Numbers

Q. Is there a correct way to write a range of only two numbers in a complete sentence? For example, June 3–4, or June 3 and 4? Pages 75–76, or pages 75 and 76? The issue gets especially ugly when referring to multiple numbers. For example, “The event will take place Nov. 3 and 4, 8 and 9, 15 and 16, and 21 and 22.” Yuck. I say that for ease of reading, an en dash would be used. However, I know that according to CMOS, an en dash between two numbers implies “up to and including,” or “through.” With that in mind, should “and” be used, because no number comes between the two numbers that are cited? Or is that overthinking things? 

A. It’s not overthinking to be precise. “November 3–4” is a good way to describe a weekend-long event on November 3 and 4, but not a good way to describe a two-hour concert that takes place on November 3 and again on November 4. You have the right idea. Saying that something appears on pages 75–76 implies that there is a continuing discussion of it. If it appears on pages 75 and 76, it might be two separate, unrelated mentions.