A Comma is a Decimal in Italy

fruttivendoloNo I’m not mathematical challenged and I do know the difference between a comma and a decimal at least I thought I did until I started to learn Italian. The Italian language can be a little quirky for the brains of English speakers. For example in Italian you don’t take a bath you make a bath as in fare (to make or do) il bagno. You don’t go shopping you make or do shopping as in fare la spessa. Taking a trip or a photograph?  In Italian you make a trip fare un viaggio and while on your trip make a foto fare una fotografia. Have a question? You guessed it, fare is the verb to use as in fare una domanda, make a question.

A construct of Italian grammar yet in translation all flip over to their colloquial meaning, you take a bath, go shopping, take a trip or a photograph and have a question. Another somewhat quirky thing for Americans about Italy is their use of a comma as a decimal point.  Although Italy and many other countries use the comma to mark the decimal units position it can be a little confusing for most Americans when looking at a price tag. In Italy, the decimal point is not used to separate dollars from cents; instead, a comma is used in place of the decimal. Although this is not universally true as many of the larger shops and supermarkets have converted to the dot used as the radix point the  markets in smaller towns and villages still use the common as a decimal point on their price tags.

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