Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Writing Tip Wednesday--Numbers in Writing

With a graduation party for my niece, a trip to visit my daughter, my husband's aunt's funeral, vacation w/a family reunion thrown in--all in Ohio--and RWA Conference in Atlanta all within an six-week time period, I think I need to take on some more basic topics! Numbers in Writing should fit that description. Because I typically use Chicago Manual of Style as my go-to reference, I'll use their general rules. Most importantly, be consistent throughout the manuscript when you choose your style guide.

Let's keep it simple...

1) In most cases, any numbers less than one hundred should be written in words. Some exceptions--whole hundreds are almost always words. Examples: six, forty-five, eight hundred.

2) In most cases, numbers over one hundred are written as numerals. Some exceptions--whole thousands are usually written as words. Examples: 10,068 flowers, 423,648 people, two thousand, fifty thousand.

3) Years are written in numerals. Examples: 1857, 34BC.

4) Addresses are usually written in numerals and words as you'd address an envelope or business letter. Example: 804 West Main Street.

5) Fractions are written in words. Exception--whole numbers with fractions are usually written as numerals. Examples: one-half, three-quarters, 2 3/4.

6) Apartment and building numbers are usually written in numbers. Examples: Apartment 212, Building 8, apartment 5F.

7) License plates are written in numerals. Examples: 1401WIP, LS357H.

8) Prices are usually written in words for cents and whole dollars. Some exceptions--large amounts can be a mix of words and numerals. Examples: ten cents, five dollars, $480 million, six-million-dollar mansion, $100-million lawsuit.

9) Decades can be written in words or numerals. Note--no apostrophe is used. Examples: the sixties, the 60s, the 1860s.

10) Time should be written in words. Examples: twelve o'clock, seven forty-five, nine thirty, noon, midnight.

11) Never begin a sentence with numerals.

12) When in doubt, look it up!!! And be prepared for LOTS of exceptions!

Off to pack/unpack/hit the road... See you next week for Using Pronouns!

Mellanie Szereto
Romance...With A Kick!


  1. Have a great time!

    You make a valid point about no apostrophe when writing things like the 60s! I see this so many times.