Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

Writing Numbers

OWL logo

Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

This section discusses numbers, how to write them correctly, and when to use numerical expressions instead.

Although usage varies, most people spell out numbers that can be expressed in one or two words and use figures for numbers that are three or more words long. Note: If you are using a specific citation style, such as MLA or APA , consult the style manual for specific formatting instructions.

Here are some examples of specific situations:

Days and Years

Time of Day

Identification Numbers

Page and Division of Books and Plays

Decimals and Percentages

Large Round Numbers

Notes on Usage

Repeat numbers in commercial writing.

Use numerals in legal writing.

Numbers in series and statistics should be consistent.

Write out numbers beginning sentences.

Use a combination of figures and words for numbers when such a combination will keep your writing clear.

writing out numbers in sentences

Writing Numbers: How to Write Numbers Correctly (Examples)

writing out numbers in sentences

Are you confused about how to write numbers correctly in your writing? Should you spell them out or use numerals? After reading this article, you'll wonder no more.

You have several options when writing numbers: spell them out or use digits. Which one you go for will depend on common number writing conventions and the style guide you're using.

This article is part of our free online Grammar Book .

What Are the Different Types of Numbers?

Before diving in, let's review the different kinds of numbers. The two main types are cardinal and ordinal numbers.

  • Cardinal numbers are what you think of when you think of numbers: one, two, three, etc. They tell you how many of something there is, and you use them for counting. 

Here are some examples of sentences that use cardinal numbers:

I have one dog and three cats. The concert was attended by over a thousand people. There were nine of us in the office this morning. 
  • Ordinal numbers tell you what order things are in or their rank or position: first, second, third, etc . As the word 'ordinal' suggests, ordinal numbers allow you to put things in order.

Here are some examples of sentences that use ordinal numbers:

She came second in the competition.  I'm the third tallest girl in my class. Our offices are on the sixteenth floor.

There are also other types of numerals, such as nominal, iterative, multiplicative, and many more.

How to Write Numbers Correctly

Now that we've established what numbers are and the different types, let's learn how to write them.

You can either spell out a number as such:

Or you can write it in numerals , as such:

This can be a little tricky because different style guides follow different rules. Your best bet is always to consult your chosen style guide if you have one. If you don't , this article will provide some guidance in the form of commonly used conventions for writing numbers.

I'll use the words 'numeral, ' 'Arabic numbers,' 'digits,' and 'figures' interchangeably to refer to numbers ('1') and the terms 'spell out' and 'letters' to refer to words written out ('one').

Writing Cardinal Numbers

I'll start by outlining standard practice for cardinal numbers. Again, these are just general guidelines that are most commonly agreed upon, and you can feel free to deviate from these. The key is to remain consistent: pick a style and stick with it.

Spell the First Word

Firstly, it's standard practice to spell out a number if it's the first word in the sentence , which trumps any other rule. So, for example, even though dates are usually written in numerals, if it's the first word in the sentence, you should spell it out.

If you'd prefer to write it in numerals for better aesthetic and readability, you can always rephrase your sentence so the date isn't the first word.

For example:

Nineteen-ninety nine was a big year for us. A big year for us was 1999.

Small and Large Numbers

A good rule of thumb is to spell out numbers zero through nine and use numerals from there onwards. However, some style guides disagree with this, such as the Chicago Manual of Style, which suggests that you spell out the numbers zero through one hundred and use numbers from 101 onwards.

Just pick the rule that makes the most sense to you!

Years, Decades, and Centuries

Generally, it's best to write specific years in Arabic numerals.

I was born in 1972.

Spell out decades in formal writing, but know that it's also safe to write them in numerals. Just remember there's no apostrophe before the 's.'

I love the fashion in the sixties. I love the fashion in the 60s. I love the fashion in the 1960s.

The same rule applies to centuries: spell it out in formal writing, but numerals are acceptable the rest of the time.

This is the twenty-first century, you know . This is the 21st century, you know. 

Percentages

Write percentages in figures followed by the percent sign.

I'm about 80% certain this deal isn't going to go through .

Units of Measurement

Write units of measurement in figures:

I weigh 65kg. The park is 100m to the right. He ran the race in 3h45mn.

Write money in figures, too:

I've only got $1 to my name. The house is about 10 grand over my budget. You're 5 cents short.

Fractions and Decimals

Fractions aren't technically cardinal numbers, but we use a mixture of cardinal and ordinal numbers to spell them out. Depending on the context, they can be written in numerals or letters. Usually, if it's a scientific or mathematical text, the fraction will be written in figures, but if it's any other kind of text (such as an essay discussing research findings,  you'll most likely want to spell it out.

About one-fifth of the class is behind in Mathematics. 

Write decimals using numerals. If you have to spell it out, round it up to the closest number:

Unless it is half, then you can write:

one and a half.

Multiple Numbers in a Sentence

If your sentence has two numbers in a row, you should use different formats for each one so they don't get mixed up.

There are five 4-year olds in my class.

If a sentence has multiple numbers and one of them requires numerals, then use numerals for all of them, even those under 10.

The farm has 3 goats, 11 cows, 5 horses and 8 pigs.

Using Hyphens in Numbers

Sometimes when spelling out numbers, you'll need to use a hyphen . We use them to connect two-word numbers. Hyphenate all compound numbers from twenty-one through ninety-nine.

There are one thousand, three hundred and fifty-six children that go to this high school .

Als,o hyphenate fractions:

About two-thirds of the population have tried meditation at least once.

Writing Ordinal Numbers

Now we've covered how to write cardinal numbers, let's learn how to write ordinal numbers. First of all, you might want to know how to make them.

For the most part, you create ordinal numbers by adding 'th' to cardinal numbers.

That's with the exception of the following:

Other than those, it's pretty smooth sailing:

  • fifteenth, and so on.

To write them in numerals, it's even easier: you add the last two letters of the written number to the end of the cardinal number:

  • Fir st  → 1st
  • Seco nd → 2nd
  • Thi rd → 3rd
  • Four th → 4th
  • Fif th → 5th

So what are ordinal numbers used for? The answer is they are pretty much used for any kind of positioning or ranking. That could include floors of a building, dates, fractions, centuries, positions in line,e or lists.

When should you spell vs use numerals with ordinals? The answer is the same as with cardinal numbers: spell them out from 'first' to 'ninth,' and then after that, use numerals.

Concluding Thoughts

That concludes this article on writing numbers correctly. I hope you now feel more confident using numbers in your writing.

Let's summarize what we've learned:

  • The two main types of numbers are cardinal and ordinal.
  • You can either spell out or use numerals when writing numbers.
  • It's generally agreed upon that you should spell out numbers zero through nine and then switch to digits.
  • Different style guides have different rules.
  • Stay consistent with the rules you decide to follow.

If you enjoyed this article, check out our Grammar Book , a free online database of articles to help you with your writing, just like this one. Check it out!

Learn More:

  • Ellipses: When to Use Ellipses in Writing (Examples)
  • ‘Ninty’ or ‘Ninety’: How to Spell the Number ‘90’ Correctly
  • Simple Sentence: What Is a Simple Sentence? Definition and Examples
  • Sentence Fragments: What Are Sentence Fragments? Definition and Examples
  • Periods: When to Use Periods in Writing (Examples)
  • Question Marks: When to Use Question Marks in Writing (Examples)
  • Exclamation Points: When to Use Exclamation Points in Writing (Examples)
  • Semicolons: When to Use Semicolons in Writing (Examples)
  • Apostrophes: When to Use Apostrophes in Writing (Examples)
  • Parentheses: When to Use Parentheses in Writing (Examples)
  • Brackets: When to Use Brackets in Writing (Examples)
  • Slash: When to Use Slash in Writing (Examples)
  • Italics and Underlining: When to Use Italics and Underlining in Writing (Examples)
  • ‘Holliday’ or ‘Holiday’: How to Spell ‘Holiday’ Correctly
  • ‘Colum’ or ‘Column’: How to Spell ‘Column’ Correctly

We encourage you to share this article on Twitter and Facebook . Just click those two links - you'll see why.

It's important to share the news to spread the truth. Most people won't.

Add new comment Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Post Comment

writing out numbers in sentences

Article type icon

When to Spell Out Numbers in Writing: Guide and Examples

#scribendiinc

The Rules for Writing Numbers in English 

You may have noticed a theme when it comes to the English language: most rules are not standardized. This (somewhat frustrating) fact is especially true when it comes to spelling out numbers. Should you write them out in words or leave them as numerals? To write numbers properly, you will also need to identify potential differences between major style guides (such as MLA , APA , and Chicago , to name a few) because these guides often outline different rules for using numbers in writing.

