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Resolution 10 of the CGPM (2003)
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of the CGPM at its 22nd meeting (2003)

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Symbol for the decimal marker (9) (11)

The 22nd General Conference,

considering that

  • a principal purpose of the International System of Units (SI) is to enable values of quantities to be expressed in a manner that can be readily understood throughout the world,
  • the value of a quantity is normally expressed as a number times a unit,
  • often the number in the expression of the value of a quantity contains multiple digits with an integral part and a decimal part,
  • in Resolution 7 of the 9th General Conference, 1948, it is stated that "In numbers, the comma (French practice) or the dot (British practice) is used only to separate the integral part of numbers from the decimal part",
  • following a decision of the International Committee made at its 86th meeting (1997), the International Bureau of Weights and Measures now uses the dot (point on the line) as the decimal marker in all the English language versions of its publications, including the English text of the SI Brochure (the definitive international reference on the SI), with the comma (on the line) remaining the decimal marker in all of its French language publications,
  • however, some international bodies use the comma on the line as the decimal marker in their English language documents,
  • furthermore, some international bodies, including some international standards organizations, specify the decimal marker to be the comma on the line in all languages,
  • the prescription of the comma on the line as the decimal marker is in many languages in conflict with the customary usage of the point on the line as the decimal marker in those languages,
  • in some languages that are native to more than one country, either the point on the line or the comma on the line is used as the decimal marker depending on the country, while in some countries with more than one native language, either the point on the line or comma on the line is used depending on the language,
  • declares that the symbol for the decimal marker shall be either the point on the line or the comma on the line,

    reaffirms that "Numbers may be divided in groups of three in order to facilitate reading; neither dots nor commas are ever inserted in the spaces between groups", as stated in Resolution 7 of the 9th CGPM, 1948.

    Comptes Rendus de la 22e CGPM (2003), 2005, 381
    Metrologia, 2004, 41(1), 99-108

    The reader should note that the official version of this Resolution is the French text.