To write non-integer numbers in the decimal system (without fractions), one needs a decimal mark. In English one uses the decimal point, but in many other languages one uses a comma instead. Wikipedia has a whole article about different decimal marks and where each type is used.

When writing large numbers, it is useful to group digits, typically in groups of three. Conventions vary again: Some would write a million as 1,000,000, some as 1.000.000, others as 1 000 000, and also 1'000'000 is in use.

The decimal and grouping marks typically depend on language. What are these marks for contemporary Latin? Is there any uniform practice or guideline, or is it inconsistent?

  • It's consistent with the Latin writer's native language.
    – cmw
    Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 3:47
  • @C.M.Weimer Sounds likely. That would mean that Latin doesn't have its own convention.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Feb 16, 2017 at 6:56
  • Also note that Vicipaedia uses spaces in the place of a mark, but sometimes, there are exceptions. See either it's own Vicipaedia page or the image celebrating what I would translate as "100 000 of the pages." Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 13:05

1 Answer 1


Contemporary Latin does not have a single body issuing punctuation guidelines. Therefore, what's used is typically defined by the writer's own country's conventions.

However, a large number (no pun intended) of modern Latin writers use Roman numerals. Ephemeris is a good example of both principles. Some articles (like this one) use 9.000 for the American 9,000, but others (like this other one) uses only Roman numerals.

I've found that with really large numbers Arabic numerals are used instead of Roman ones, because writing 1010 in Roman numerals isn't that easy.

  • Thanks! This satisfies my curiosity and confirms my suspicion. If someone finds a guideline (perhaps the Vatican has one, for example?), that would make a good additional answer.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Mar 15, 2017 at 13:42

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