To make it easier, let's use an example. Say you're working on a paper evaluating the importance of the local public library in your community. The document will make use of small numbers, large numbers, decades, and statistics. Each type of number may follow a different rule.

Thankfully, when using numbers in writing, you can count on a few conventions that apply to most situations; just be sure to consult your specific style guide if one has been assigned. If you don't have time to review each number yourself, a professional editor or proofreader can ensure that your numbers are written correctly.

Writing Small and Large Numbers

A simple rule for using numbers in writing is that small numbers ranging from one to ten (or one to nine, depending on the style guide) should generally be spelled out. Larger numbers (i.e., above ten) are written as numerals.

For example, instead of writing "It cost ten-thousand four-hundred and sixteen dollars to renovate the local library," you would write, "It cost $10,416 to renovate the local library."

The reason for this is relatively intuitive. Writing out large numbers not only wastes space but could also be a major distraction to your readers.

Beginning a Sentence with a Number

Here is a rule that you can truly rely on: always spell out numbers when they begin a sentence, no matter how large or small they may be.

Incorrect: 15 new fiction novels were on display.

Correct: Fifteen new fiction novels were on display.

If the number is large and you want to avoid writing it all out, rearrange the sentence so that the number no longer comes first.

Revised: There were 15 new fiction novels on display.

Whole Numbers vs. Decimals

Another important factor to consider is whether you are working with a whole number or a decimal. Decimals are always written as numerals for clarity and accuracy.

To revisit our library example, perhaps circulation statistics improved in 2015. If a number falls in the range of one to ten and is not a whole number, it should be written as a numeral.

Incorrect: The circulation of library materials increased by four point five percent in 2015.

Correct: The circulation of library materials increased by 4.5% in 2015.

Paired Numbers (Two Numbers in a Row)

When two numbers come next to each other in a sentence, be sure to spell out one of these numbers. The main purpose of this rule is to avoid confusing the reader.

Incorrect: There were 12 4-year-old children waiting for the librarian to begin story time.

Correct: There were 12 four-year-old children waiting for the librarian to begin story time.

Correct: There were twelve 4-year-old children waiting for the librarian to begin story time.

Decades and Centuries

Decades or centuries are usually spelled out, especially if the writing is formal.

Incorrect: The library was built in the '50s.

Correct: The library was built in the fifties.

If you are referring to a specific year (e.g., 1955), use the numeral.

Consistency Is Key When Using Numbers in Your Writing

Always strive for consistency, even if it overrides a previous rule. For example, if your document uses numbers frequently, it is more appropriate for all numbers to remain as numerals to ensure that usage is uniform throughout. Similarly, if a single sentence combines small and large numbers, make sure that all the numbers are either spelled out or written as numerals.

Incorrect: The library acquired five new mystery novels, 12 new desktop computers, and 17 new periodicals.

Correct: The library acquired 5 new mystery novels, 12 new desktop computers, and 17 new periodicals.

Style Guides May Have Slightly Different Rules for Writing Numbers in Words

Let's complicate things a bit, shall we?

If your work must follow the rules of a specific style guide, understand that various guides all have rules for spelling out numbers that may differ slightly from the rules listed above. For example, MLA style indicates that writers may spell out numbers if they are not used too frequently in the document and can be represented with one or two words (e.g., twenty-four, one hundred, three thousand ). APA style advises that common fractions (e.g., two-thirds ) be expressed as words. A number of specific rules for spelling out numbers are outlined in Section 9.1 of the Chicago Manual of Style.

Your ultimate authority will always be a style guide, but in the absence of one, following the rules outlined above will help you stay consistent in your use of numbers in writing.

Image source: lyulkamazur/envato.elements.com

Perfect the Details. Get Professional Editing and Proofreading.

Hire an expert academic editor , or get a free sample.

About the Author

Scribendi Editing and Proofreading

Scribendi's in-house editors work with writers from all over the globe to perfect their writing. They know that no piece of writing is complete without a professional edit, and they love to see a good piece of writing turn into a great one after the editing process. Scribendi's in-house editors are unrivaled in both experience and education, having collectively edited millions of words and obtained nearly 20 degrees collectively. They love consuming caffeinated beverages, reading books of various genres, and relaxing in quiet, dimly lit spaces.

Have You Read?

"The Complete Beginner's Guide to Academic Writing"

Related Posts

Online Research Tips for Students and Scholars: Our Most Helpful Articles

Online Research Tips for Students and Scholars: Our Most Helpful Articles

Punctuation Marks

Punctuation Marks

The Semicolon and Colon

The Semicolon and Colon

Upload your file(s) so we can calculate your word count, or enter your word count manually.

We will also recommend a service based on the file(s) you upload.

English is not my first language. I need English editing and proofreading so that I sound like a native speaker.

I need to have my journal article, dissertation, or term paper edited and proofread, or I need help with an admissions essay or proposal.

I have a novel, manuscript, play, or ebook. I need editing, copy editing, proofreading, a critique of my work, or a query package.

I need editing and proofreading for my white papers, reports, manuals, press releases, marketing materials, and other business documents.

I need to have my essay, project, assignment, or term paper edited and proofread.

I want to sound professional and to get hired. I have a resume, letter, email, or personal document that I need to have edited and proofread.

 Prices include your personal % discount.

 Prices include % sales tax ( ).

writing out numbers in sentences

  • Search Search Please fill out this field.
  • Checking Accounts

How To Write Out Numbers Using Words

writing out numbers in sentences

When To Write Out Numbers

Tips and grammar rules, words make it official, more practice with large numbers, the bottom line, frequently asked questions (faqs).

Writing out numbers can be intimidating. Fortunately, in most situations, you just need to make things clear enough to avoid major confusion and disputes. For example, when writing a check, banks will only reference the words to verify the numerals written elsewhere on the check.

Writing a check is the most common situation in which you'll need to write out an amount using words (in addition to the  numerals in the dollar box ). Doing so helps to prevent confusion and fraud—numbers can easily be altered or misread, but an amount written in words is much harder to tamper with. In most cases, it doesn’t matter how you write it. Nobody will notice unless there’s a problem with the check.

Many writing styles also require numbers to be written out with words if they appear at the beginning of a sentence. For example, the number "23" appears in the middle of this sentence, so it can be written with numbers. "Twenty-three" appears at the beginning of this sentence, so it needs to be written with words.

Try using these tips and rules to further grasp the concept of writing out numbers with words.

Say the Number Out Loud

If you can say it, you can write it. A rule of thumb is to write the numbers just as they sound. If your number is 1,234, say it out loud. It will be written just as it sounds:  one thousand two hundred thirty-four .

Use Hyphens

Note the hyphen (otherwise known as a "minus sign") in "thirty-four" above. Technically, numbers between 21 and 99 should be hyphenated if it ends in a number other than "0." However, merchants don’t care about formatting rules when you’re writing a check. They just  don’t want the check to bounce . If you forget to add a hyphen or add one where you shouldn't, they aren't likely to notice or care.

Use Numbers for Cents

If you're writing a check, you only need to write the full dollar amount in words.   For portions less than one dollar, use a fraction.

  • One thousand two hundred thirty-four dollars and 56/100
  • One thousand two hundred thirty-four dollars + 56/100

"And" Replaces the Decimal Point

Do not use the word "and" after "hundred" or "thousand" if full dollar amounts follow it. The word “and” is only used before the number of cents (in place of the decimal point). In other words, you  can  use it after the hundreds or thousands, but only if the number of cents follows immediately after. Informally, you may hear people say, “two hundred and five dollars,” but that isn't the correct way to write the number. You may also hear people informally say, "point" in place of the decimal point ("twenty-three point seventy-five"), but that's also technically incorrect.

  • Two hundred five dollars
  • Two hundred dollars and fifty cents
  • Two hundred and 50/100 (written on a check, with the word “Dollars” preprinted at the end of the line)

Keep Your Word Choice Formal

Avoid any informal terms when writing out numbers. Again, most people don’t care what you write as long as it makes sense, but clarity is helpful. It’s always best to keep your payments moving smoothly so that you and your check’s recipient don’t have to deal with questions from a bank.

  • Write "one thousand two hundred" instead of "twelve hundred."
  • Write “five thousand” instead of “five K.”

Commas Add Clarity to Numerals

When using numerals to convey a number with four or more digits (in the thousands or more), use a comma to help the eye quickly process the number. A comma should be placed every three characters left from the decimal. When there is no decimal because you're dealing with a whole number, you can mentally add a decimal to the right side of the figure. However, don’t use any commas when you write out the number using words.

