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General Writing and Grammar Help/usage of the expression "sig figures"

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Question
Dear Ted,
I'm not sure if I'm using the expression "six figures" correctly. In other words, do the following sentences make sense and are they grammatically correct?
1. I earn a high six figure income.
2. I paid in the six figures for my house.
3. I paid in the high six figures for my house.

Answer
Dear Glen:

Dear Ted,
I'm not sure if I'm using the expression "six figures" correctly. In other
words, do the following sentences make sense and are they grammatically correct?
1. I earn a high six figure income.
2. I paid in the six figures for my house.
3. I paid in the high six figures for my house.

*** Very good.  All the sentences are correct, with one small error.  When you use "six figure" as an adjective modifying the noun that comes after it, you should hyphenate the two words, making them a "compound adjective."

I earn a high six-figure income.

In the other two sentences, you do not use the words to describe a noun that follow them, so those two sentences are fine.

The TEST for determining whether two adjective are compound is to try using them separately.

I earn a high six income.
I earn a high figure income

Since these two sentences are not correct, you must hyphenate "six-figure" in order for the sentence to have meaning.

Ted

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Ted Nesbitt

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I am the bibliographic instruction and reference librarian at a public college. Some members of the English department recommend me to their students. I offer assistance in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and paragraph development. My master`s thesis concerns William Faulkner`s tragic novels. I formerly taught advanced placement English at two schools in the Philadelphia area.

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I have been one of the highest-ranked volunteers in this category for more than a decade.

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B. A. and M. A in English; MSIS in Library & Information Sciences; graduate study in philosophy

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