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Lesson 11.14: Tally Marks


This section does not contain any examples or exercises. However, it does contain an explanation of the use of, and braille rules regarding, tally marks.

Tally marks are typically used to count or keep track of a number of items or objects, or times something repeats. They can also be used to keep score because additional values are easily added to previous values without constant totaling. Tally marks may also be referred to as hash marks. These marks are typically grouped into sets of five for easy totaling at the end. In print, a tally mark looks like a vertical line. The fifth tally mark is usually a diagonal or horizontal line that cuts across the four previous vertical marks.

In braille, one tally mark is created using dots four five and six. Although one tally mark may cross other tally marks in print, in braille, the tally mark is just placed at the end of the other marks. Tally marks are grouped in braille exactly like they are grouped in print. Thus, if they are grouped into sets of five, they should be grouped into sets of five in braille. If they are grouped into sets of six in print, they should be grouped into sets of six in braille, and so on. Sets are separated by a single space between them. Sets should not be divided between braille lines. If tally marks come into contact with punctuation other than the math comma, the punctuation indicator should be used.

If tally marks are used with signs of operation, a space must be left before and after a group of tally marks and a sign of operation. Signs of comparison will have a space both before and after them just as they do with other mathematical expressions.

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