  • One thousand two hundred thirty-four and 59/100

Comma Use Varies by Nation

The rules for numerical commas may change if you travel outside the U.S. In some other nations, the comma and decimal point essentially switch roles. For example, a number that appears as "1,234.59" in the U.S. might be written as “1.234,59” in other parts of the world. If you're traveling abroad and need to understand what the number means, look for blocks of three numbers (indicating thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions, and so on).

The amount you write with words is the official amount of your check. If the amount in numeric format differs from what you write in word format , U.S. authorities require the bank to go with the amount written out in words.

In many cases, the people receiving checks only look at the numerical figure. Checks with discrepancies could easily go unnoticed, especially  when deposited at ATMs . Still, somebody will notice a problem with your check if you have insufficient funds or later dispute the payment. To avoid the hassle, double-check the two figures to make sure they are identical.

As numbers grow, they get harder to say and write—until you get used to them. If you're struggling to understand the concept of writing numbers with words, start small. Practice with two-digit and three-digit numbers, then work your way up to millions and billions. Count how many numerals there are to the left of the decimal point to figure out what kind of number you’re dealing with. Remember, when there is no decimal, you can mentally add a decimal to the right side of the figure.

Note how the  place  in this table (tens, hundreds, thousands) is plural, but the number is not plural when it is written out. For example, "1,500" is a number that's in the thousands, but it would be written out as "one thousand five hundred."

When it's so common to use numbers to convey figures, it can be frustrating to convert those figures to word format. The easiest way to tackle it is to work slowly and deliberately through the number. Start with the largest amounts on the left and work your way toward the decimal point on the right. Say the figure out loud and write it as you say it—just remember to only use "and" in place of a decimal point.

Don't let the little grammar rules stress you out. As long as you follow the basic steps and keep the numbers in the correct order, people will understand what you're writing.

Where do I write out the numbers on a check?

On a check, you spell out the check amount completely on the line below the " Pay to the order of " line. This line ends with the word "dollars."

Do I have to write out the numbers on a check?

While it's not technically required that you fill out the numeral and written portions of the amounts on your check, the written amount serves as a verification for the bank and helps ensure that your deposit is accurate.

National Credit Union Administration. " Understanding a Check and Balancing a Checkbook ."

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. " Associated Press Style: Quick Reference Guide ," Page 3.

National Wildfire Coordinating Group. " 1.1 How to Read Large Numbers ."

USA.gov. " Writing Principles: Numerical Information ."

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. " I Received a Check Where the Words and the Numbers for the Amount Are Different ."

The Editor’s Manual

Free learning resource on English grammar, punctuation, usage, and style.

Numerals vs. Words for Numbers

Neha Karve

1. Spell out single-digit numbers from zero to nine, but use words instead of figures at the start of a sentence.

  • Farley made just three runs in the match.
  • The station launched 113 rockets this year.
  • One hundred thirteen deer live in this forest.

2. Use numerals with abbreviated units of measurement.

  • This mushroom weighs 7 kg .

3. Prefer cardinal to ordinal numbers in dates.

  • The cure was found on July 7 th , 2020 .

4. Use numerals for years, except at the start of a sentence.

  • The Space Age began in 1957 .
  • Nineteen fifty-seven marked the start of the Space Age.

5. Decades and centuries may be written in words or numerals.

  • the roaring twenties/’20s
  • the nineteenth/19th century

6. To emphasize the exact time or with a.m. and p.m. , use numerals. When the exact time is not important, or with o’clock , you may use either words or numerals.

  • The train leaves at 1900 hours .
  • School starts at 10 a.m.
  • Farley was abducted by aliens at 11/eleven o’clock last night.
  • He reappeared at twelve thirty / half past twelve .

7. Hyphenate simple fractions ( a two-thirds majority ), but use figures for decimals ( 4.023 ) and mixed fractions ( 7¼ feet long ).

8. For amounts of money, follow the general rule. Note that some style manuals (e.g., the AP Stylebook ) recommend always using numerals.

  • Farley owes me seven euros . Spell out numbers lower than 10.
  • This laptop costs 683 dollars .

A woman at a laptop, thinking, "10 million? Ten million? 10,000,000?"

Numerals or words for numbers?

The general rule is to spell out numbers from zero to nine, and use numerals for numbers from 10 onward. Exceptions exist—for example, words instead of figures are used at the start of a sentence. The different style manuals also have their own specific guidelines about spelling out numbers versus writing them as figures (or numerals).

General rules

1. Spell out single-digit numbers (from zero to nine) , and use numerals for others.

  • Only eight students opted to study philosophy this year.
  • We have received 314 applications so far.
  • The two players scored two goals each.
  • The first batsman made 42 runs, and the second one made 11 .

2. Spell out numbers that begin a sentence .

  • Three hundred fourteen people have applied so far for this position.
  • Forty-two runs will not be enough for us to win the match.

3. To aid with readability, hyphenate two-digit numbers when spelling them out.

  • Seventy-seven people voted for the new candidate.
  • Three thousand twenty-two people turned up at the party.

4. Follow the rules listed above for whole numbers used in combination with million , billion , trillion , and so on.

  • This planet is home to nine billion human beings.
  • We have received 10 million applications so far.
  • More than 345 million residents took the survey.

5. To improve clarity, skip the and in numbers such as 7,543 when spelling them out.

  • Seven thousand five hundred and forty-three citizens were counted in this year’s census.
  • Four hundred and fourteen users liked this post.
  • Three hundred forty-seven and thirty-three people, respectively, were included from the two districts. Better style than three hundred and forty-seven and thirty-three .

6. Maintain consistency in using numerals or words within a sentence. If any of the numbers within one category is greater than nine, use numerals for all numbers within that category.

  • The first batsman made 42 runs, and the second one made only 4 .
  • For breakfast today, I ate 14 apples and 3 oranges.

However, if the only reason you use words instead of numerals is because the number is at the start of a sentence, you can use numerals for the following numbers even if they are of the same category.

  • Forty-two runs mayn’t be enough for us to win the match, but 342 might be.
  • Four hundred three of 500 students graduated, 91 failed, and 6 dropped out.

Don’t be afraid to reword to improve readability.

  • To win the match, we should score 342 runs instead of 42 .
  • Of 500 students, 403 graduated, 91 failed, and 9 dropped out.

Exceptions: Chicago

The Chicago Manual of Style specifies some exceptions to the general rules above.

1. Spell out whole numbers from zero to one hundred (instead of only those from zero to nine).

  • The first batsman made forty-two runs, and the second one made eleven .
  • For breakfast today, Rita ate fourteen caterpillars and three centipedes.
  • We have received seven applications so far.

2. Also spell out whole numbers followed by hundred , thousand , or hundred thousand .

  • Lulu hadn’t expected seven hundred people to turn up at the party.
  • About sixty-seven thousand citizens voted today.
  • Did you know this stadium could hold two hundred thousand people?

Use numerals as usual for other numbers greater than one hundred.

  • Lulu hadn’t expected 710 people to turn up at the party.
  • A total of 67,413 citizens voted today.
  • Did you know that 210,619 people watched the game today?

Remember to spell out numbers that begin a sentence.

  • Sixty-seven thousand four hundred thirteen citizens voted today.

If this feels clunky, reword.

  • In all, 67,413 citizens voted today.

Exceptions: AP style

The AP Stylebook suggests using numerals with million , billion , etc. (except at the start of a sentence).

  • More than 3 billion people have watched this video.
  • We have 17 million subscribers.
  • Tumkin earned 173 million dollars last year.

Ordinal numbers

Add st , nd , rd , and th as appropriate to create ordinal numbers (which indicate the position of something in a sequence). The general rules about using words or numerals apply to ordinal numbers as well (including the exceptions in Chicago style ).

  • Poco is fifth in line to the throne. Spell out numbers from zero to nine.
  • The 45th house on this street is listed for rent. Use numerals for numbers greater than nine.
  • The 500th customer wins a surprise gift.
  • The 14,423rd ticket won the lottery.
  • Thirteenth place isn’t so bad! Spell out numbers at the start of a sentence.

Most style manuals recommend displaying the letters in ordinal numbers as regular text rather than superscripts (to ensure uniform presentation across fonts.)

  • Greece is the 33 rd / 33rd country Tumkin has visited.

Measurement

With units of measurement (including SI units), use numerals, especially when writing in a technical context. In particular, always use numerals with abbreviated units.

