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"and " in numbers

Posted by R. Berg on November 21, 2002

In Reply to: A hundred and five posted by Woodchuck on November 21, 2002

: : : : : : : Please I would like to know the meaning and origin of this expression:
: : : : : : : "A hundred and five"

: : : : : : : Thanks, anyway

: : : : : Depending on context, it could mean 105 or 100.05. If the meterologist says it's a hundred and five in the shade, he or she means it's 105 F. However, if you are told to make out a check for a hundred and five, better write it out as "one-hundred-and-05/100 dollars."

: : : : How about "one hundred five and 0/100 dollars".
: : : : No??

: : : I think you answered your own question. If one hundred and five dollars properly meant $105.00, wouldn't you have written that as "one hundred AND five and 00/100?" When talking about money, the 'and' indicates the decimal.

: : : We can talk about "One Hundred and One Dalmations" without confusion because the idea of .01 of a dalmation is absurd.

: : Why does the "and" indicate the decimal when the units are dollars but not when they're degrees Fahrenheit? I understand "a hundred and five dollars" to mean 105 dollars, not 100 dollars and 5 cents. After all, we don't say "four and twenty-five" for $4.25.

: Thank you for pointing that out. I was trying to indicate informality with the weather example. A radio DJ might slip that phrase in his commuter report, but I doubt a reputable meteorologist would use "in the shade" without indicating centigrade or Fahrenheit. It was a poor choice.

: As for $4.25, if you were writing a check you certainly would write "four and 25/100".

: I had a summer job in a bank back in college, but that hardly makes me an expert, so I went looking for one.

: To summarize: Dr. Ian in the "Ask Dr. Math" column of the Drexel University Math Forum was taught "and" should only indicate a decimal. He goes on to cite the Gregg Reference Manual allows "and" but says it may be omitted. Strunk and White retains and in "one hundred and one" but implies it's otherwise omitted.

: A Dr. Peterson weighs in that proper British usage allows use of the 'and", but proper American usage does not. He or she provides a link to yet another discussion.

: -Woodchuck, the Ugly American

I'm not sure about Dr. Ian's construal of Strunk and White. On the page you cited, Dr. Ian says: "_The Elements of Style_ (Strunk and White) says that the 'and' should be retained in the phrase 'one hundred and one', which suggests that it should not normally be included." I can't find that passage in my Strunk & White (1972 ed.). If I could, its context might confirm whether S&W were giving the form for writing out 101 as an exception to the general rule or as an example of how to deal with all such numbers. Strunk was famously terse. He may have meant "Retain the 'and' in 'one hundred and one' in contrast to other numbers over 100" (Ian's interpretation). He may have meant "Retain the 'and' in 'one hundred and one' and likewise in 'four hundred and seven' and so on" (an interpretation that I find more reasonable; I don't see why 101 should be an exception to a general rule, and if it is, I don't see why 201 isn't an exception of the same kind).

At any rate, we don't have to do what Strunk & White said, even if we can figure out what it is. It's clear from the discussion on the math page that authorities differ on the "and" question.