Currency Units

This article provides the appropriate English usage for the euro and the other currency units of the world, particularly appropriate now that Europe is about to switch over to the single currency. There seems to be a tendency in Belgium for non-native English speakers to use a variety of ways to spell out currency amounts. Well, here are the rules as far as English is concerned.


. Never abbreviate the name of a currency unit when it is mentioned without an amount, i.e., the euro is the new European currency, the dollar is doing well, and NOT the eur. is the new European currency, the dol. is doing well.

. When an amount is mentioned, place the accepted abbreviation before the figure, leaving a space between the abbreviation for a currency and the amount, unless the abbreviation includes a currency symbol

Belgian franc BEF 10.00
Euro EUR 10.00
U.S. dollar USD 10.00


. Use the country name adjective to give a precise reference to the currency.

Estonian kroon
Canadian dollar
French franc

Amounts and figures

. Express large amounts of money in figures.

. For large amounts, use round numbers and the words "million", "billion", or "trillion" rather than zeros.

EUR 6.7 million
not EUR 6,754,323

. Use the singular form to denote an exact amount or a rounded figure (e.g., EUR 1 million, GBP 3.4 billion)

U.S. dollars USD 2.5 million not USD 2.5 millions
Euros EUR 7.6 billion not EUR 7.6 billions

. Do not divide amounts or figures at the end of a line; do not separate them from the currency abbreviation or symbol.

€42,531,500 not €42,531, -- ...500
US$165 million not US$... 165 million

. Do not hyphenate cardinal and ordinal numbers when used with units of money.

€21 million surplus not €21-million surplus


Currency units ARE NOT capitalised.


It is also incorrect to refer to the euro by nationality, for example, as an Austrian euro or a Belgian euro. However, one may refer to a country's holdings of euros, for example, euro (France) or euro (Germany). The subsidiary units, which used to be the national currencies of the euro zone countries (lire, Deutschmark, peseta, franc, etc.), will be used only during the transition period, that is, through 31 December 2001. The euro itself is also divided into 100 cents.

. The abbreviation for the euro is "EUR"
. The graphic symbol for the euro is €. Keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Alt+e

Negative amounts

In text, use the words "plus" and "minus", if possible, instead of the signs (+ and -) - except in mathematical contexts. It is preferable to use such phrases as "a deficit of" for minus, or "a surplus of" for plus.

. The balance of payments showed a deficit [surplus] of €2.5 billion Exception: mathematical contexts, for example, A coefficient of -1... A margin of ±5 percent...)


. Do not leave a space between the currency symbol (€, $, ¥, etc.) and the figure.


. But when the symbol is followed by an abbreviation, leave a space before the figure. Australian dollar, $A 10.00 not $A10.00 . Use the $ symbol to denote U.S dollars, but when a different dollar is represented, use the relevant abbreviation. Use US$ only when it is not clear that the reference is to the U.S. dollar. Canadian dollar Can$5.4 million Hong Kong dollar HK$1.5 million Also, in English a comma is used to separate thousands in numbers and a full stop/period at the decimal point, which is the exact opposite of French and/or Dutch. Happy conversion! Jackie Walters