We ask a question every week on the rules of scientific writing and formatting. Test yourself and find out how much you know. It’s just for fun and maybe you’ll learn something new, as most of the questions are based on the common mistakes that we see in manuscripts.
22nd Nov 2011
Which are correct: 20% or 20 % and 37°C or 37 °C?
Answers: 20% and 37°C
Unlike most mathematical symbols, the percentage sign and degrees Celsius should always follow the number without a space. All other mathematical symbols such as =, +, -, <, > are generally surrounded by a space (at least according to the AMA style guide); however, some journals use no spaces (P <0.05), and other use spaces on each side (P < 0.05 ). You can read more about this topic in our previous question on P value formatting.
If you don’t have symbols such as °, < and > on your keyboard, then best way to insert these symbols into a Microsoft word document is to use the Edit / Insert / Symbol menu, instead of using the font SimSum. SimSum looks fine; however, SimSum symbols will often be converted to meaningless squares if the file is converted or saved as a different version by your editor or reviewer.
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The Science Editing Experts Team
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