Thread: Are numeric values singular or plural

1. Are numeric values singular or plural

Which of these is correct, when expressing money as a numeric value?

£100 worth of free software

£100's worth of free software

£100' worth of free software

You often see these on computer retailers' sites and it is interesting to know which is grammatically correct.

2. Re: Are numeric values singular or plural

Originally Posted by martinj
Which of these is correct, when expressing money as a numeric value?

£100 worth of free software

£100's worth of free software

£100' worth of free software

You often see these on computer retailers' sites and it is interesting to know which is grammatically correct.
Perhaps it is different in the UK but we Yanks tend to write "\$100 worth."

The translation of that is, of course, that it might be worth the cost of shipping and handling, but probably not!

3. Re: Are numeric values singular or plural

Version 1. £100 worth of free software
I would say this is wrong because there is a possessive relationship between the worth and its value, ie a worth of £100. Therefore an apostrophe is required to indicate possession.

Version 2. £100' worth of free software
This could be the answer. Or could it? £100 represents the words 'one hundred pounds' (pounds being plural) and that's how we say it. However in its numeric form, £100 doesn't end in an s, it ends in a zero, so it looks wrong and probably is wrong to use a plural possessive form. Even if the numeric form with the 0 is plural, if one uses 100' worth it would be confused with the notation for 100 feet. So it would be permissible to use "£100's" even if £100 is deemed to be plural, to clearly indicate possession.

Version 3. £100's worth of free software
£100 is a numeric value and is here expressed in numbers. As such it is not obliged to take plural form because It is a singular entity - a worth of £100 - and therefore does not require a plural possessive form.

I would therefore argue version 3 is correct.

4. Re: Are numeric values singular or plural

Originally Posted by kfredson
Perhaps it is different in the UK but we Yanks tend to write "\$100 worth."

The translation of that is, of course, that it might be worth the cost of shipping and handling, but probably not!

There are many in the UK who use "£100 worth of free software". I've tried to set out arguments for and against in another post. I would argue that people tend not to say, for example, "one pound worth of sweets" - they say "one pound's worth". So there would appear to be a possessive relationship between the worth and what its monetary value is. The question is how to indicate that relationship in a form that's grammatically sound.

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