Numbers: Alphanumeric phone numbers II

May 28, 2009: Issue 291

1-800-CUT-IT-OUT

We don’t use letters in phone numbers.

Our reason of long standing is that letters make readers work too hard. Then there’s the potential for confusion between the letter O and the numeral 0. While words might help TV viewers and radio listeners remember a number, they’re unnecessary in print and online.

With new technology, alphanumeric numbers are moving from inconvenient to impossible. Check out a Treo or BlackBerry keypad and try to guess how to dial 1-800-AZALEAS.

If a company provides only an alphanumeric number, take a minute to translate it into numbers. (And make sure you use an old-fashioned phone.)

Contest: Back when cities had single area codes, New York City’s was 212. Do you know why? Tell us, and you could win a prize.

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