  • The nearest airport is 8 km away.
  • The creature’s wings measure 5 cm exactly.
  • Rita’s lap time: 343 s

In nontechnical writing, treat quantities such as distances, time periods, and lengths based on the general rule .

  • In eight minutes , the bell will ring. Spell out numbers up to nine.
  • I live 15 miles away from here. Use figures for numbers 10 and greater (except in Chicago style ).
  • Unfortunately, I am only four feet ten . More informal: four foot ten or four ten
  • I need 10 cardboard boxes, each at least two feet wide.

Dates: Month and day

In dates , skip the ordinal number ( May 5 instead of May 5th or May 5 th ), and use a numeral for the day.

  • Farley was born in Port Louis on May 5, 1985 .
  • Maya’s book will become available in bookstores across the country on January 15 .

When writing as it would be read aloud (for example, in creative writing), follow the general rules .

  • Farley was born on the fifth of May in 1985 . Use words instead of numerals for single-digit numbers.
  • The mill burned down on the 15th of January 1973 . or The mill burned down on the fifteenth of January 1973 . Use numerals for numbers from 10 onwards, except in Chicago style .

British style generally follows the day-month -year date format, while Americans use month-day -year. Dates written in sentences also read differently.

  • British: Tumkin landed in Mauritius on 23 May 2021 . Day followed by month; no comma needed.
  • American: The pandemic ended on September 30, 2020 . Month followed by day; separate day and year with a comma .

Dates: Years

Write years in numerals, but spell out the year if it starts a sentence.

  • My father was born in 1960 . That was also the year his father died.
  • When I look back, I realize that 1999 was the year I grew up.
  • Nineteen sixty was the year my father was born and also the year his father died.
  • Nineteen ninety-nine was the year I grew up.

Abbreviations of years take an apostrophe (not an opening quotation mark ).

  • He was born in ’65 .
  • We were the class of ’99 .
  • It was the summer of ’69 .

Decades can be written in words or numerals.

  • fashions of the 1970s
  • the roaring ’20s
  • the music of the sixties

In names of decades and centuries , an apostrophe may or may not be placed before the s .

  • the 1600s or the 1600’s

Note that in most styles (including Chicago , APA , and AP ), the apostrophe is omitted.

Names of centuries can either be spelled out or referred to using numerals. Do not capitalize .

  • We are people of the twenty-first century. Note the hyphen and lack of capitalization.
  • I have signed up for a course on seventeenth-century philosophy.
  • She lived and died in the 20th century.

Rules for how to write centuries vary across style manuals. The Chicago Manual of Style and the MLA Handbook recommend spelling out the names of centuries.

  • The fifth century was a time of political instability in Eurasia.
  • The period from the twentieth to the twenty-seventh century is called the Space Age.
  • People in the ninth century must have thought they lived in modern times.
  • The 18th century was a time of conquest and revolution.

Use numerals to emphasize exact times on the clock face.

  • It was 2 p.m. when I got home.
  • The train leaves at 10:13 a.m.

With o’clock , you may use either words or numerals.

  • It was two o’clock in the afternoon when I got home. Chicago recommends using words instead of numerals with o’clock .
  • Farley’s alarm rang at 5 o’clock . In AP style, use numerals.

You can also spell out quarter and half hours in text and use words for the numbers.

  • The space train leaves at half past four . or The space train leaves at four thirty .
  • Last orders are at a quarter to eleven . The article a here is optional. or Last orders are at ten forty-five .
  • She left work at a quarter past six today. or She left work at six fifteen .

Noon and midnight are usually referred to as such instead of as 12 noon and 12 midnight .

  • Will you be here by noon ?
  • It was already midnight , but the party had barely started.

Stay consistent in referring to hours and minutes within a category.

  • Poor: The hoverbus leaves at a quarter to one , 2:30 , and 4 o’clock every day.
  • Better: The hoverbus leaves at a quarter to one , half past two , and four o’clock every day.
  • Best: The hoverbus leaves at 1:45 , 2:30 , and 4:00 p.m. every day. Use numerals when exact times are important.

When speaking of time using the 24-hour system , use numerals. A colon appears between the hours and minutes only if the word “hours” is not used.

  • The train leaves at 1800 hours. “Eighteen hundred hours” in speech.
  • The train leaves at 18:00 . Read aloud as “eighteen hundred.”
  • The Durandians landed at 1635 hours on July 11, 2073.
  • The Durandians landed at 16:35 on July 11, 2073. Read simply as “sixteen thirty-five.”

With a.m. , p.m. , and the 24-hour system, time markers like in the morning or at night are redundant.

  • Poco awoke at 6 a.m. in the morning today. The use of “ a.m. ” already indicates it was morning.
  • My flight leaves at 1400 hours in the afternoon . It can’t be “1400 hours” at any time but the afternoon.

Express decimal fractions in numerals.

  • In 2015, the country saw 1.15 boys born per girl. Read aloud as “one point one five.”
  • The mean of this sample is 2.83 .

When the fraction is less than one, a zero is normally inserted before the decimal point.

  • In 2015, the country saw 0.97 girls born per boy.

All quantities other than 1 are considered plural, even those less than 1.

  • On average, each class loses 0.6 student s per semester.
  • The can loses 3.6 unit s of air per year.

Spell out simple fractions . Such fractions are usually hyphenated to improve readability.

  • I have graded three-fifths of the papers. Note the s : three fifth s .
  • In response to the pay cut, one-third of the workers have gone on strike. We are referring to a third of the total, so the third is singular.
  • For this bill to pass, we require a two-thirds majority.

For mixed or improper fractions, use numerals.

  • We need an envelope at least 4¼ inches long.
  • Maya grew up to be only 4 feet 9½ inches tall, which meant she couldn’t be an astronaut.
  • I am told that 22/7 is merely an approximation of pi.

Percentages

To express a percentage , use numerals, except at the start of a sentence.

  • Overall attendance was 81 percent this semester.
  • Only 20% of the participants in this study were given a placebo.
  • Twenty percent of votes remain uncounted. Use words instead of numerals at the start of a sentence.

If the percentage contains digits after the decimal point, avoid using it at the start of a sentence.

  • Poor: 20.5 percent of the total votes remain uncounted.
  • Better: Of the total votes, 20.5 percent remain uncounted.

Which is correct: percent , per cent , or % ?

Percent is more common in American English and per cent in British. The symbol (%) is used more often in technical copy than in business or other writing, and is preferred in tables, charts, and graphs.

No space is left between the numeral and the symbol %, except in scientific and technical publications that follow SI style.

Spell out amounts of less than 10, and use numerals for the rest. Also remember to use words instead of numerals if the amount appears at the start of a sentence.

  • Anita lent me five dollars for cab fare.
  • Would you believe this cost only 42 dollars ?
  • I would never pay 10 million for a condo.
  • Is two million too much to spend on a wedding?

Chicago’s exceptions apply here as well.

The AP Stylebook suggests always using numerals with million , billion , etc., and with units of money.

  • At 3 million , it is not a large population.
  • This skirt costs just 6 dollars .

Numbers that follow nouns to refer to things in a series are always written as numerals.

  • Chapter 2 the second chapter of a series of chapters
  • Experiment 3

Usage guide

Whether to use numerals or words is a matter of style rather than grammar . What’s important is to stay consistent within a document. A style manual can help you do this. Mixing styles (e.g., writing percent in one sentence and % in the next) can make your thesis, report, or presentation look messy and unprofessional. If you don’t have a style guide, consider creating your own style sheet from the guidelines outlined above. Finally, remember that consistency and common sense are more important than any rules and exceptions. In short, break a style rule if you must, to improve readability.

Share this article

Use words instead of numerals for single-digit numbers.

In academic and business writing, use words instead of numerals at the start of a sentence.

Hyphenate two-digit numbers to improve clarity.

Use numerals with abbreviated units of measurement.

Both styles are fine: the first is the American style of writing dates, and the second is British.

Use numerals instead of words to write names of years (except at the start of a sentence).

Names of centuries may be written either in words or in numerals. Stay consistent in usage within a document.

Writing numbers

Photo of author

| Grammarist

Photo of author

The methods of how to write numbers varies widely, according to the style one chooses to follow. Style is a set of preferences in language and punctuation usage, it standardizes the output of a particular publisher or industry. There are many style guides. In order to know which style guide it is appropriate to use, consider your audience. We will look at some common conventions for writing numbers, and some variances according to the style one is following.

