ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

I got your number – 10 grammar tips for numbers.

Updated on June 5, 2012

LESLIE A. PANFIL


The rules of grammar and the nuances of impeccable writing styles are a complicated mix of seemingly contradictory rules. No wonder committing these outwardly confusing rules to memory feels like an exercise in futility. But, since we are frequently judged by our use or misuse of ‘proper’ grammar, it behooves one to attempt to master the finer points of writing.


Regardless of what I write or what is covered in the stacks of books on grammar found in the library, you will also want to refer to your company’s style book. And, if it has been a while since you have set foot in a composition class, you may want to brush up because some of the rules have changed.


At the beginning. As a general rule, I don’t like to start sentences with a number. But, if you must start a sentence with a number, no matter how large it may be, it should be spelled out. The one exception to this rule is when a sentence begins with a year. Example: 1996 was a good year for manufacturing sectors.

Hyphenate it. Use a hyphen (not a dash) between two dates and between two page numbers.

Example: Right: 2003 – 2004 Wrong: 2003-2004

The hyphen symbol can be found in most word processing programs under insert – symbol. Programs such as Microsoft Word will convert your dash to a hyphen when you add a space or hard return.


Figures vs. spelling. Use figures for numbers above nine. Spell out all numbers under 10.

Example: There were 35 members in attendance.

All but two of the members forgot their credentials.

Figures should be used for the following:

Ages

Dimensions

Sums of money

Speeds

Time of day

Percentages/ Proportions

Addresses

Years

Days of the month

Temperatures

Votes

Scores


Ordinal numbers. Figures should be used for ordinal numbers greater than ninth. Example: He was the master 26th person to cross the finish line. She won sixth place at the science fair.

Marking Time. Centuries and decades should be spelled out. Example: He was the most innovative man of the twentieth century. To write decades in incomplete numeral form, place the apostrophe before the missing digits. Right: That trend was popular in the ‘60s.

Huge Numbers. When you get into the millions and billions, you should simplify. Example: There are 20 million products still in use. This holds true for sums of money also. Example: The company is still $53 million dollars in debt. Use commas with numbers more than four or more figures. Example: There are 4,000 of these products still on the market.

More Simplicity. Use $5 rather than $5.00 and 1 p.m. in place of 1:00 p.m.

Roman numerals should only be used when they are part of a name or a title.
Example: Henry IV or World War II.

Clarity. For the sake of clarity avoid placing two numbers back-to-back in a sentence – Like in this example: There were 19 7th grade students in attendance.

Consistency. Numbers in a sentence are like tenses. You need to stay consistent through the sentence.

Right: Of the 20 students enrolled, only 4 had passing grades. – or –

Of the twenty students enrolled, only four had passing grades.

Since this is a rule that can go either way, it is a good idea to refer to you publisher’s style handbook.


Writing is a craft requiring a lifetime to master. In a day and age where everyone texts, tweets and posts writing riddled with errors it is easy to think no one is looking. But, believe me they are!


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 

      6 years ago from The City of Generals

      Oh Leslie, thank you for this, I've learned! I hope you have more hubs like this :=) Very useful article. Voted up!

    • Laci Ledbetter profile image

      Laci Ledbetter 

      6 years ago from Fayetteville, Arkansas

      Grammar is so important! Voted up!

    • bmcoll3278 profile image

      bmcoll3278 

      6 years ago from Longmont, Colorado

      Thank you very much, I am working hard on my grammar. Im going to your profile now ,in hopes that you have a hub on punctuation. Voted up

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)