Rules for writing numbers: Post #1

Writing numbers

Using numbers is easy once you know the rules.

Using numbers in academic writing is often a huge stumbling block for students. Should you write ‘ten’ or ‘10’? ‘One per cent’ or ‘1 per cent’? ‘Five million’ or ‘5 million’ or ‘5,000,000’? In this post, we introduce common rules that should make writing numbers a whole lot easier for you.

Word v/s numeric

There are a few basic rules to follow when using numbers in your academic writing. Of course, different style guides and universities may require different rules, but here are is a basic thumb rule:

  • Any number under 10 is spelt out (‘I have five’)
  • Any number above 10 is written in numeric form (‘It took the police 22 years to solve the case.’)

However, there are some exceptions to this.

Beginning a sentence

Always begin a sentence with the numbers spelt out. A number at the beginning of a sentence should never be in its numeric form. If you feel the number is too long to spell out, change the sentence and try to push the number towards the end so that you do not need to spell it.

For example:

  • DO NOT use: ‘Fifty-eight thousand two hundred and fifty-nine people were questioned by the police this year.’
  • Use: ‘The police questioned 58,259 people this year.’
  • DO NOT use: ’10 girls attended the seminar.’
  • Use: ‘Ten girls attended the seminar.’

Numbers placed side by side

At times, numbers written next to each other can make things confusing for the reader. To prevent this, follow the simple rule of using one numeric and one word in such a case.

  • DO NOT Use: ‘The cashier gave me ten fifty euro notes’ or ‘The cashier gave me 10 50 euro notes.’
  • Use: ‘The cashier gave me ten 50 euro notes’ or ‘The cashier gave me 10 fifty euro notes.’

There are many other rules for using numbers in a sentence and we will cover the topic in our next post as well.

This entry was posted in Correction and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

image sources

  • Writing numbers.: olly -

Fast and affordable

Choose the number of words: ?

How many days do we have?

24 hours 3 days 7 days

? EUR per word
VAT inclusive

Free trial

Get to know us first! We can correct a random page from your document completely free of charge and with no obligation from your side.

Try it for free!