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ParentalAdvisory
11-25-2007, 11:13 PM
I may have missed class that day, and couldn't find much in google or wiki... What does the MM in a million dollars represent? You know, like $10MM. I thought it might be a Roman numeral reference, but MM = 2000 and I don't see a relation. What is MM?

Paul in Qatar
11-25-2007, 11:16 PM
I have never seen this usage ever. Not once.

But if forced to guess, in Latin (and its daughters) the plural abbreviation is made by doubling the letter. So "EU" would be 'United State" while "EEUU" would be "United States."

So perhaps "MM" is "Millions."

Una Persson
11-25-2007, 11:19 PM
Unfortunately, "MM" is often used to mean "thousand thousand" (that is, 1,000,000). This appears in units of energy and in gas measurements, which often makes me very unhappy as a large number of people use the measurements inconsistently, sometimes inconsistently within the very same contract or specification. In which case Financial and Engineering hilarity does not ensue; typically Legal un-hilarity does instead.

ParentalAdvisory
11-25-2007, 11:46 PM
I have never seen this usage ever. Not once.

I see it in news reports all the time.

Here are all kinds of examples:

http://google.com/search?hl=en&q=%2410mm

ParentalAdvisory
11-25-2007, 11:53 PM
Unfortunately, "MM" is often used to mean "thousand thousand" (that is, 1,000,000).

Well in a Roman numeral sense, that would makes sense, since M = 1000. But the usage seems misleading, because in RN, MM together is absolutley 2000. It would be weird to see $100,000 represented as $100CC, which I never do see.

Jonathan Chance
11-26-2007, 06:55 AM
I've certainly seen it. And I use it in copy on a general basis. My take on it was always a downstream effect of using 'M' for thousand. 'MM' meant 'thousand thousands' or 'million'.

Might be weird but it's certainly in use that way.

I can see how it could bug people, though. Me, I'm still bugged by the use of 'K' as 'thousand'. It should mean 1024, dammit!

Derleth
11-26-2007, 07:13 AM
I can see how it could bug people, though. Me, I'm still bugged by the use of 'K' as 'thousand'. It should mean 1024, dammit!Then M should mean 2**20 and G should mean 2**30. Which they do in one single, specialized field: Measuring the capacity of computer memory and storage devices. The fact it's used inconsistently even there has been the basis of legal fights. (http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/11/01/231250) (The amount you're screwed by base-10 versus base-2 increases as disks hold more data. This can only get worse.)

China Guy
11-26-2007, 07:27 AM
I think it's from stock market useage. Simple redundancy does not get confused with anything else.

Mangetout
11-26-2007, 07:36 AM
I have never seen this usage ever. Not once. I haven't either.
But if forced to guess, in Latin (and its daughters) the plural abbreviation is made by doubling the letter.I've seen that in a few contexts (page=p, pages=pp; species(singular)=sp, species(plural)=spp; verse=v, verses=vv, and so on) - so this explanation makes sense.

Public Animal No. 9
11-26-2007, 07:00 PM
Unfortunately, "MM" is often used to mean "thousand thousand" (that is, 1,000,000). This appears in units of energy and in gas measurements, which often makes me very unhappy as a large number of people use the measurements inconsistently, sometimes inconsistently within the very same contract or specification. In which case Financial and Engineering hilarity does not ensue; typically Legal un-hilarity does instead.
It does get confusing if you aren't aware of the convention. The use of "mmBtu" to refer to million Btu is very common in engineering, but MBtu is not usually used (although I've seen it a time or two). Natural gas is usually measured in "mcf", meaning 1000 cubic feet - I don't recall ever seeing kcf used instead. It's definitely not an application of the Roman numeral convention, where MM would be 2000. You pretty much just have to think of it as a part of the unit of measurement rather than a normal prefix as used in the SI measurement system.

Cunctator
11-26-2007, 07:04 PM
I have never seen this usage ever. Not once.Nor have I.

Mister Rik
11-26-2007, 10:23 PM
Me, I'm still bugged by the use of 'K' as 'thousand'. It should mean 1024, dammit!
Some local guy a few years ago wrote an irate letter to the newspaper, complaining about car dealership ads listing prices like $24k. He ranted on about how it should be an "M". Clearly the guy had never heard of the metric system.

