August 14th, 2012 .

What a way to make a living

Max Morden

On the weekend, we saw 9 to 5 at the Huron Country Playhouse in Grand Bend. The musical is based on the 1980 movie of the same name starring Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, and Lily Tomlin. Although the idea behind the musical is a bit dated, the production was energetic and fun.

My only quibble is the title. Should it be 9 to 5, or Nine to Five? It’s an important question, because a lot of people have trouble knowing when to spell out numbers and when to use figures.

Out of curiosity, I checked the promotion for the original movie. I found two posters, one that showed the title as 9 to 5, and another as Nine to Five. Which is correct, or are they both correct?

Here are the rules:

  • Use figures for all numbers 10 and over. I counted 74 beans.
  •  If the number is nine or under, spell it out. John is five years old.
  • If the sentence begins with a number, spell it out.  Twelve beans were left in the jar.
  • Use figures with per cent. He saved 8 per cent on his car rental.

Are figures acceptable when referring to time? Yes, if you’re referring to 7 a.m. or 5 p.m. But if you’re not using a.m. or p.m., then follow the general rules (three o’clock, four in the morning, 12 noon).

According to the rules, the title of the musical should be Nine to Five, not 9 to 5. But when you’ve written a hit song, and your name is Dolly Parton, you probably can take some liberties.

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