NGS Style Manual‎ > ‎- S -‎ > ‎


1. Write -size, not -sized: calf-size. Use actual size not life-size for inanimate things. Sometimes forms a solid compound, though usually hyphenated before a noun:


but undersized
Texas-size burger   
Earth-size moon
but The moon is Earth size.
2. In credit lines use the average length, height, etc., of the animal or plant shown or a phrase like six times life-size. In pictures made with an electron microscope, first write magnified 480 times. Thereafter use the times sign:
            1,000,000 X.

3. The word times may be used in comparing a large thing with a small one, as in it is three times as large as. The phrase it is three times larger than is ambiguous; it means to some people three times as large as and to others four times as large as. For this reason, it should be avoided.

4. Do not multiply smallness.
            Incorrect: twice as small, three times as short, five times thinner than ...
            Correct: half as long, a third as tall, a fifth thinner

5. Do not hyphenate ordinals when part of a comparative or superlative except to prevent ambiguity or when found in Webster's: second largest city, third tallest building.

6. When comparing sizes, specify what measurement is being used:
            Saying "Earth is twice as large as Mars" is true if comparing diameters;
            however, if volume is compared, Earth is about six and a half times as large as Mars.

See also COMPARISONS, big, great, large, larger than.