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  • Category: Improve Your English

    When to put a number in a sentence in words and when as a numeral?


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    I would like to know if there is any rule as such in English for usage of numbers in a sentence. Should the number be put in words or is it OK to put it as a numeral? Or is there some rule that numbers should be put in numerical format only if these are in double digits?

    Example:
    The course is for 2 years.
    OR
    The course is for two years.
    AND
    Only if in double digits it should be written as a number, such as:
    The parcel contained 11 soaps
    INSTEAD of (not necessarily) like this:
    The parcel contained eleven soaps.

    If there is such a rule of putting numbers which are not in double digits as words, then what is the specific reason for it?
  • #590931
    As far as I know there are no rules as such as asked by the author. Why we should write the number and also in words is to have double confirmation of what is written. This is especially done on cheque and other payment receipts.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #590950
    Is there any such rule? I don't know. However, when I used to write the answer of any question in literature, I used to write the numbers in words (e.g., twenty, fifty-five, etc.). However, in case of replying Science papers or Mathematics, I used to write the numbers. Even now, I basically follow this self-made rule.
    Caution: Explosive. Handle with care.

  • #591003
    I usually see the numbers from 1 to 10 are written in words.
    Numbers above 10 is written in numerals.
    Dates and Years are written in numerals.
    Percentage marks are written in figure.
    Decimal numbers are written in figure.
    Time with a.m or p.m is written in figure.
    We have to mention the numbers in both way in forms fillings.Generally in bank.

    Service to mankind is service to God.

  • #591004
    Rule or no rule, it does not matter. The language does not look nice with numerals in it, if it can be avoided. Basically, after ten the numbers if written in words become lengthier, so writing numbers bigger than 10 is avoided and are generally written as numerals. Basically, what Partha and Indu have suggested is correct.

    @ Indu:- It depends how are we referring to time, in which format we are mentioning time. Say, 7 PM is definitely better than 'seven PM', but 7 O' clock does not look nice, for that 'seven o clock' is better and appropriate.

    Importantly, 'two liter' is better than '2 liter', but, when it comes to a decimal like 2.3 liter, then it should be '2.3 liter' and not 'two point three' liter.

    Of course, English experts can enlighten us whether there is any such written rule in English or not.

    Hope it helps.

    When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new!

  • #591005
    Gypsy,

    With reference to time:
    1. I do not see anything wrong in writing 7 o' clock.
    2. Should the letter o be in a capital letter?
    3. Should it not be 7 p.m. and not in capitalization?

    A correction in English: should it not be 'litre' and not 'liter'?

    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

  • #591006
    Indu,

    Withe regard to percentage marks - while we do generally write, for example, 80% when speaking of an exam score, I think sometimes when it comes to percentage in terms of data, some people may write it as eighty percent.

    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

  • #591007
    Vandana,

    ->Both - 'litre' and 'liter' - are correct. (British English says - litre, and American English says- liter. ) The people from old school will prefer 'litre', no doubt about that.

    -> Both - 'P M' and 'p m' are correct. I prefer uppercase for abbreviations though.

    -> "O' (capital 'O') is correct, I think.

    About '7 o' clock', if you agree to 'two liter' in place of '2 liter', then '7 o' clock' is wrong and it should be 'seven O' clock'.

    About '80%', I feel it would be better to write it as 'eighty percent' if someone wants to write correct English. But if it is '80.5%', then it would not be advisable to write '80.5' in words since it would be a lot lengthier.

    When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new!

  • #591151
    Vandana,

    Just google the words - numbers less than 10 should be spelled out.

    Here is something that I found out at two of the sites

    =>Courtesy grammar book dot com
    'The Associated Press Stylebook recommends spelling out the numbers zero through nine and using numerals thereafter—until one million is reached. Here are four examples of how to write numbers above 999,999 in AP style: 1 million; 20 million; 20,040,086; 2.7 trillion."

    =>Courtesy Stack exchange dot com
    "The APA version 6 style manual has an entire section starting from 4.31 on how to present numbers in text.
    The manual does include a general rule that numbers 10 and above should be expressed as numerals, but there are a wide range of exceptions. "

    => Courtsey (apvschicago.com/2011/05/numbers-spell-out-or-use-numerals.html)

    "Basic Number Rules (for Nontechnical Copy)

    ==>>>AP (p. 203):
    Spell out whole numbers up to (and including) nine (e.g., zero, one, 10, 96, 104).

    ==>>>Chicago (9.2-4, 9.8):
    Spell out whole numbers up to (and including) one hundred (e.g., zero, one, ten, ninety-six, 104).

    Hope it helps & suffices !

    When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new!

  • #591153
    Mr. Gypsy: Thanks for the detailed information. I would try to remember.
    Caution: Explosive. Handle with care.


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