In “How to Format Money in General Writing,” we looked at four different ways to write U.S. currency. Today, we’ll look at how to write euros and pounds as words, symbols, and currency codes.
This post is based on the recommendations in The Associated Press Stylebook (AP style) and The Chicago Manual of Style (Chicago style). Our other primary style guides don’t provide specific information about writing euros, pounds, or other foreign currency.
Please note that the guidelines presented below are for general business, nonfiction, and fiction writing. Your industry may have a different format for writing foreign currency, so refer to your organization’s house style guide, if applicable.
How to Write Euros and Pounds — AP Style
AP style offers a simple and easy-to-remember recommendation for writing euros and pounds: always use numerals and spell out the words euros and pounds.1
The café has day-old croissants on sale for 1 euro.
A café au lait costs 3 euros.
The museum shop is selling Thor’s hammer pendants for 40 pounds.
The Beatles’ movie A Hard Day’s Night cost 200,000 pounds to produce.
Follow AP style if your writing is news-centric or if you want to align your writing with traditional journalism styles.
How to Write Euros and Pounds — Chicago Style
Chicago style offers three options for writing euros and pounds: (1) spell out isolated references, (2) use symbols, or (3) use currency codes.
Spell Out Isolated References
Chicago style recommends spelling out “isolated references” to amounts of money that are whole numbers less than 101.2
Travelers can get an all-day bus pass in Berlin for less than seven euros.
A cup of tea usually costs less than two pounds in London.
Currency amounts that are represented by spelled-out numbers and currency types (e.g., seven euros, two pounds) may reduce your audience’s ability to scan the document for number-related information, so only follow this recommendation if your document has occasional, less-significant references to money. If you have occasional references to money that will be specifically sought out by your audience, follow the recommendation for symbols shown below.
Followers of Chicago style should use the euro (€) and pound (£) symbols for more frequent references to money.3
A hotel in Paris will cost between €178 and €1,190.
The Channel Tunnel lets drivers move their cars from Britain to France for £49.
If you want to learn how to insert euros and pounds in your Word documents, check out “Three Ways to Insert Currency Symbols in Microsoft Word.”
Use Currency Codes
Chicago style also says we can use the International Organization for Standardization’s letter codes when writing about euros (EUR) and pounds (GBP) in particularly formal documents.4 However, regardless of the formality of your document, you may want to avoid these codes unless you are certain that your audience will be familiar with them because they are not as widely known as the symbols.
Today, EUR 50 converts to GBP 43.62.
Follow Chicago style if you want to align your writing with traditional publishing standards.
1. The Associated Press Stylebook 2017 (New York: Associated Press, 2017), 86 99–100, 200, 225.
2.The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017), 9.20.
3.The Chicago Manual of Style, 9.22–23.
4.The Chicago Manual of Style, 9.21, 9.23.