5.24 Comparative and inclusive numbers

(a) For general comparisons note the following:

  • five times as great
    five times greater
  • one fifth as large
    five times smaller

Note that "a four-to-one margin" is meaningless; "a margin of three" is correct.

(b) Consecutive numbers are joined by or or and, except where intermediate quantities are possible:

  • rows 5 and 6


  • a range of 5 to 6

rather than

  • a range of 5 or 6

In references to successive pages, p. 15, 16 indicates matter that is disconnected in the two pages, whereas pp. 15–16 indicates that the subject is continuous from the first page to the second.

(c) Opinions differ on the proper forms for inclusive numbers written as numerals. To ensure clarity, abbreviate second numbers according to the following principles.

Repeat all digits in numbers below 100:

  • 4–10
  • 67–68
  • 82–99

Repeat all digits where the first number is 100 or a multiple of 100:

  • 100–138
  • 700–706
  • 1900–1901

Where the first number is in the range 101–109, in multiples of 100, use the changed part only and omit unnecessary zeros:

  • 103–9
  • 808–18
  • 1007–8

Where the first number is in the range 110–199, in multiples of 100, use two or more digits, as needed:

  • 435–37
  • 1986–87
  • 3740–75

With numbers of four digits, use all digits if three of them change:

  • 1889–1915

Note the following special cases:

  • 899–900 (second digit with even hundred)
  • 398–396 BC (all digits repeated in years BC)