Tuesday, October 13, 2009

3Q09 vs. Q3 09 --which is better?

You probably know that Q is the abbreviation for quarter. But what's the proper way to abbreviate "third quarter of 2009"?

I prefer 3Q09 to Q3 09. It seems cleaner to separate the 3 of third quarter from the 09 of 2009. I worry that readers will get confused if the numbers in Q3 09 run together, as in Q309.

Looking for evidence to back up my opinion, I did a Google search. I found about 121,000 instances of 3Q09 vs. 10.9 million for Q3 09.

Wow--that's quite a disparity! Q3 09 is the format that @BillWinterberg sees in regulatory filings. Perhaps that explains it. I wonder if the SEC requires the Q3 09 format. 

Please answer the poll in the right-hand column of my blog. I'll track your answers with interest and will report on them in my November e-newsletter. Thank you!
Susan B. Weiner, CFA
Check out my website at www.InvestmentWriting.com or sign up for my free monthly e-newsletter.
Copyright 2009 by Susan B. Weiner All rights reserved


  1. When I googled "how to abbreviate first quarter," Abbreviations.com turned up "1Q," but not "Q1."

  2. I put the Q first such as Q3 09 but your point about separating the 3 from the 09 by the Q makes sense.

  3. Anonymous,

    Thank you for your comment!

    It's surprising how many opinions there are about this topic.

    In the investment management world, I've mostly seen 3Q09 or Q3 09, but I'm getting all sorts of alternative suggestions from posting this question on LinkedIn.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.