As an editor and English teacher, I frequently hear the following questions:
1. How do I know whether to write a number as a numeral or a word?
Seems like a simple question, but the answer is complicated. Different books give different rules. Here’s a summary:
All style guides say to write out a number that begins a sentence. If you’re using a large number, rewrite the sentence so the number isn’t at the beginning. Also, most books list the following as instances where numerals are always used:
Street addresses: 121 Southern Drive
Dates: March 12, 2012
Decimals: The difference in the projections is 1.21 points.
Time: 8 a.m., 8 o’clock, 8:10 p.m.
Specific amounts of money: $10.58.
Beyond that, no one agrees when to write the numeral or the word.
The Associated Press and other journalistic stylebooks say to write out one through nine and use a numeral for…
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