And now for a number of points

If you watched the recent Horizon programme on BBC Two – 31 March at 9pm to be precise – you can’t have failed to have been moved by the power of maths and how we are literally surrounded by myriad aspects of it in our daily lives. Professor Marcus du Santoy, an Oxford mathematician led Alan Davies, comedian, through a series of interesting exercises to help him conceptualise how we assess probability, angles, and one, two, three and four spatial dimensions.

Professor du Santoy’s enthusiasm for his subject was infectious. Maths is fundamental. We use it constantly whether we are aware of it or not. It helps us make good, rational decisions. And yet, how many of us are confident about expressing numbers in print? At first sight this may look amazingly straightforward but recent courses have revealed that lots of delegates are unsure when to use figures or words to express numbers. And many fudge a perfectly good point by using “a number of” rather than the exact amount.

Why not see which of the following you think are correct and why? Then send us in your answers.

1. The Bank of England’s interest rate is now half of one percent.
2. Rates remain exceptionally low after 6 cuts since October last year.
3. The government looks set to inject around 30 billion into the economy through quantitative easing.
4. The government looks set to inject around 30 bn into the economy through quantitative easing.
5. Three sheep stood up to their necks in 3 feet of water.
6. 1,000 curses on your head.
7. His office is on the 1st floor.
8. Let’s meet on Friday the 10th of May.

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