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7 Rules For Writing Numbers And Numerals

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    Everyone uses numbers in their writing, but not everyone knows the correct procedure for writing number and numerals. This is a source of confusion for many people.

    To clear things up for you, here are 7 simple rules for writing numbers and numerals.

    Number vs. Numeral

    If you are writing single digit number, you should always use the word equivalent.

    For example, instead of writing the number 9, you would use the word nine.

    For double digit numerals 10 and over, use figures to represent the number.

    Never start a sentence with a numeral

    The exception to the above rule, however, is to never start a sentence with a figure.

    Instead, you should either rewrite the sentence so that it starts with a word or use the word equivalent of the number.

    Using comma for number

    In English, a comma should be used between every third number on large numbers (four digits or more) to make them easier to read and periods should be used to denote decimals (examples: 10,000 and 2.5).

    In Continental Europe, however, periods should be used on large numbers and commas should be used to denote decimals (examples: 25.000 and 3,8).

    Spell out centuries and decades

    When referring to large periods of time, like centuries or decades, the word equivalent should be used.

    So if you are writing about fashion trends from 1990 to 1999, then you would use the word nineties.

    For those that want to use incomplete numbers to stylistically refer to a decade, you must use an apostrophe before the number only (example: ‘70s or ‘90s).

    Dealing with large values

    The correct way of writing numbers and numerals that are very large and rounded, is to use the figure followed by the word equivalent of the value of the number.

    For example, you would write 4 million instead of the entire figure 4,000,000.

    Percentage expression

    When expressing fractions, always use figures (example: 3/5) However, if you are starting a sentence with the fraction, then you would use the word equivalents (example: three-fifths of a glass of water).

    Decimal rules

    When it comes to writing numbers and numerals that are decimals, you need to put a zero in front of the period (example: $0.65).

    The only time this is not true is if the first number after the decimal is a zero. Then you would leave the zero off (example: .07).

    Writing numbers and numerals in a grammatically correct way is not complex. Just take a moment to commit these seven easy rules to memory so you’ll always know what to do when it comes to handling numbers and numerals in your writing.

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