Special Characters

Q. I’m wondering your take on my company’s bigwigs’ insistence on using a dollar sign in the following sentences: (1) “How about 25 little cigars for less than $35 little dollars?” (2) “We’re sending summer out with a bang . . . for less than $35 bucks!” I’ve made my case against it and basically have been told that I’m being a nitpicker.

A. You’re not nitpicking—the use of $ with dollars or bucks signals ignorance or incompetence to many readers. But your bigwigs would surely count The Chicago Manual of Style as a meganitpicker, so our advice isn’t likely to help. Someday you’ll have the power! Till then, feel good that you did your job.