  • Numbers under ten should be written as words. Almost all style guides stipulate that the numbers zero through nine should be written out. However, if the number is a dimension, measurement, hours, minutes or seconds, age, or percentage, it should usually be written as a numeral.
  • Compound numbers should be hyphenated. Examples: twenty-nine, thirty-three, sixty-six. Style guides vary on whether numbers over the amount of nine should be written as words or as numerals. If the number is a dimension, measurement, hours, minutes or seconds, age, or percentage, it should be written as a numeral.
  • Fractions under the amount of one should be hyphenated. Examples: three-quarters, two-fifths, one-third. Usually, a mixed fraction is expressed as a numeral. Examples: 1 3/4, 2 1/2.
  • Numbers over one hundred should not contain the word “and”. Examples: one hundred one, one hundred eleven, one hundred twenty-one.
  • Two related numbers in a sentence should match in style. For instance, if one is writing about a choice between nine cookies or twenty-five cookies, the numbers should match in style. Example: “The box contained either 9 cookies or 25 cookies.” Normally the number 9 would be spelled out, but it is easier to read the sentence when both numbers are written as numerals.
  • When a number is the first word in a sentence, it should be written out. Example: “Thirty-six ducks swam across the lake.”
  • When two numbers are next to each other, write out one and use numerals for the other. Examples: twelve 4-year olds, twenty-five 2-by-fours, three 1-mile hikes.
  • Figures in the millions and billions are usually written with a numeral and a word. Examples: 3 billion, 2.8 million, 16 million. The exception would be a situation in which the exact figure is important.

While the correct spelling of written numbers is constant, whether one should use the written spelling of a number or a numeral can vary according to one’s audience and the style guide one chooses to follow. When in doubt, stick with the choices that make your work easy to read, and be consistent.

Grammarist is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. When you buy via the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

2024 © Grammarist, a Found First Marketing company. All rights reserved.

writing out numbers in sentences

Microsoft 365 Life Hacks > Writing > When to Spell out Numbers as Words

When to Spell out Numbers as Words

Trying to figure out when to spell out numbers and when to use numerals can add up to a lot of confusion when you’re not following a style guide. Familiarize yourself with the rules for writing numbers according to the most commonly used style guides for academic and professional writing.

A pile of letter toy blocks

General Rules for Writing Numbers

There are several so-called common-sense rules surrounding when to spell out numbers and when to use numerals in your writing. But the truth is, unless you’re following a specific style guide or handbook or, in a professional context, working with an in-house style guide, there aren’t any universal rules for writing numbers.

A common misconception is that all style guides share the rule that numbers nine and below should be spelled out and numbers 10 and about should use numerals—but this isn’t universal.

Write with Confidence using Editor Banner

Write with Confidence using Editor

Elevate your writing with real-time, intelligent assistance

Rules About Numbers by Style Guide

Choosing a style guide to follow depends on the purpose of and audience for your writing. Here are the most common style guides you’ll encounter in academic and professional writing—do note that highly specialized fields or government work often come with their own strict style guidelines.

AP Stylebook Numbers Rules

AP Style, also known as Associated Press Style, is typically used in reportage or in other news-related contexts.

  • Spell out numbers nine and below; use numerals for numbers above 10.
  • Avoid starting sentences with numbers; most can be spelled out, but years must appear as numerals, so try to write the sentence a different way.
  • Unless there are minutes to add to the hour, time of day is just one number.
  • Money is always expressed in numerals.

APA Manual Numbers Rules

The American Psychological Association Style Manual isn’t the niche publication it’s title may imply. This infrequently updated style manual is often used in research writing and scientific writing.

  • Numbers nine and below are spelled out; 10 and above appear as numerals.
  • Spell out numbers that start sentences even if they’re above 10.
  • Spell out numbers that appear in common phrases no matter how large they are.
  • Numerals should always be used for measurements, fractions, ratios, percentages, money, ages, dates, and times.
  • Numbers in a series should always appear as numerals; any adjective before the numeral should be capitalized, e.g., Level 3 or Edition 17.

Chicago Manual of Style Numbers Rules

The publishing industry —books, non-news magazines—typically follows CMoS. Humanities writing often follows the rules of the Chicago Manual of Style too.

  • Spell out numbers zero through one hundred; all whole numbers should be spelled out, e.g., twelve thousand.
  • Spell out numbers at the beginning of a sentence.
  • Spell out large, whole, round numbers-unless they’re amounts of currency, then use numerals
  • Fractions should be written with numerals unless they begin a sentence.

MLA Handbook Numbers Rules

This handbook is ubiquitous in high school and college academic settings. If you’re writing academically and aren’t being required to adhere to another style guide, this is typically what you should follow in your work.

  • Spell out any number that would only take one or two words to write.
  • Those two-word numbers? Hyphenate them, e.g., ninety-nine.

However you choose to handle writing out numbers in your work, stay consistent throughout. There should be an internal logic to your choices to help ensure clarity.

Microsoft 365 Logo

Get started with Microsoft 365

It’s the Office you know, plus the tools to help you work better together, so you can get more done—anytime, anywhere.

Topics in this article

More articles like this one.

writing out numbers in sentences

Why our keyboard layouts are the way they are

Type sentences quickly by understanding the standard keyboard layout. Learn about the QWERTY keyboard layout and alternative layout options.

writing out numbers in sentences

When to use cannot versus can not

Cannot or can not? Learn when to use each, master their differences, and boost your writing accuracy.

writing out numbers in sentences

What is forensic linguistics?

Forensic linguistics is employed by legal authorities to help solve crimes. Understand how forensic linguistics works, and how it benefits the legal system.

writing out numbers in sentences

Understanding the quibble plot device

Plot devices like quibbles are great tools for enhancing a storyline and keeping readers engaged. Learn what a quibble is and how to use them in your writing.

Everything you need to achieve more in less time

Get powerful productivity and security apps with Microsoft 365

LinkedIn Logo

Explore Other Categories

Have a language expert improve your writing

Run a free plagiarism check in 10 minutes, generate accurate citations for free.

  • Knowledge Base
  • Academic writing
  • Writing numbers: words and numerals

APA Style Guidelines for Numbers | Words or Numerals?

Published on August 7, 2015 by Sarah Vinz . Revised on July 23, 2023.

Numbers can be written either as words (e.g., one hundred) or numerals (e.g., 100). In this article we follow the guidelines of APA Style , one of the most common style guides used in academic writing .

In general, words should be used for numbers from zero through nine, and numerals should be used from 10 onwards. This is true for both cardinal numbers (e.g., two, 11) and ordinal numbers (e.g., second, 11 th ). However, there are some important exceptions to this rule.

Note that other style guides, such as Chicago Style,  address numbers differently (for example, in Chicago, you use words for numbers up to 100). Regardless of what style guide you follow, the most important thing is to be consistent in how you treat numbers throughout your document.

Instantly correct all language mistakes in your text

Upload your document to correct all your mistakes in minutes

upload-your-document-ai-proofreader

Table of contents

Writing percentages, reporting statistical results that include numbers, writing numbers that are accompanied by measurements, writing long numbers, consistency may not be obvious, other interesting articles.

Use numerals for numbers from zero to nine that are followed by a precise unit of measurement.

The samples measured 7 cm in diameter. (“cm” is a unit of measurement)

But: These three samples were subjected to further testing.

Use words for any number that is used to start a sentence, with the exception of years.

Seventy-two thousand ink cartridges are sold every day.

Nineteenth-century novels often feature complicated plot lines.

But: 2008 saw record olive crops throughout the Mediterranean.

Use words for common fractions and set expressions.

According to the survey, two thirds of the employees are dissatisfied.

Understanding the Five Pillars of Islam is a critical first step.

The Fourth of July is traditionally marked by a firework display.

The only proofreading tool specialized in correcting academic writing - try for free!

The academic proofreading tool has been trained on 1000s of academic texts and by native English editors. Making it the most accurate and reliable proofreading tool for students.

writing out numbers in sentences

Try for free

With percentages, the standard is to use numerals and “%” (not “percent”).

According to the report, 45% of the workforce is employed in the service sector. Only 6% currently work in agriculture.

The main exception is if you are using a percentage to begin a sentence. In this case, use words to express the entire percentage.

Thirteen percent of the patients reported that their symptoms improved after taking the experimental drug.

If your paper includes quantitative research, you probably have data to report. Statistics, mathematical functions, ratios, and percentages are all written using numerals. This is true regardless of whether they are included within a table or as part of the actual text. Keep the following guidelines in mind:

  • Report most statistics to two decimal places (such as M = 5.44).
  • Report statistics that could never exceed 1.0 to three decimal places (such as p < .001).
  • If a value has the potential to exceed 1.0, use the leading zero. If a value can never exceed 1.0, do not use the leading zero.
  • Italicize values that are not Greek letters (such as M , SD , p , and F ).
  • Include spaces before and after =, >, and <.

