Numbers

Q. I’m muddling through a budget document, and I cannot remember (i.e., figure out) whether dollar amounts are singular or plural. When written out at the beginning of a sentence, it seems to me that the plural works better, since the subject of the sentence seems clearly to consist of more than one item (Seven thousand dollars are needed for . . .). When presented as $7,000, though, the amount appears to be a singular subject.

Ordinarily, I would dodge the whole issue by using the active rather than the passive voice, but local custom is to place the number first in the sentence (I think that’s so our readers won’t have to waste time reading the document to see how we came up with such outrageous budget requests).

I’ve just moved, and I haven’t yet located my CMOS (I should have marked that box in neon orange); can you help?

A. It’s best to use the singular. For an example, see CMOS 9.21.