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  1. #1
    Valerie Moreau

    A step towards moving on

    I want to try to get moving again, it is going to be hard I think for all of us to get away from the TV and the news about what is happening. So I thought I would ask a question concerning writing again. When do you write a numeral and when do you use numbers. I seemed to remember something about under 10 you use words and over ten you used numbers, does anyone else recall this or have an opinion?

  2. #2
    Mary M.

    Re: A step towards moving on

    The umbrella rule is to spell out numbers from 1 through 10 and to use figures for numbers above 10.

    That is the big picture and I often refer to my most valuable reference about numbers, The Gregg Reference Manual by William A. Sabin.

  3. #3
    Ian Barker

    Re: A step towards moving on

    As an aside to this, how do you treat ages?

    I always spell out thirteen-year-old, for example, as opposed to 13 year-old.


  4. #4
    Mary M.

    For Ian

    Express ages in figures (including 1 through 10) when they are used as significant statistics or as technical measurements. Example: Ethel Kassarian, 38, has been promoted to director. Another example: A computer literary program is being offered in the schools to all 8- and 9-year olds.

    Spell out ages in nontechnical references and in formal writing. Example: My son is three years old and my daughter is two. Another example: Have you ever tried keeping a group of five-year-olds happy and under control?

    When age is expressed in years, months, and days, do not use commas to separate the elements as they make up a single unit. Example: On January 1 she will be 19 years 4 months and 17 days old.

    Reference: The Gregg Reference Manual by William A. Sabin.

  5. #5
    Mike Flashner

    Re: Valerie; numbers

    Hi Valeie,

    Try and pick up the "Harbrace College Handbook" I have the 8th edition (1977). Authors John C. Hodges & Mary E. Whitten. You can usually pick up a used one at any used book store in a college or public library.

    We have a used book store here in Las Vegas at our library. Some books are as low as $1.00 dollar. (Hard Cvr)

    Mike Flashner

  6. #6
    Victor Miller


    It can be a matter of preference. I usually write out the numbers unless it is to tell the time. After ninety-nine I use numerical type, like 1 hundred, 1 thousand it all depends on what you think is best most times but the publisher will likely change it anyway before it goes to press.


  7. #7
    Keith Postler

    Re: Val

    It's been a while since I was in a newsroom environment on deadline every day, but I seem to remember editors telling us that numbers one through nine should be spelled out, with numbers of two digits or more being written out like 10, 100, and so forth. As far as ages go, the rule of thumb I tried to follow was something like "Police described the perpetrator as a 21 year-old man ... the victim, a girl, is 13 years old ..."

    Oh, heck, another good reference material on this subject is The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White. Of course, another option would be to look at some recent best sellers and see how they handle these issues. Then again, the likes of Ann, Victoria, RBSA, or someone else who knows what they're talking about could give a better answer.


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