Sunday Writing Tip of the Day – Numbers

Unless you write poetry (and sometimes even then) numbers are going to show up in your work. Here’s the rules to remember about numbers.

1. Spell out the small stuff. If a number is ten or under – spell it out.
a. I bought two apples and five oranges. 
b. There are 24 hours in a day.

2. Don’t start a sentence with a numeral. If you can’t write it out, start your sentence another way.
a. Thirty one hours later, the child emerged from the hospital.
b. About 250,000 people went to the Madonna concert.

3. Units of time like “thirteenth century” or “the Sixties” should be spelled out.
a. My mom grew up in the Sixties.
b. That vase is from the fifth century.

4. Percentage is spelled out, unless it’s a math problem or recipe. 
a. Five percent of the participants didn’t have a car.

5. Numbers over a million – use the numeral plus the spelled out word.
a. The first edition is worth 200 million dollars.

6. If numbers are side by side spell one and write the other.
a. We saw seven 13 year olds on their way to a party.

7. Be consistent with ordinals (and usually spell out).
a. The first one to finish was the third one who started.

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