• The most common, Arabic numerals, are 0, 1, 2, etc.
  • Roman numerals use the letters I (1), V (5), X (10), L (50), C
    (100), D (500), M (1000) and are used number wars, sequence in family,
    rulers, vehicles, major headings in documents.
  • Cardinal numbers are 0, zero, 1, one, etc.
  • Ordinal numbers are 1st, first, 2nd, second, etc.
  • In general, write out the first nine cardinal (1-9) numbers
    (except for address numbers 2-9, dates, decimals, game scores, highways,
    latitude/longitude, mathematical expressions, measurement/weight,
    money/financial data, percentages, proportion, scientific expressions,
    statistics, technical expressions, temperature, time, unit modifiers,
    votes, and numbers not written out in a proper noun) and any number that
    begins a sentence; use figures for 10 and above.
  • The first nine ordinal (1st-9th) numbers are usually written
    out, especially when describing order in time or location.
  • Governmental, political, and military units numbered one hundred
    or less are usually written out. Labor unions and other organizations often use figures.
  • Numbers of one million and above are easier to read if written
    as figures with the word `million’, `billion’, etc.
  • Written-out numbers between 21 and 99 and hyphenated.
  • Figures of four digits may be written with or without a comma.
  • Numbers of checks, contracts, military hours, pages, policies,
    rooms/suites, streets, telephone numbers, and years are written without
  • Check, telephone, and serial numbers may contain hyphens.
  • A fraction used as a modifier is hyphenated, e.g. three-quarter
  • A fraction used with a whole number is written as a figure,
    e.g. 5 1/2, as are measurements that are fractions, e.g. 1/10 mile.
  • A measurement as a modifier is hyphenated, e.g. nine-pound boy.
  • Numbers in a series or set are written alike, e.g. `50 to 60
  • Street names that are numbers are written out, but may also be
    written as figures from 13 and over.
  • Document divisions are usually written as figures, e.g. Psalm
    100, page 7.
  • Ordinal numbers are not used in full dates; commas are not used
    in between just a month and year.
  • Money designations of one or two words are often written out,
    e.g. one dollar.
  • Times are usually spelled out in text and may be when used with
    `o’clock’. Figures are used for exact times, e.g. 8:13. Times may be used with a.m./A.M.,
    p.m./P.M., `o’clock’, or `in the ~’ but those designations should not be
  • Year and page numbers may omit hundreds and replace with a
    dash, e.g. 1989-90, pp 140-50.
  • If an abbreviation or symbol is used with a number, it should
    be written as a figure.
  • Numbers should not be divided at the end of lines.
  • Plurals of written-out numbers are formed by adding `s’ or
  • Plurals of figures are formed by adding `s’ or `’s’.

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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