Whether the topic is significant sums of money or a massive quantity of something, it's common to use abbreviations when writing out large numbers in text. There are a few different ways to abbreviate large numbers. Some abbreviations for million options may surprise you, as is also true for some of the other large number abbreviations.
While the letter "k" is the most common abbreviation, there are a few different ways to abbreviate thousand.
- K - used in North America and the UK
- k - used in the UK
- thsnd. - acceptable English abbreviation, but less commonly used than K or k
You can use any of the above abbreviations for thousand options when referring to thousands in writing.
- Yearly tuition at the college my brother wants to attend is $50K per year.
- My sister has been offered a job in the UK earning 42k per year.
- My company mailed out 8 thsnd. brochures to prospective customers.
There are even more ways to abbreviate million than there are for thousand.
- M - used in North America
- m - used in the UK
- mil/mil. - can be used in any English writing
- mill/mill. - can be used in any English writing
- mln/mln. - can be used in any English writing
Review a few examples of sentences that feature common abbreviations for million.
- I hope to save $5M in my retirement fund by the time I am 65 years old.
- Shawna said that her aunt's estate is valued at at least £10m; maybe more.
- I'm afraid my student loan debt will be over a mil if I stay in school for a Master's degree and a Ph.D.
- Our top salesperson sold 12 mill. units last year.
- The company is planning to invest several mln. dollars in capital improvements next year.
There are a few different ways to abbreviate billion, most are similar to the million abbreviations.
- B - used in North America
- bn - used in the UK
- bil/bil. - can be used in any English text
- bill/bill. - can be used in any English text
- bln./bln. - can be used in any English text
Review a few examples of sentences that feature common abbreviations for billion.
- The company I work for is worth $25B dollars.
- My firm is investing more than £5bn in research and development over the next five years.
- I have to research how many bil in assets our company's competitors are currently holding.
- If I had a few bil. dollars, I would buy my own island and retire.
- She is writing a report that discusses how many bln. people live in the world today.
Financial and accounting statements historically used a different approach to abbreviating thousand and million. This approach combines Roman numerals and abbreviations. It has become less common due to the potential for confusion. If you do use these abbreviations, be sure to clearly define them in the text.
M for Thousand
The Roman numeral for thousand is M, which is why it was used on financial statements to represent that quantity. However, since M is now used to abbreviate million, using the Roman numeral for thousand instead of a common abbreviation can lead to misunderstanding. Consider this example:
The company's financial statements indicated a $12M loss.
Readers could easily interpret this as a $12 million loss, though the financial professional might mean $12,000.
MM for Million
On financial statements that used M to indicate thousand, the common practice was to abbreviate million as MM. This is an abbreviation based on a calculation. It stands for 1000 times 1000 (which would calculate out to one million), this is abbreviated to M * M, but without the multiplication sign, thus becoming MM.
To add to the potential for misunderstanding, MM is not the Roman numeral for million. It is actually the Roman Numeral for 2,000. The Roman numeral for million is M with a line over it.
Now that you know several large number abbreviations, you have access to several options you can use in your reports or other forms of writing. You may also find it helpful to review measurement abbreviations for common units. Expand your ability to communicate about quantities and amounts by getting to know various names and expressions for large numbers.