The average IQ of the participants was relatively high ( M = 137.33, SD = 4.54).

The results of the second test were statistically significant, t (12) = 4.11, p < .05.

There are further detailed guidelines about reporting statistics in APA .

If a number comes immediately before a unit of measurement, use numerals.

Each patient received  5 mg  of the experimental drug.

The tallest participant was 2.03 m .

Also use numerals for precise ages, times, dates, scores, points on a scale, and amounts of money.

The final score of Ghana 2, Brazil 1 did not represent a decisive victory.

Children under 8 years receive a $50 discount.

But: Most girls start reading when they are about five years old. (“about” makes the number imprecise)

Check for common mistakes

Use the best grammar checker available to check for common mistakes in your text.

Fix mistakes for free

Longer numbers follow specific rules:

  • Use a period to indicate a decimal point.
  • Starting with 1,000, use commas to separate every three digits.

The region has an average of 43.75 doctors for every 10,000 people.

Some predict that the number of users will reach 2 billion by 2020.

One of the main reasons why writing numbers is complicated is that consistently applying the rules may lead to a text that actually seems very in consistent. Consider the following paragraphs:

At about the age of seven , the girl’s height was 1.47 m. This placed her in the fifth percentile, although her weight placed her in the top 7% of her class. By the time she was 9 years old, she was taller than half of the boys in her year. Five years later, she was still ranked 15 th .

Thirteen thousand viewers watched the performance of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night from the park, while another 2,000 watched from the surrounding buildings and 1.2 million watched it on television. As one  out of every 11 residents saw at least part of the play, this one event can definitely be considered a success.

These texts may look awkward because so many different number formats have been used, but don’t be deceived – the above guidelines have all been followed.

If you are not required to strictly follow a particular style (such as APA format ), you may have some flexibility to modify the guidelines presented in this article. Just be sure to apply any modifications you make throughout your entire document.

If you want to know more about AI for academic writing, AI tools, or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

  • Begging the question fallacy
  • Hasty generalization fallacy
  • Equivocation fallacy
  • False cause fallacy
  • Sunk cost fallacy
  • Deep learning
  • Generative AI
  • Machine learning
  • Reinforcement learning
  • Supervised vs. unsupervised learning

 (AI) Tools

  • Grammar Checker
  • Paraphrasing Tool
  • Text Summarizer
  • AI Detector
  • Plagiarism Checker
  • Citation Generator

Cite this Scribbr article

If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.

Vinz, S. (2023, July 23). APA Style Guidelines for Numbers | Words or Numerals?. Scribbr. Retrieved February 19, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/academic-writing/numbers/

Is this article helpful?

Sarah Vinz

Sarah's academic background includes a Master of Arts in English, a Master of International Affairs degree, and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. She loves the challenge of finding the perfect formulation or wording and derives much satisfaction from helping students take their academic writing up a notch.

Other students also liked

Reporting statistics in apa style | guidelines & examples, using abbreviations and acronyms, language mistakes in quotes, what is your plagiarism score.

Rules for Writing out Numbers

Reviewing the Rules

  • Writing Essays
  • Writing Research Papers
  • English Grammar
  • M.Ed., Education Administration, University of Georgia
  • B.A., History, Armstrong State University

Why do so many people find it difficult to remember the rules for using numbers in formal writing ? Probably because the rules seem a little fuzzy sometimes.

So what can you do? It's no mystery: as with anything, read and study the rules several times, and it will all seem natural, eventually.

Writing Numbers One through Ten

Spell out numbers one through ten, as in this example:

  • My little brother ate four apples before dinner and became ill.
  • Why do parents always check to see if babies have ten toes?

Writing Numbers Above Ten

Spell out numbers above ten, unless writing the number would involve using more than two words. For example:

  • I have sixty-three dead bugs in my collection.
  • My cousin has 207 bugs in his.
  • This site has given me a thousand helpful hints for my homework.
  • My grandmother is seventy-two today.
  • My little sister had about 4,763 measles on her face.

Always Spell Out Numbers that Begin Sentences

It would look odd to begin a sentence with a numeral.

  • Four hundred fifty people attended the birthday party.

However, you should try to avoid using long, clunky numbers at the beginning of a sentence. Instead of writing that four hundred and fifty people attended a party, you could re-write:

  • There were 450 people at the party.

Dates, Phone Numbers, and Time

Use numbers for dates:

  • My birthday is on March 16.
  • He was born on Valentines Day, 1975.

And use numbers for phone numbers:

  • The phone number for the school is 800-555-6262
  • The international code for England is 44.

And use numbers for telling time if using a.m. or p.m.:

  • The alarm will sound at 7 p.m.
  • I make my bed at 7 a.m. each morning.

But spell out times when using "o'clock" or when the a.m. or p.m. are omitted:

  • The alarm will sound at seven o'clock.
  • I make my bed at seven each morning.
  • Cardinal Number
  • Expressing Numbers in English
  • German Numbers and Counting From 0 to 20
  • Fun French Number Practice For the Classroom
  • How To Tell Time in Spanish
  • Absolute Beginner English Telling Time
  • 10 Tips for Using Abbreviations Correctly
  • Telling Time in French
  • Learn Basic Counting and Numbers in Japanese
  • The Basics of Associated Press Style
  • Teaching and Learning Numbers in English: ESL Beginner Lessons
  • Learn to Count to Ten in Greek
  • 1942 - Anne Frank Goes Into Hiding
  • Syllabus for Beginner Business English Course - Part I: Lessons 1 - 9
  • Pre Algebra Worksheets for Writing Expressions
  • Best Practices for the Most Effective Use of Paragraphs
  • NAU Editorial Style Guide
  • Abbreviations and acronyms
  • Capitalization
  • Diversity Writing Style Guide
  • Inclusive writing
  • Numbers and Dates

Punctuation

  • Writing tips
  • Writing about Flagstaff and Northern Arizona University
  • Treatment of titles
  • Non Discrimination Statement
  • Contact Information

Links on this page

General rules, multiple numbers in a sentence, room numbers, telephone numbers, years: decades and centuries.

University Marketing [email protected] 928-523-1741 nau.edu/university-marketing

Numbers and dates

  • Twenty-seven students received the Gold Axe Award.
  • “I told you a hundred times to stop biting your nails.”
  • addresses: 3 Knoles Dr.
  • ages, for people and objects: 2-year-old boy, 1-year-old book
  • credit hours: 9 credits of required courses
  • dates: January 8
  • dimensions: 5 feet high, 4-by-9 inches
  • highways: Route 5
  • millions, billions: 6 million students
  • money: 5 cents, $7
  • percent: 5 percent (running text), 5% (scientific text or tabular material)
  • temperatures: 9 degrees
  • times : 9 a.m.
  • A note on statistics on the NAU21 web theme: Please don’t use statistics outside of stats blocks. Statistics can and often do change every year and thus would be best served dynamically through the content repository. By keeping statistics in their stats blocks, we can maintain accuracy. Check the repository or source a stat for yourself and format it correctly.
  • Numerals may occasionally be used to meet design requirements on a case-by-case basis.

Running text

In running text, write dates and times in chronological order beginning with the hour.

6 p.m., June 6, 2018

Days of the month

When writing days of the month, do not use th, nd,  or st .

Incorrect: May 15th, June 21st, July 22nd Correct: May 15, June 21, July 22

Use a comma following the day and year in a complete date, but omit the comma when citing only the month and year.

The concert took place on Tuesday, January 23, 2017, at Ardrey Auditorium. We saw the beginning of a great ski season in November 2018.

Spell out and hyphenate fractions: four-fifths, three-fourths.

If a sentence includes multiple numbers that apply to the same thing or category, and if one of the numbers requires a numeral (10 or greater), use numerals for all the quantities of that category.

Candidates for the faculty senate include 7 engineering and science professors, 6 arts and letters professors, 11 education professors, and 15 professors from three other colleges. (Spell out three because it identifies number of colleges, not number of faculty.)

Spell out ordinals first through ninth used to indicate time or place.

Superscripts

Use superscripts when possible for print and digital materials using numerical ordinals.

  • Example: The 20 th century saw remarkable progress in technology and medicine.

Do not include subscripts or superscripts for dates. See dates for more information.

  • He ranked third out of 300 applicants.
  • The 20 th century saw remarkable progress in technology and medicine.

In running text, spell out the word percent with the numeral. Use the percent sign (%) in scientific, technical, or statistical copy or when appropriate to the design.

