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mesh138
03-03-2006, 03:40 PM
In a story, I want to say that a man laid six one hundred dollar bills on the table. Gramatically, how do I word this. Dollar stuff always trips me up.

Maryn
03-03-2006, 05:33 PM
Ah-ha, the temporary compound adjective strikes again!

There are six bills, each worth one hundred dollars, right? For purposes of clarity, which is what you need here, you can hyphenate it as six one-hundred-dollar bills.

There's more on temporary compound adjectives here (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=28248).

Maryn, bada-bing, bada-boom

rekirts
03-03-2006, 07:33 PM
You know, I usually do this kind of stuff correctly, but it sure is nice to come here and find actual rules about it. It's much less stressful when you know why you're doing something a certain way.

Jamesaritchie
03-03-2006, 08:04 PM
In a story, I want to say that a man laid six one hundred dollar bills on the table. Gramatically, how do I word this. Dollar stuff always trips me up.

I know the correct way to do this, but in times when I've to use such wording in a story it never once looked right or read right to my eyes and ears, so I always reword, or just write "He laid six hundred dollars on the table."

reph
03-03-2006, 10:28 PM
He laid six hundred-dollar bills on the table.

or

He laid six $100 bills on the table.

Maryn
03-03-2006, 10:49 PM
I like reph's phrasing better, particularly the first one.

Maryn, who'd be laying $598.55 in coins on the table and bemoaning the hole in her pocket (but amazed how much was loose in her purse, the pocket of her winter coat, the kitchen junk drawer, and on the washer)

Jamesaritchie
03-04-2006, 06:48 PM
He laid six hundred-dollar bills on the table.

or

He laid six $100 bills on the table.

An editor will change this. It might work in nonnfiction, but not in fiction.

Jamesaritchie
03-04-2006, 06:51 PM
I like reph's phrasing better, particularly the first one.

Maryn, who'd be laying $598.55 in coins on the table and bemoaning the hole in her pocket (but amazed how much was loose in her purse, the pocket of her winter coat, the kitchen junk drawer, and on the washer)

The thing is, unless you specifically say "coins," no one is going to visualize them. On the other hand, if you simply write "He laid six hundred dollars on teh table" teh reader is eithe rgoing to see six bills, or he just ain't very bright. Keep it simple and trust the reader. Spell thngs out only when you have to spell things out.

aghast
03-04-2006, 07:04 PM
to me 'six hundred dollars' (in any assortment of bills) and 'six hundred dollar bills' (there are 600 of them) and 'six hundred-dollar bills' (there are 6 of them) are all different, but you only make that distinction if the detail is necessary, otherwise just say six hundred dollars. Either write $598 or five hundred and ninety-eight dollars but be consistent

reph
03-04-2006, 11:09 PM
He laid six hundred-dollar bills on the table.

or

He laid six $100 bills on the table.
An editor will change this. It might work in nonnfiction, but not in fiction.
I am an editor. Why wouldn't it work in fiction?

Bufty
03-08-2006, 02:43 AM
I've no idea why either of these wouldn't work in fiction. They are both crystal clear as far as I'm concerned.


I am an editor. Why wouldn't it work in fiction?