Numbers do not only show up in math assignments, but also in everyday writing. Like most things in the English language, there are rules for writing numbers. Yes, imagine that! There are certain numbers that we spell out in letters, while there are others that we only write in numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.). You have probably come across more than your fair share of ‘Top 10’ lists. Why is it not ‘Top Ten’ list? Keep reading to find out.
When using numbers in essays and reports, it is important to decide whether to write the number out in full (two hundred thousand four hundred and six) or to use numerals (200,406).
You should avoid beginning a sentence with a number that is not written out. If a sentence begins with a year, write 'The year' before writing out the year in numbers.
There are occasions where combining written numbers and numerals will clear up possible confusion. Where you have two numbers running together, write the shorter one out in words and use numerals for the longer one.
Numerals should be used for all larger numbers although the context might determine the precise usage. In technical writing such numbers should always be written using numerals. If the number is less precise, it may be possible to write the number in words.