Professor Small found that 63 percent of the student enrollment is female. Water temperatures have increased 17%–22% in coastal zones.

Room numbers should follow the name of the building. Do not capitalize room in running text. Capitalize room when it is part of a stacked address. In instances of print and copy, it is not useful to include building numbers. For a complete list of NAU buildings see the reference page .

The history department office is located in Liberal Arts 219. The meeting will be held in Adel Mathematics, room 150.

Cline Library, Room 201 1001 S. Knoles Dr.

Do not use parentheses for area codes. Phone numbers should only include dashes.

928-555-5555

Contact blocks

For full contact block formatting, reference the addresses page .

In running text, it is preferable to spell out the decade or use the full numeric decade. Do not use an ’s in numeric decades.

the nineties the 1990s (not 1990’s)

Abbreviations

Use the abbreviated numeric decade format only in informal copy or in lists where space is limited. Do not use an abbreviated format if it creates any confusion about the century.

Inclusive years

Unless referring to century changes, inclusive years should be styled with only the last two digits of the second number.

1999–2000 2001–02

  • Readers Read
  • Screenwriting
  • Songwriting
  • Writing Contests

NBF Expands National Book Awards Eligibility Criteria

Striking Writers and Actors March Together on Hollywood Streets

Vice Media Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Oprah Selects The Covenant of Water as 101st Book Club Pick

Ed Sheeran Wins Copyright Lawsuit Over Marvin Gaye Song

  • Self-publishing
  • Technical Writing
  • Writing Prompts

writing out numbers in sentences

writing out numbers in sentences

Create a form in Word that users can complete or print

In Word, you can create a form that others can fill out and save or print.  To do this, you will start with baseline content in a document, potentially via a form template.  Then you can add content controls for elements such as check boxes, text boxes, date pickers, and drop-down lists. Optionally, these content controls can be linked to database information.  Following are the recommended action steps in sequence.  

Show the Developer tab

In Word, be sure you have the Developer tab displayed in the ribbon.  (See how here:  Show the developer tab .)

Open a template or a blank document on which to base the form

You can start with a template or just start from scratch with a blank document.

Start with a form template

Go to File > New .

In the  Search for online templates  field, type  Forms or the kind of form you want. Then press Enter .

In the displayed results, right-click any item, then select  Create. 

Start with a blank document 

Select Blank document .

Add content to the form

Go to the  Developer  tab Controls section where you can choose controls to add to your document or form. Hover over any icon therein to see what control type it represents. The various control types are described below. You can set properties on a control once it has been inserted.

To delete a content control, right-click it, then select Remove content control  in the pop-up menu. 

Note:  You can print a form that was created via content controls. However, the boxes around the content controls will not print.

Insert a text control

The rich text content control enables users to format text (e.g., bold, italic) and type multiple paragraphs. To limit these capabilities, use the plain text content control . 

Click or tap where you want to insert the control.

Rich text control button

To learn about setting specific properties on these controls, see Set or change properties for content controls .

Insert a picture control

A picture control is most often used for templates, but you can also add a picture control to a form.

Picture control button

Insert a building block control

Use a building block control  when you want users to choose a specific block of text. These are helpful when you need to add different boilerplate text depending on the document's specific purpose. You can create rich text content controls for each version of the boilerplate text, and then use a building block control as the container for the rich text content controls.

building block gallery control

Select Developer and content controls for the building block.

Developer tab showing content controls

Insert a combo box or a drop-down list

In a combo box, users can select from a list of choices that you provide or they can type in their own information. In a drop-down list, users can only select from the list of choices.

combo box button

Select the content control, and then select Properties .

To create a list of choices, select Add under Drop-Down List Properties .

Type a choice in Display Name , such as Yes , No , or Maybe .

Repeat this step until all of the choices are in the drop-down list.

Fill in any other properties that you want.

Note:  If you select the Contents cannot be edited check box, users won’t be able to click a choice.

Insert a date picker

Click or tap where you want to insert the date picker control.

Date picker button

Insert a check box

Click or tap where you want to insert the check box control.

Check box button

Use the legacy form controls

Legacy form controls are for compatibility with older versions of Word and consist of legacy form and Active X controls.

Click or tap where you want to insert a legacy control.

Legacy control button

Select the Legacy Form control or Active X Control that you want to include.

Set or change properties for content controls

Each content control has properties that you can set or change. For example, the Date Picker control offers options for the format you want to use to display the date.

Select the content control that you want to change.

Go to Developer > Properties .

Controls Properties  button

Change the properties that you want.

Add protection to a form

If you want to limit how much others can edit or format a form, use the Restrict Editing command:

Open the form that you want to lock or protect.

Select Developer > Restrict Editing .

Restrict editing button

After selecting restrictions, select Yes, Start Enforcing Protection .

Restrict editing panel

Advanced Tip:

If you want to protect only parts of the document, separate the document into sections and only protect the sections you want.

To do this, choose Select Sections in the Restrict Editing panel. For more info on sections, see Insert a section break .

Sections selector on Resrict sections panel

If the developer tab isn't displayed in the ribbon, see Show the Developer tab .

Open a template or use a blank document

To create a form in Word that others can fill out, start with a template or document and add content controls. Content controls include things like check boxes, text boxes, and drop-down lists. If you’re familiar with databases, these content controls can even be linked to data.

Go to File > New from Template .

New from template option

In Search, type form .

Double-click the template you want to use.

Select File > Save As , and pick a location to save the form.

In Save As , type a file name and then select Save .

Start with a blank document

Go to File > New Document .

New document option

Go to File > Save As .

Go to Developer , and then choose the controls that you want to add to the document or form. To remove a content control, select the control and press Delete. You can set Options on controls once inserted. From Options, you can add entry and exit macros to run when users interact with the controls, as well as list items for combo boxes, .

Adding content controls to your form

In the document, click or tap where you want to add a content control.

On Developer , select Text Box , Check Box , or Combo Box .

Developer tab with content controls

To set specific properties for the control, select Options , and set .

Repeat steps 1 through 3 for each control that you want to add.

Set options

Options let you set common settings, as well as control specific settings. Select a control and then select Options to set up or make changes.

Set common properties.

Select Macro to Run on lets you choose a recorded or custom macro to run on Entry or Exit from the field.

Bookmark Set a unique name or bookmark for each control.

Calculate on exit This forces Word to run or refresh any calculations, such as total price when the user exits the field.

Add Help Text Give hints or instructions for each field.

OK Saves settings and exits the panel.

Cancel Forgets changes and exits the panel.

Set specific properties for a Text box

Type Select form Regular text, Number, Date, Current Date, Current Time, or Calculation.

Default text sets optional instructional text that's displayed in the text box before the user types in the field. Set Text box enabled to allow the user to enter text into the field.

Maximum length sets the length of text that a user can enter. The default is Unlimited .

Text format can set whether text automatically formats to Uppercase , Lowercase , First capital, or Title case .

Text box enabled Lets the user enter text into a field. If there is default text, user text replaces it.

Set specific properties for a Check box .

Default Value Choose between Not checked or checked as default.

Checkbox size Set a size Exactly or Auto to change size as needed.

Check box enabled Lets the user check or clear the text box.

Set specific properties for a Combo box

Drop-down item Type in strings for the list box items. Press + or Enter to add an item to the list.

Items in drop-down list Shows your current list. Select an item and use the up or down arrows to change the order, Press - to remove a selected item.

Drop-down enabled Lets the user open the combo box and make selections.

Protect the form

Go to Developer > Protect Form .

Protect form button on the Developer tab

Note:  To unprotect the form and continue editing, select Protect Form again.

Save and close the form.

Test the form (optional)

If you want, you can test the form before you distribute it.

Protect the form.

Reopen the form, fill it out as the user would, and then save a copy.

Creating fillable forms isn’t available in Word for the web.

You can create the form with the desktop version of Word with the instructions in Create a fillable form .

When you save the document and reopen it in Word for the web, you’ll see the changes you made.

Facebook

Need more help?

Want more options.

Explore subscription benefits, browse training courses, learn how to secure your device, and more.

writing out numbers in sentences

Microsoft 365 subscription benefits

writing out numbers in sentences

Microsoft 365 training

writing out numbers in sentences

Microsoft security

writing out numbers in sentences

Accessibility center

Communities help you ask and answer questions, give feedback, and hear from experts with rich knowledge.

writing out numbers in sentences

Ask the Microsoft Community

writing out numbers in sentences

Microsoft Tech Community

writing out numbers in sentences

Windows Insiders

Microsoft 365 Insiders

Was this information helpful?

Thank you for your feedback.

