul-23, 06:23 AM
I find the Wikipedia article complete... I use when using numerical sequence the coma...

186,000. but not doing so is not a crime. 186 000 but 186.000 could be a point mistake.

As that answer explains. Depending on where you were educated could change your view. I would not judge any wrong.

As long as we can understand the intent. We are all on the same page.

When it really matters. Like in air traffic control rooms. English is the standard...

So to avoid confusion should we adopt whose standard ?

NB; I often use ... when a simple , would have worked. I do not like rules. for the sake of rules... :eh:

swampyankee
2010-Jul-23, 03:03 PM
In the US, it's normal to place the digits of large numbers into groups of three, counting from the least significant digit, with the groups separated by commas.

I believe that most of the rest of the World separates the groups by periods (fullstops) and uses commas to indicate the decimal point. Since I read stuff (mostly technical literature) from several countries, I will shift from the US to the most-of-the-rest-of-the-World convention based on the origin of the article.

Some journals will separate the groups by non-breaking spaces, which I actually prefer.

kleindoofy
2010-Jul-23, 07:00 PM
... I believe that most of the rest of the World separates the groups by periods (fullstops) and uses commas to indicate the decimal point. ...
That certainly is true of Germany.

Strangely enough, they nevertheless refer to the "Dezimalpunkt."

TeX is so nice and allows both. PostScript doesn't.

grant hutchison
2010-Jul-23, 07:21 PM
Strangely enough, they nevertheless refer to the "Dezimalpunkt."A comma is still punctuation. :)

Grant Hutchison

HenrikOlsen
2010-Jul-23, 09:57 PM
That certainly is true of Germany.

Strangely enough, they nevertheless refer to the "Dezimalpunkt."
Danish use is the comma as decimal separator, we call it "decimalkomma".

galacsi
2010-Jul-24, 08:31 AM
In France too , we use the comma as decimal separator , but we use only a blank to separate group of 3 digits . (And not everybody do it) .There are little problems with softwares , as most of them are made in USA.

JustAFriend
2010-Jul-25, 12:52 AM
I worked for several years for a German-based company.
They all used periods for commas.

Never found it to be that big of a deal...

Nick Theodorakis
2010-Jul-25, 01:25 AM
The question for me is why do we group the digits of large numbers in threes in the first place? Oh, I know it's easier to see them, but why three and why is that so universal?

Nick

Jeff Root
2010-Jul-25, 03:53 AM
Because of the jump from thousand to million, etc.
(Ignoring myriads or milliards...)

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

HenrikOlsen
2010-Jul-25, 06:06 AM
Because of the jump from thousand to million, etc.
(Ignoring myriads or milliards...)

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis
Depending on the language it actually includes milliards, as that's the same as what the merkins call billions

swampyankee
2010-Jul-25, 12:15 PM
The question for me is why do we group the digits of large numbers in threes in the first place? Oh, I know it's easier to see them, but why three and why is that so universal?

Nick

No clue. If I recall, in India digits are grouped in pairs.

I suspect -- this means I'm pretty much guessing -- that three is a good compromise between too many groups for common numbers and too many numbers in a group. Humans usually need to actively count groups with more than 4 or 5 elements, so the choices are groups of 1 through 5.

No doubt somebody can find the historical reasons for groups of 3.

baskerbosse
2010-Jul-25, 12:38 PM
Danish use is the comma as decimal separator, we call it "decimalkomma".

Same in Sweden.
I now live in Australia, where full stop is used. Sometimes it's the old middle dot, even in schoolbooks: like this: $3990
In Sweden, for money, it's sometimes colon, like 39:90, (or 40:- for no decimals)

/Peter

caveman1917
2010-Jul-25, 06:25 PM
In Belgium it's also the comma for decimal seperation. Full stop is used to group (in 3's).
Seems to be a continental Europe vs England (and hence US) thing.

Nick Theodorakis
2010-Jul-26, 01:53 AM
Because of the jump from thousand to million, etc.
(Ignoring myriads or milliards...)

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Well, they kind of go hand-in-hand, right, like the chicken and the egg? But we could have, say, grouped (and named) in 4s, so that 1000 =
ten-hundred, and then 1,0000 might be one myriad, etc., for example. Thus instead of say, 21,345 (twenty-one thousand three-hundred forty-five) we might write 2,1345 (two myriad, thirteen hundred forty-five) and so on. I was just wondering how it got to be in threes.

Nick

Jens
2010-Jul-26, 02:01 AM
The question for me is why do we group the digits of large numbers in threes in the first place? Oh, I know it's easier to see them, but why three and why is that so universal?


I don't know if it's really that universal. It's not done in India, and it's not done in China (they use groups of four, basically), so that makes at least a third of humanity. It's nearly universal in the West, but that's a historical issue -- the Romans used it and everybody kept using it, I guess. I don't know what the Greeks did for large numbers, or the Egyptians for that matter. It's probably a convention that got handed down from people to people. In the same way, in China they count in groups of four, and this was handed down to the Japanese when they imported Chinese culture.

Saluki
2010-Jul-26, 02:58 PM
I like Engineering notation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engineering_notation)for large numbers. It reduces the international confusion.

Jeff Root
2010-Jul-26, 07:20 PM
Nick,

My question would be: What would constitute an explanation for
you, in this case?

Somebody counted by tens, then hundreds, then thousands, and
at that point thought it would be a good idea to start multiplying,
so went to tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands, then
thousands of thousands, which seemed significant enough to
deserve a new name. Call it "millions". That's what "milli" means,
of course, "a thousand". So that guy's system became popular
with the people who invented guns, and here we are.

Maybe you want to know why that system became popular rather
than some other? Probably because it was the first such counting
system that was offered to them.

I should go look up "The Sand Reckoner" and find out if it provides
any useful hints on this subject. I've never read it.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

Nick Theodorakis
2010-Jul-26, 07:58 PM
Nick,

My question would be: What would constitute an explanation for
you, in this case?
...

Actually, Jens had a good explanation; it's not universal. So there appears to be a random choice made by different cultures.

Nick

pzkpfw
2010-Jul-26, 08:23 PM
One's own computer provides a way to see what the rest of the World does (this example image from a Windows XP machine; I presume Macs and Linux machines have something similar).

Edit: the other interesting thing here, is how common the knowledge is - that other nations use different standards to one's own. I'd have though that was common here (N.Z.), and (if that's true) maybe it's because we are small and deal a lot (business and travel) with the rest of the World.

mugaliens
2010-Jul-27, 04:16 AM
I like Engineering notation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engineering_notation)for large numbers. It reduces the international confusion.

Same. I find it much easier to compare large numbers when the powers are multiples of three rather than in scientific notation.

WaxRubiks
2010-Jul-27, 04:22 AM
why have square brackets appeared around the "do" in the thread title...??:think:

caveman1917
2010-Jul-27, 04:35 AM
It used to be a typo as it said "to", then someone (a mod i guess) changed it to 'do', and put the brackets to show it was an edit.

WaxRubiks
2010-Jul-27, 04:43 AM
ok, thanks. :)