I’m curious as to why in Taiwan and China numerals are used in place of characters.

Thanks.

I’ve seen both ways used.

What’s so unusual? What’s the difference between that and us writing 3 vs three?

I see both all the time. What gets me is when I use the numerals 4 and 5 and get questioned as to what they are. I don’t always cross the vertical line when writing 4, but stop at it, which makes it look like “ji” in bo-po-mo-fo. And most people here have a peculiar way of writing 5 (and 3 for that matter) so my 5s often get questioned as well.

People have questioned my 4s for the same reason. The crossbar often doesn’t cross the vertical stroke. I don’t get it: what other numeral do they think it can be? Haven’t they ever seen a digital display? Whether the stroke crosses the vertical or not is not a defining feature of the numeral.

And my 5 often looks like an S. But it doesn’t resemble any other digit, so anyone would have to conclude it’s a 5.

I’ve never understood why people here write “backwards 9”, though: the one that looks like a P. A defining characteristic of the numeral 9 is that the loop is on the left, not the right.

Then people here write an S with a serif on the top. I don’t know who taught them to do that. The result is that S looks like 3.

[quote=“CraigTPE”]I’ve seen both ways used.

What’s so unusual? What’s the difference between that and us writing 3 vs three?[/quote]
The difference is in the strictness in application of style conventions.

In American English publications, the Chicago Manual of Style (the Bible of American English writing conventions) tells us to write single digits out as a word, while for ten or above, they should be written as numerals. E.g. “He had 23 girlfriends in five years”. Many students in the US have this convention drummed into their heads in writing classes.

For printed prose in Chinese, students don’t seem to be taught such conventions, and for the most part, nobody cares if you write 三月 or 3月. Publications have their own style guides, with some saying use the former, others saying use the latter, and still others saying nothing about it.

Overall, though, 三月 is more formal than 3月.

Guidelines…

I use a simpler and easier to remember rule in class for writing out numbers:

If it can be written as a single word, write the word. Examples: Five, eleven, fifteen, twenty, thirty, hundred. Anything that requires multiple words should be written as digits.

Mixing numbers and numerals can be used to differentiate between numbers in a group and multiples of the group to prevent ambiguity (e.g. 12 dozen, 5 packs of ten).

Sleepyhead, I have to use Hart’s Rules at work; anything under 100 is written out. With exceptions. There’s a whole chapter on it!

I guess it’s also quicker to enter ‘3’ on a computer than ‘三’. Not a huge difference, I guess, but if you are in a hurry/being lazy…

[quote=“Buttercup”]Sleepyhead, I have to use Hart’s Rules at work; anything under 100 is written out. With exceptions. There’s a whole chapter on it![/quote]Pffft, no rules at that link. Can you tell us what they are, or some of the exceptions?

I think this is a learning English, not learning Chinese question. Oh well.

[quote=“Big Fluffy Matthew”][quote=“Buttercup”]Sleepyhead, I have to use Hart’s Rules at work; anything under 100 is written out. With exceptions. There’s a whole chapter on it![/quote]Pffft, no rules at that link. Can you tell us what they are, or some of the exceptions?

I think this is a learning English, not learning Chinese question. Oh well.[/quote]

No! It’s a whole chapter. Buy it! If you have a specific Q, I’ll happily answer, but I’m not typing it all out. Off topic, anyway.

I never did learn to write those tricksier, more tamper-resistant numbers they use in banks.