Sunspace
11-26-2007, 10:27 PM
Some local guy a few years ago wrote an irate letter to the newspaper, complaining about car dealership ads listing prices like $24k. He ranted on about how it should be an "M". Clearly the guy had never heard of the metric system.Yeah, if I'm paying 24 million for a car, it had better have some good options!

whatami
11-26-2007, 10:52 PM
For everybody that hasn't seen it.

We use in in banking (at least the two banks I've worked for) lately. I guess it's really been more prevalent in the last few years. We wouldn't ever abbreviate on legal documents, but for internal stuff we often use MM for million. As an example, we may have a Credit Approval that will show
(numbers pulled out of my ass).


Annual sales of $24MM and debt service of $2MM support the approval of the subject $1MM line of credit.

Nava
11-27-2007, 01:00 AM
Paul in Saudi nailed it in one. It's not "MM" meanign 2000, but meaning "million, plural."

Other examples would be the EE.UU.A. he mentioned (notice where the . go) or PP. Capuchinos in the door of the Capuchin convent that doubles up as my parish; PP stands for "padre, plural" ("priest, plural").

In theory it should be 1M (since 1 is by definition not plural) but MM for when it's plural.

Una Persson
11-27-2007, 02:45 PM
It does get confusing if you aren't aware of the convention.
I am aware of the convention. I've been working in the power industry for just more than 15 years now. What I said was "This appears in units of energy and in gas measurements, which often makes me very unhappy as a large number of people use the measurements inconsistently, sometimes inconsistently within the very same contract or specification."
The use of "mmBtu" to refer to million Btu is very common in engineering, but MBtu is not usually used (although I've seen it a time or two).
MBtu is used almost all the time in the power industry, although MMBtu is a close second. I also see mBtu, mmBtu, etc.
Natural gas is usually measured in "mcf", meaning 1000 cubic feet - I don't recall ever seeing kcf used instead.
I also see "MCF", "Mcf", "MMCF", "Mmcf"...oh hell, just think of any possible permutation you can.

Here's a proposal that I have in front of me right now (true, I kept it aside because I was going to use it as an object lesson in one of my classes to show my students why things are so fucked up:
...to a boiler heat input of 4800 MBtu/hr or greater. ... SO2 emissions limits are 0.12 lbm/MMBtu...
In both cases, they mean "million". Why does one case have 1 M and the other 2? later on, page 9, we see:
NOx: 0.1 lbm/MBtu.
SO2: 0.12 lbm/MBtu
Particulate mass emissions: 0.08 lbm/MMBtu
Later on we see:
...sized for a coal burn rate of at least 5000 MMBtu per hour...
That's madness. But at least it's better than when I get hired to review Indian or Chinese power plant proposals that have been "translated" (shudder).

HMS Irruncible
11-27-2007, 05:25 PM
Paul in Saudi nailed it in one. It's not "MM" meanign 2000, but meaning "million, plural."

Other examples would be the EE.UU.A. he mentioned (notice where the . go) or PP. Capuchinos in the door of the Capuchin convent that doubles up as my parish; PP stands for "padre, plural" ("priest, plural").

In theory it should be 1M (since 1 is by definition not plural) but MM for when it's plural.
There seems to be some conflicting logic in this, mind if I ask for cites? First you imply that MM implies plurality just because there's more than one M. Contrast to PP, which is plural because the second P stands for "plural?" Applying this logic consistently, the plural of millions should be "MP". And I would bet that you will never see The Economist print the abbreviation "$1M" for any quantity of anything.

To float my own theory, I always thought the MM was an international convention to prevent confusion for non-readers of English. Most European languages are thus:
1,000 = some variation on "mille" in all the Romance languages
1,000,000 = some variation on "million" in most European languages
1,000,000,000 = some variation on "milliard" (thousand thousands)
1,000,000,000,000 = billion

That's 3 orders of magnitude that all start with M. Quite confusing!

Since most European languages call a thousand millions as such, but English does not, then MM is used to avoid confusion for non-native readers of English. It wouldn't be necessary to abbreviate thousands because this is unambiguous (and common to Germanic languages). As for English billions I'm not sure but I bet they're just denominated as thousands of MM, eliminating the need for a special abbreviation.

I think I'm onto something according to this cite (http://eia.doe.gov/neic/pubstyle/measure.htm) (American, oddly enough):
Note: For the following terms, the same form is used for singular and plural. Also, for various measures of thousand or million units of a commodity, EIA has adopted the policy to use "M" for thousand and "MM" for million.

