can be confusing things to put into writing. The biggest
question is always should I use the figure or write it
out? This tip will discuss when to use the numeral or when
to spell it out, what to do when two different numbers are
adjacent to each other, and how to deal with numbers that
relate. The term numbers is used for when the number is
spelled out (eight), and numerals is used when the number is
given in a figure form (8).
Much controversy exists about the correct usage of numbers
in writing. Depending on the format being used (MLA, APA,
Chicago), the rules might vary. For instance, Chicago style
writes out numbers from one to one hundred. Some styles
recommend spelling out numbers over ten unless writing the
number involves using more than two words.
Please check your
style manual if your instructor or employer requests that
you use a specific style.
The following are general
guidelines for academic or business use.
numbers that are less than 10 are written out, and numerals
are used for numbers that are 10 or more.
Ex. Bob was
abducted by two Martians.
Ex. I have
99 red balloons.
style guides, when
numbers are used at the beginning of the sentence, they are
turtles crossed the desert.
sentence can also be re-written so that the number comes
later in the sentence (to be used as a numeral). This option
may be especially useful if having the number at the
beginning of the sentence causes an awkward sentence.
from the Martians, 30 turtles crossed the desert.
numbers are used adjacent to each other, one number should
be written and one should be put in numerals. Generally, the
number with the least number of letters when spelled is
had one 12-inch Subway sandwich.
here is used because 12-inch describes the sandwich.
numbers are relative to each other, they should be written
in the same style. If one number is put in numerals, then
both numbers should be in numerals and vice-versa.
Ex. Bob had
not 10 cups of coffee, but 8.
didn’t ride her horse for two hours; she rode for three.