By Gayle Gross
Many people question the proper form for writing dates. Do you truncate numbers when they are used within a range? Do you spell out numbers under one hundred? The rules below apply to the format and style of numbers as they appear in most manuscripts.
- Truncate numbers in year ranges (e.g., 1977–99).
- Spell out whole numbers one through one hundred.
I do not want to confuse you as I jump from date to date but the numbers show that the other kind of dating often leads to marriage, and then anniversaries tend to follow. Will anyone notice the required hyphens as the years tack on?
- Twenty-fifth anniversary
- Twenty-sixth anniversary
- Twenty-seventh anniversary
It is important to point out that no hyphens are necessary in the “hundreds” place.
- One hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary. (A marriage made in Heaven)
Speaking of hyphen-like symbols. What do you know about the en dash (–), or the em dash (—)? They have different purposes and should be used in different situations. All of these marks run flush to the text on both sides (with no space on either side). The mystery for many is not only determining when to use a hyphen, em dash or en dash but how to actually put them in the body of text using your keyboard. I don’t see an elongated-hyphen anywhere.
- To enter an en dash on a Mac, hold the option key and press the minus key on the number keypad. How do you like those Apples? Microsoft is not in control (hint––hint).
My editor makes truncated decisions. She’s also great with dashes, which keeps my writing in the race. There are a number of editors like her in the world, which is why 10 Day Book Club was developed. My editor went through a hiring process before we ever met. We were teamed because our styles hooked up. We were linked for a 10 Day “editing” Book Club because we were a good fit. 10 Day Book Club builds long-lasting relationships. I expect anniversaries with my editor. Do you date with style? http://10daybookclub.com
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