HMS Irruncible
11-27-2007, 05:37 PM
It appears I long-windedly rambled through an explanation of the short and long scales for large orders of magnitude (wiki article here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_and_short_scales#Long_scale_countries) )

The article does not explicitly mention the MM abbreviation, but does state that UK English does have remnants of the "miliard" as the billion, and took to the habit of writing "thousand million" to disambiguate. It seems obvious MM is a representation of this, since it is most prevalent in UK English. Doubtless it is also much appreciated in non-English-speaking Europe, since they are not only long-scale but widely use "M" as the first letter of thousand, million, and billion. I would bet this is why it persists.

NajaNivea
11-27-2007, 05:43 PM
There seems to be some conflicting logic in this, mind if I ask for cites? First you imply that MM implies plurality just because there's more than one M. Contrast to PP, which is plural because the second P stands for "plural?" Applying this logic consistently, the plural of millions should be "MP".
No, I think you misunderstood. I read Nava's comment as simply echoing this: But if forced to guess, in Latin (and its daughters) the plural abbreviation is made by doubling the letter. So "EU" would be 'United State" while "EEUU" would be "United States."
If I'm reading correctly, the second P in PP doesn't specifically stand for the world "plural"--simply that the doubling of the P's indicates that there's multiple padres in casa, like the doubling of the M indicates there are multiple millions (unfortunately not in my checking account).
See:
It's not "MM" meanign 2000, but meaning "million, plural."
PP stands for "padre, plural" ("priest, plural").

Gary Robson
11-27-2007, 06:54 PM
No, I think you misunderstood. I read Nava's comment as simply echoing this:
If I'm reading correctly, the second P in PP doesn't specifically stand for the world "plural"--simply that the doubling of the P's indicates that there's multiple padres in casa, like the doubling of the M indicates there are multiple millions (unfortunately not in my checking account).
See:
I've seen MM for million in quite a few places, where M=thousand and MM=million.

I've never seen a document use M for million (singular) and MM for millions (plural).

HMS Irruncible
11-27-2007, 07:21 PM
No, I think you misunderstood. I read Nava's comment as simply echoing this:
If I'm reading correctly, the second P in PP doesn't specifically stand for the world "plural"--

Erm...not according to the original, see "stands for" and make note of the quotation marks used:
...PP stands for "padre, plural" ("priest, plural")
Maybe I'm nitpicking but if he intended the other way I'd have thought he would have said "PP means 'padre (priest)' in the plural".

From googling the question, I'm not able to find any language other than Spanish that doubles letters in abbreviations to indicate the plural, and it's not clear to me that this came from Latin. Perhaps Nava is generalizing from his Spanish example?

Edited to add: Also, see InvisibleWombat above.

NajaNivea
11-27-2007, 09:20 PM
Erm...not according to the original, see "stands for" and make note of the quotation marks used:

Maybe I'm nitpicking but if he intended the other way I'd have thought he would have said "PP means 'padre (priest)' in the plural".
Oh, I wasn't saying she was right--I haven't the foggiest clue what the answer to the question is. I was just saying I thought you'd misread her.
Re-reading her post, are you taking issue with her saying "but meaning" in one example and "stands for" in the other?

It's not "MM" meanign 2000, but meaning "million, plural."
PP stands for "padre, plural" ("priest, plural").

Elendil's Heir
11-28-2007, 09:19 AM
I've seen "pp." for "pages" in academic and citation contexts, but never "MM" to mean millions. For my own notes in court, I use "b" for billion, "m" for million, and "k" for thousand, as in "Plaintiff claims def. owes him $4b."

Sunspace
11-28-2007, 10:47 AM
I've only seen the MM usage in US documents, but we get quite a few of them here, so it's not alone. I do wish people would use it consistently, though.

It's especially jarring when it runs up against SI-style usages, as in Una Persson's examples. But then we in Canada are used to dealing with such confusion (date formats, anyone?).

Sailboat
11-28-2007, 11:57 AM
In both cases, they mean "million". Why does one case have 1 M and the other 2?

Because most people -- even natural gas engineers -- would rather risk a white-hot flash and tons of flying shrapnel from grossly miscalculated quantities of explosive gas, rather than force themselves to learn to be consistent.

Here on the Straight Dope, we prefer to employ Gaudere's Law for a virtual version of much the same effect.

Sailboat

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