Do I need to add a space between number and temperature degree symbol?
Temperature degree writing conventions
In academic and scientific writing, we sometimes come across the question of whether to add a space between the number and then degree symbol when writing about temperature. There are generally two ways to write about temperature. This applies when writing in both Celsius (°C) or Fahrenheit (°F).
- Without including a space between the number and the degree symbol (e.g. 50°C)
- With inclusion of a space between the number and the degree symbol (e.g. 50 °C)
To separate or not to separate?
So, to separate or not to separate? That is the question. In the case of temperature degrees, multiple scientific and engineering standards bodies (the International Bureau of Weights and Measures, the International Organization for Standardization, and the United States Government Printing Office) advise publishing temperatures with a space between the number and the degree symbol (e.g. 50 °C).
However, the degree symbol is printed with no space between the number, the symbol, and the temperature symbol of “C” or “F”, which represent Celsius or Fahrenheit, respectively, in many scientific and academic works published by the University of Chicago Press or Oxford University Press (e.g. 50°C). This is also how the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, which runs the National Center for Atmospheric Research, operates.
A word of advice
So generally, in academic work, it is advised not to include a space between the number and temperature degree symbol. But there are exceptions, so it is recommended to check the university or journal style guide and consult with someone who is familiar with it.