Should commas separate thousands?

(17 Posts)
claig Sun 08-Dec-13 22:00:37

I see different conventions, sometimes thousands are expressed with commas and sometimes not. Is there a UK convention?

i.e.

9,231
or
9231

etc.

This BBC site has both versions

www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/ks2/maths/number/place_value_headings/quiz/q76899918/

southeastastra Sun 08-Dec-13 22:01:39

yes so it's understandable

1,000
and the more affulent

1,000,000

claig Sun 08-Dec-13 22:05:50

Thanks, southeastastra

Galena Sun 08-Dec-13 23:07:20

It is not in common use now to use a comma because on the continent a comma is used as a decimal point. So 1, 00 = 1.00

I think it is becoming more common to use a space thus:
1 000
1 000 000

claig Sun 08-Dec-13 23:12:07

Thanks, Galena.
That is what I thought.
When I was a child, we used commas, but I have noticed that they have become much less frequent and have noticed the spaces for 10 000 but 3456 with no space for 4 digits.

Is this the same for both handwriting and printed text?

Galena Sun 08-Dec-13 23:15:40

I guess it should be, but I'm not sure!

ClayDavis Sun 08-Dec-13 23:17:53

The comma is more traditional use in the UK although both versions are acceptable. I think there is probably a move towards using a space for the reasons Galena gave about use of the comma in other countries.

It might depend on context slightly. I usually go with a space for anything involving science/technology and with for anything else.

claig Sun 08-Dec-13 23:23:35

Thanks, ClayDavis

CecilyP Mon 09-Dec-13 10:52:37

Maths books tend to use a space and this didn't start all that recently (actually about 40 years ago). However with handwriting, unless you are very organised and precise, a comma probably easier. Commas also work on spreadsheets and for addidtion in Word tables - spaces most definitely don't work!

noramum Mon 09-Dec-13 11:10:17

I work in Finance and we always use commas. I also work for a German bank so writing to them I use the commas to show where the decimal places start (£1,000.00 or €1.000,00). Grrr.

But we teach DD currently using commas as she finds it very hard to see a larger number (above 1,000). Using a space would confuse me as I would think something is missing.

MirandaWest Mon 09-Dec-13 11:15:41

I like using commas to separate thousands.

ErrolTheDragon Mon 09-Dec-13 11:19:43

If you write software, you put nothing except the decimal point in the code, then if you use 'localization' it automagically comes out with commas separating the thousands in the UK and US, but the comma as a decimal point in Germany etc. (and input numbers are parsed accordingly too)

I'd say comma is still the UK convention.

GhoulWithADragonTattoo Mon 09-Dec-13 11:22:57

I'm 35 and we were taught at school to leave spaces rather than put in commas. It is acceptable to put in commas in the UK but is perhaps a bit old fashioned.

Jellyandjam Mon 09-Dec-13 13:31:32

I was volunteering at my children's school the other day in year 6 and the teacher said she had recently been told that she should not teach the children to use commas anymore, they should instead just use a space. She said it has not been made official yet but that is what maths teachers are now being told.

beresh Mon 09-Dec-13 13:32:53

I was puzzling about why my DC in Switzerland separate thousands with an apostrophe, ie 10'000'000. I found this wiki that explains the international conventions:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decimal_mark
Hope that helps!

claig Mon 09-Dec-13 15:17:36

Thanks everyone and thanks beresh for that link.
It's a minefield. But it seems that both variations are OK, with commas probably still the most common but possibly being changed to fit in with the conventions of other countries.

nlondondad Wed 11-Dec-13 17:15:18

The general convention in the UK, Ireland, and North America is to use commas.

The general convention on the continent is to use dots or apostrophes.

The space convention is an attempt to avoid confusion, but obviously as I am used to comma's I prefer them....

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