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Writing Convention for Numbers (1 Viewer)

Mark Twain't

Staff member
Board Moderator
Just curious as to what people use as far as numbers are concerned as I've seen different methods in various books

Examples

I saw three/3 women on the other side of the road
The twins were twenty-three/23 years old
He was born in nineteen-eighty-seven/1987
It took a hundred/100 years
It would be the seventh/7th time she'd hear it.

i don't think any are wrong although the first/1st would jar.
 

Lawless

Senior Member
Isn't the rule that 1..9 (10??) are to be written with words and bigger numbers with digits?

I'm most certainly not an authority on this, mind you.
 

robertn51

Friends of WF
what @Lawless said.

Also, aren't the "rules" different for ordinal numbers vs cardinal numbers?
Cardinal numbers tell 'how many' of something, they show quantity.
Ordinal numbers tell the order of how things are set, they show the position or the rank of something.

Meaning the ordinal "twenty-first" is handled differently. (..."twenty-first birthday" over "21st birthday"...)
 

JBF

Staff member
Board Moderator
I've always heard that numbers of three digits or greater use digits, whereas anything under is better spelled out. My general rule (which I sometimes ignore) is to determine whether it's a 'proper' number or not. Think proper nouns and you'll get the idea.

There were seventy-eight golf balls on the roof of the house.

VS

The car was a '78 Impala.

But there are occasions when I disregard the guideline altogether, depending on the usage and scene
 

Mark Twain't

Staff member
Board Moderator
Isn't the rule that 1..9 (10??) are to be written with words and bigger numbers with digits?

I'm most certainly not an authority on this, mind you.
Yes, that would make sense although @vranger's link puts it as 0-100.
I've always heard that numbers of three digits or greater use digits, whereas anything under is better spelled out. My general rule (which I sometimes ignore) is to determine whether it's a 'proper' number or not. Think proper nouns and you'll get the idea.

There were seventy-eight golf balls on the roof of the house.

VS

The car was a '78 Impala.

But there are occasions when I disregard the guideline altogether, depending on the usage and scene
Yes, that makes sense
 

Terry D

Retired Supervisor
Here's a really good article to help with this. I have it bookmarked for quick reference.

 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
I sort of hate going off-site for things like this, and eventually we should have them here to reference, but here are your standards:

Writing Numbers

ETA - YES, something like JBF's '78 Impala looks wrong written out, and completely correct as he noted it.
I was just about to post that same link.
Just goes to show that crazy people think alike.
 

Terry D

Retired Supervisor
I sort of hate going off-site for things like this, and eventually we should have them here to reference, but here are your standards:

Writing Numbers

ETA - YES, something like JBF's '78 Impala looks wrong written out, and completely correct as he noted it.
Members should never hesitate to "go off-site" when looking for answers to technical questions. WF is a terrific community, but it is most definitely NOT a collection of authorities about writing. There are many more great resources available to a few quick searches than any one site will ever be able to provide.
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
Members should never hesitate to "go off-site" when looking for answers to technical questions. WF is a terrific community, but it is most definitely NOT a collection of authorities about writing. There are many more great resources available to a few quick searches than any one site will ever be able to provide.
Eventually we're going to have information like that in the Resources section, but right now that's a feature waiting on content, and the content is waiting on me to get a chance to outline what needs to be there.
 

Terry D

Retired Supervisor
Eventually we're going to have information like that in the Resources section, but right now that's a feature waiting on content, and the content is waiting on me to get a chance to outline what needs to be there.
That's great, but it still will not be a one-stop-shopping solution.
 
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