2

For instance, 326.35 is written 326,35 in the German system.

So if I had two numbers say 326.35 and 723.98, in the regular decimal system, I would write 326.35, 723.98

But that cannot be used in the German system. So the question is, what can be used there as a number separator?

  • 16
    As a German, I would ask first: Where is the whitespace after the comma? The correct way should be "326,35, 723,98". In Germany, the whitespace after a comma is a perfectly valid way to make clear, that there are two different kinds of numbers – Pawana Jan 27 '19 at 8:32
  • 11
    There has to be a space after a delineating comma (a comma separating two words) in every language that I know of. The formatting shown here for the English version is wrong. – Jason Bassford Jan 27 '19 at 11:01
  • 1
    The plus sign is sometimes used in English to mean "and." Though I'd avoid it in a technical article because it also has a precise mathematical meaning. – Cyn Jan 27 '19 at 18:38
  • 11
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decimal_separator#/media/… It's not a german system. It's used everywhere outside of direct USA's and UK's sphere of influence (Australia, India, China use dot, rest of the world uses comma). Comma is a preferred decimal separator under SI standard. – M i ech Jan 28 '19 at 8:54
  • 7
    Also, in the US/UK, we could have this: 100,000, 120,000. Same problem, same solution. – kbelder Jan 29 '19 at 20:05
19

Simply include a whitespace between the numbers you mean to separate:

U.S.: 326.35, 723.98

Germany: 326,35, 723,98

| improve this answer | |
  • 4
    Either that or semicolon: 326,35; 723,98. It's also common. – Janka Jan 30 '19 at 16:55
  • 2
    @Janka: That should be an answer … – Wrzlprmft Jan 30 '19 at 19:44
5

This map shows which decimal separators are used in which country:

map of decimal separators
Source: Brilliant Maps

If in countries a period is used as a decimal separator, then the comma is used for groupings of thousands:

It costs £ 12,345,678.90

If not (and if you are not in the middle east region), then it is the other way round:

Es kostet € 12.345.678,90

In both cases there is no space after the comma (also no space after the period). The next character immediately after the separator is always another digit.

But when you put numbers in a list, the list separator consists of two characters, a comma and a space (or a tab or another white character):

These are the earnings of the last 4 month:
9,580.17, 8,845.37, 12,052.04, 10,522.86.

Das sind die Einnahmen der letzten 4 Monate:
9.580,17, 8.845,37, 12.052,04, 10.522,86.

It is clear in both cases, and I would say the readability is equal.

But if you want to make it even more clear, you can use a semicolon as separator:

9,580.17; 8,845.37; 12,052.04; 10,522.86
9.580,17; 8.845,37; 12.052,04; 10.522,86

| improve this answer | |
  • That's really helpful. Thanks. Would've accepted yours, but it doesn't let me once I've accepted another one. What's a mommayez anyway? Looks exactly like a decimal point – Paddy Mar 24 '19 at 10:41
  • @PradyothShandilya: No, it doesn't look exactly the same. Compare: fileformat.info/info/unicode/char/066b/index.htm and fileformat.info/info/unicode/char/002c/index.htm – Hubert Schölnast Mar 24 '19 at 11:48
  • Die für die Karte zitierte Quelle zitiert Wikipedia als den ursprünglichen Autor. Hier wäre Wikipedia vorrangig. – c.p. Mar 24 '19 at 11:52
  • @Hubert my bad. The image didn't have a great resolution on zooming in on my mobile device. Thanks – Paddy Mar 24 '19 at 12:02
  • @c.p.: Das sind aber zwei verschiedene Bilder. Auf der Karte von Wikipedia fehlt nämlich die Legende. Diese ist für das Verständnis der Karte aber essentiell. Daher habe ich die Version mit Legende gewählt, und die findet man nicht auf Wikipedia, sondern auf Brilliant Maps. – Hubert Schölnast Mar 24 '19 at 12:44
4

The way we learned it in mathematics in school (in Bavaria, but I think it's the same all over Germany — however it's been quite some time since I was in school, so something might have been changed in between), a semicolon is used in between numbers. For example, take the closed interval [1.5, 2.5]. In Germany, you'd write it as [1,5; 2,5].

Outside of mathematical formulas, however, you wouldn't use semicolons between numbers; so you'd write e.g.: Der Laden führte Seife für 1,50, 2,30 und 2,80 Euro pro Stück.

Note that this also holds for mathematical texts, for example: Die Menge mit den Elementen 2, 3 und 2,3 ist {2; 3; 2,3}.

Here the first comma is a grammatical comma, and therefore is not replaced with semicolon. The set notation however is mathematical, therefore the numbers are separated with semicolons.

Note that in numbers, there's never a space after the comma (neither in normal text, nor in mathematical expressions), while the grammatical comma always is followed by a space.

| improve this answer | |
  • It is wrong to say that in mathematical text you use semicolons in the expressions for closed intervals or sets. – Martin Peters Mar 25 '19 at 8:06
  • @MartinPeters: What is your definition of "wrong" here? I gave the source of my information (and for conventions, I consider “taught that way in school” as a sort of gold standard). Where's the source of yours? – celtschk Mar 25 '19 at 10:57
  • @MartinPeters: Those titles sound decidedly non-German to me. As does the text in the image. – celtschk Mar 25 '19 at 19:44
  • This is international. But I´ll edit the answer taking out two other, German, books from the shelf. – Martin Peters Mar 26 '19 at 8:20
  • Well, I just take any maths book from the shelf here. I enclose now two examples. 1. Page 188 of Armin Iske: Approximation. In Theorem 6.10 kommt zweimal das geschlossene Intervall [0, 1] vor. 2. Page 368 of Bernhard Korte, Jens Vygen: Kombinatorische Optimierung. Die in dem Polymatroid-Greedy-Algorithmus und Proposition 14.10 angegebene Menge E zeigt die Trennung mittels Komma. [![Iske: Approximation][1]][1] [![Korte, Vygen: Kombinatorische Optimierung][2]][2] [1]: i.stack.imgur.com/hnkkv.jpg [2]: i.stack.imgur.com/RkyAx.jpg – Martin Peters Mar 26 '19 at 8:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.