2/2 on fractions and ranges

This blog is the second part on writing fractions and ranges in contracts (click here for part 1). It’s not the most exciting blog, but it completes the range that started with best practice rules on ‘drafting numbers’ (click here for the last of that series).

1)    Do not use a hyphen (en-dash) instead of to except with figures.

Example:

The initial lease term is 15-20 years, each time extendable by 5-10 years.

but:

He promised to extend the initial term within three to four weeks from the signing date.

For indicating ranges, use an en-dash ( – ) not an em-dash ( – ). Note that em-dashes are used to emphasize a phrase – or word – as opposed to commas or parentheses (which explain or add something without necessarily giving it emphasis.

2)    When a range is indicated by a dash, do not repeat the symbol or multiple if they do not change. Close up the dash between the figures.

Examples:

5,000-6,000, 5-6 percent, 5m-6m (not 5-6m) and 5 billion-6 billion.

In running text, use to. For example, provided that sales increases from 5m to 6m and estimates ranged between 5m and 6m. So do not write 5m-6m in either case.
If the symbol or multiple changes, however, leave a blank space on either side of the dash and preferably use an em-dash (a wide type of dash). For example:

100 kW – 40 MW

Where to would be part of a ratio, spell it out. For example, The General Meeting decided, by nine votes to two, to put the matter to the general assembly which voted, 27 to 19. Where a ratio is used as an adjective, figures and hyphens may be used, but only if one of the figures is greater than ten: thus a 50-20 vote, a 19-9 vote. Otherwise, set the figures in words and use to (as well as hyphens because it is a ‘grouped adjective’). For example: a five-to-two vote, a ten-to-one probability.

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