All About Numbers
The one mistake I see countless times and hear a good amount of complains about is numerals. It can be hard to figure out when you need to write it out or to use the numeral. Luckily I will give you a couple of tricks that will keep you and me happy.
The More Than 10 Rule
An easy rule to follow is how high the number is. Any number that is 10 or more gets written as a numeral. But if it were that easy there would be no problems would there. No. It also depends on whether or not you are using the number as a figure for an amount or metaphorically. When it comes to an amount you use the number, but metaphorically you write it out. Nothing is more annoying than someone who cannot figure out which is which.
Now for me to open up this bag of worms even further. For the most part you will use numerals when it comes to an address. But you do have to write numbers out when it is a street name from one through nine. Ex: He lives on Ninth St. The best way to write out addresses is how you would see them in an address book. With some abbreviations of course. But more of that later. For now there is one more rule to know when it comes to numbers.
Money, Percents and Years
In all of these cases you use numerals. But each has a special case. When it comes to money you use figures up to the hundreds of thousands, or six figures. Once you reach the millions do us all a favor and use the numeral and then just spell out million ex: $6 million.
As for percents try not to go overboard. This isn’t a science or math class where you write out over a hundred zeros past the decimal. When it comes to AP style you go to the nearest hundredth. This is newspaper and magazine writing and you simply do not have the room to be so exact.
Now I will end on an easy one for you. When it comes to years you will always use numerals. The only difference is when it comes to a decade in time you can leave off the first two numbers, unless of course it’s before the 1900s.
Millions Of Times
It all looks easy on whether or not a number should be written out or kept as a numeral, but I have seen countless writers not know the difference. And yes even if it is less than one percent or a dollar you still have to use numerals. But keeping these simple tips in mind you will reduce the amount of hair your editor will be pulling out looking at your paper.