IMAGES

  1. When to Spell Out Numbers in Writing: Important Rules and Examples • 7ESL

    writing out numbers in sentences

  2. Write Numbers in words

    writing out numbers in sentences

  3. Write Number Sentences to Describe Problem Situations Activity Sheet

    writing out numbers in sentences

  4. Writing numbers in words means writing numbers using alphabets. After

    writing out numbers in sentences

  5. English numbers with writing in sentences

    writing out numbers in sentences

  6. When to Spell Out Numbers

    writing out numbers in sentences

VIDEO

  1. Write the following numbers in words

  2. How to build up sentences using numbers and the vocabulary #sheelateacher#youtubeshorts #shortsfeed

  3. Writing numbers from 1 to 10 with spellings / Learn to count 123 numbers / 1 to 10 counting

  4. Write the between number

  5. Write the before number

  6. Find the ODD One Out

COMMENTS

  1. Rules for Writing Numbers

    When writing out a number of three or more digits, the word and is not necessary. However, use the word and to express any decimal points that may accompany these numbers. Examples: five thousand two hundred eighty feet one thousand one hundred fifty-four dollars one thousand one hundred fifty-four dollars and sixty-one cents

  2. When Should I Spell Out Numbers?

    Grammarly. Updated on December 23, 2020 Grammar. It is generally best to write out numbers from zero to one hundred in nontechnical writing. In scientific and technical writing, the prevailing style is to write out numbers under ten. While there are exceptions to these rules, your predominant concern should be expressing numbers consistently.

  3. Numbers: Writing Numbers

    Write out numbers beginning sentences. Six percent of the group failed. NOT: 6% of the group failed. Use a combination of figures and words for numbers when such a combination will keep your writing clear. Unclear: The club celebrated the birthdays of 6 90-year-olds who were born in the city. (may cause the reader to read '690' as one number.)

  4. Rules for Writing Numbers: Know When To Spell Them Out

    Read on to find ways to remember the rules for when to write out numbers! ... When you're writing a sentence that has two numbers side-by-side that aren't part of a related list, you'll need to adjust the text for clarity. In this case, it is best to write one number as a word and the other as a numeral.

  5. When to Spell Out Numbers According to Different Style Guides

    When to Spell Out Numbers According to Different Style Guides. Written by MasterClass. Last updated: Jul 16, 2021 • 4 min read. Different editorial style manuals have different rules for when to spell out numbers instead of using numerals. Here are a few examples of when to spell out numbers, and when to use numerals.

  6. Writing Numbers: How to Write Numbers Correctly (Examples)

    For example: I love the fashion in the sixties. I love the fashion in the 60s. I love the fashion in the 1960s. The same rule applies to centuries: spell it out in formal writing, but numerals are acceptable the rest of the time. This is the twenty-first century, you know. This is the 21st century, you know.

  7. When to Spell Out Numbers in Writing: Guide and Examples

    A simple rule for using numbers in writing is that small numbers ranging from one to ten (or one to nine, depending on the style guide) should generally be spelled out. Larger numbers (i.e., above ten) are written as numerals. For example, instead of writing "It cost ten-thousand four-hundred and sixteen dollars to renovate the local library ...

  8. Writing Numbers

    Regarding whether to write out numbers or use numerals, Rule 1 in our Grammarbook "Writing Numbers" section says, "Spell out single-digit whole numbers. Use numerals for numbers greater than nine." ... "Write out a number if it begins a sentence." Thank you for pointing out the dialogue rule. Sunny says: February 2, 2013, at 10:26 am.

  9. Writing Numbers—A Quick Guide

    When To Spell Out Numbers. When writing numbers, deciding to use digits (e.g., "7") versus words (e.g., "seven") varies from writer to writer and style guide to style guide.If you're writing for a publication like a newspaper, magazine, or online blog, you should ask what their rules are for writing numbers.Otherwise, using numbers or words is up to you.

  10. How To Write Out Numbers Using Words

    The easiest way to tackle it is to work slowly and deliberately through the number. Start with the largest amounts on the left and work your way toward the decimal point on the right. Say the figure out loud and write it as you say it—just remember to only use "and" in place of a decimal point.

  11. Numerals vs. Words for Numbers

    The general rule is to spell out numbers from zero to nine, and use numerals for numbers from 10 onward. Exceptions exist—for example, words instead of figures are used at the start of a sentence. The different style manuals also have their own specific guidelines about spelling out numbers versus writing them as figures (or numerals).

  12. When to Write Out Numbers: What Chicago, APA, and MLA Say About

    Spelling Out Numbers: The General Rule. The most generally accepted rules for writing out numbers in non-scientific and non-technical contexts are as follows: Spell out all numbers between zero and ten. When numbers are used to start a sentence, they should always be spelled out. Example: Twenty-four thousand applications were submitted in 2018.

  13. 10 Rules for Writing Numbers and Numerals

    9. Two numbers next to each other. It can be confusing if you write "7 13-year-olds", so write one of them as a numeral, like "seven 13-year-olds". Pick the number that has the fewest letters. 10. Ordinal numbers and consistency. Don't say "He was my 1st true love," but rather "He was my first true love.".

  14. Writing numbers Grammar & Punctuation Rules

    Normally the number 9 would be spelled out, but it is easier to read the sentence when both numbers are written as numerals. When a number is the first word in a sentence, it should be written out. Example: "Thirty-six ducks swam across the lake." When two numbers are next to each other, write out one and use numerals for the other.

  15. When to Spell out Numbers as Words

    Spell out numbers nine and below; use numerals for numbers above 10. Avoid starting sentences with numbers; most can be spelled out, but years must appear as numerals, so try to write the sentence a different way. Unless there are minutes to add to the hour, time of day is just one number. Money is always expressed in numerals. APA Manual ...

  16. When to Write out Numbers—Using The Chicago Manual of Style—As

    Never begin a sentence with a non-spelled-out number. Always write out the number or recast the sentence: Some 1,300 children visited the zoo yesterday. While you're at it, avoid beginning a sentence with a year. Chicago style says to "avoid a thickly clustered group of spelled-out numbers. . . .

  17. APA Style Guidelines for Numbers

    Revised on July 23, 2023. Numbers can be written either as words (e.g., one hundred) or numerals (e.g., 100). In this article we follow the guidelines of APA Style, one of the most common style guides used in academic writing. In general, words should be used for numbers from zero through nine, and numerals should be used from 10 onwards.

  18. When Do I Spell Out Numbers? (Grammar Rules)

    There are several rules of thought on how to handle writing numbers, but the most common is pretty simple. Spell out numbers under 10 (zero through nine), and use the numeric symbols for numbers 10 and up. I bought eight candy bars from the vending machine. I average eating 29 candy bars per month. There are some exceptions to the rule.

  19. Rules for Writing out Numbers

    Always Spell Out Numbers that Begin Sentences. It would look odd to begin a sentence with a numeral. Four hundred fifty people attended the birthday party. However, you should try to avoid using long, clunky numbers at the beginning of a sentence. Instead of writing that four hundred and fifty people attended a party, you could re-write:

  20. Numbers & dates

    Unless referring to century changes, inclusive years should be styled with only the last two digits of the second number. Examples. 1999-2000. 2001-02. Spell out numbers that begin a sentence: Twenty-seven students received the Gold Axe Award. Spell out numbers used in a casual sense: "I told you a hundred….

  21. When to Write Out Numbers

    The general rule is that you write out the number if it can be spelled using one or two words. For longer words you can use the number. Here are a couple examples: "There are only fifteen cookies left in the jar." "My baseball collection now includes 5,734 cards." "I walked five times around the block."

  22. How & When to Write Out Numbers

    Numbers under 10 are written out in words, as are numbers of any length that begin a sentence. With amounts less than $1.00, we write out the number and add " cents " at the end.

  23. Best practices for prompt engineering with the OpenAI API

    Below we present a number of prompt formats we find work well, but feel free to explore different formats, which may fit your task better. ... Write a short inspiring poem about OpenAI, focusing on the recent DALL-E product launch (DALL-E is a text to image ML model) in the style of a {famous poet} ... The description for this product should be ...

  24. What records are exempted from FERPA?

    Records which are kept in the sole possession of the maker of the records, are used only as a personal memory aid, and are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the records.

  25. Create a form in Word that users can complete or print

    In Word, you can create a form that others can fill out and save or print. To do this, you will start with baseline content in a document, potentially via a form template. Then you can add content controls for elements such as check boxes, text boxes, date pickers, and drop-down lists. ... Type Select form Regular text, Number, Date, Current ...