Monday, November 16, 2009

Editorial Tip of the Week: Money, Money, Money

In college, I always felt like a bad English major because my guilty pleasure was reading Sophie Kinsella's Confessions of a Shopaholic series. I guess I found some common ground with the novels' protagonist, Rebecca Bloomwood. Mainly we share the same inability to understand and practice important financial matters. However, ironically enough, she wrote for a financial magazine. I've never been particularly good with money. But I figure that if one shopaholic can write about money, then so can another! So, besides understanding budgeting and financing and investing money, there is a correct way to actually write about money, and that requires investing oneself in the rules of Chicago.

The first rule follows the basic standard for either writing out or using numerals for numbers. Chicago states, "isolated references to amounts of money are spelled out or expressed with currency symbols and numerals" according to the basic rules of writing about numbers. Remember, spell out whole numbers from one to one hundred, round numbers (hundreds, thousands, millions), and any number that begins a sentence. Other numbers generally use numbers.

Another general rule is that of consistency. When a number that expresses an amount of money is spelled out, then the words representing currency should be spelled out as well; however, if a numeral is used to convey an amount of money, then the currency should be represented by a symbol. For example, use either fourteen dollars or $14; just stay consistent to avoid being edited (perhaps as miserable as being audited).

One last nitty-gritty detail. When decimals are used in a sentence (always expressed in numerals and symbols), any other reference to amounts of money should also be written in numerals, and then followed by .00, even if they are whole numbers. For example, The shoes were on sale for $29.99, but the original price was $55.00.

Throughout her Confessions, Rebecca Bloomwood learns a lot about handling money, including saving it and not maxing out multiple credit cards, even if it's at a sample sale. Though I may always struggle to understand financial planning and interest rates, at least I know how to basically express my thoughts when money is concerned. And now for one last popular culture lesson, to practice our skills in writing and money:

Buying the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, from Powell's in Portland: $55
Buying it used from Amazon: $30
Memorizing the rules, thanks to Indigo's editorial tips: priceless

On behalf of Rebecca Bloomwood and Mastercard, my advice is that your own personal copy is still a great investment.

No comments:

Post a Comment