When to spell out numbers?


You have just started your career as a writer in a publishing firm. Since you have good English skills combined with adequate knowledge of sentence structure and grammar, you are put into technical department. Now your job involves writing articles on finance and capital. You are that type of person who hates maths and numbers, but still you think you can manage writing by ignoring numbers. There are specific rules in English for writing numbers. Yes, not many people know about these rules, but they are indeed universal. There are certain numbers that we spell out in letters, while there are others that we only write in numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.).

Let’s have a look on the rules

We can divide the numbers in two parts like the numbers that can be spelled and the others that need to be written in numerals.


1. Numbers that need to be spelled

Sometimes the writing numbers change according to the style.

· Numbers under 10

Numbers that come under 10 need to be spelled, for instance, one, two and three, etc.

Example: Shikha has three brothers, two younger and one elder.

· Fractions

The fraction is generally spelled unless it is a mixed fraction. It must be hyphenated.

Example: You can add one-third cup of milk in the bowl. Or

You can add 1 ½ cup of milk in the bowl.

· Numbers at the Beginning

When there is a number at the starting of a sentence, then it must be spelled.

Example: Hundred students passed the examination with distinction.


2. Numbers that needs to be numeral

When the numbers are above 10 it is written in numerals like 18, 100, etc. When you find numbers in a specific order you can keep them as it is, even if they are above 10.

Example: Alisha has bought 12 pair of jeans, 18 sets of dresses within a span of two months.

Meena has four sisters aged 5, 8, 11 and 13.

· Percentages

When a sentence begins with a percentage ratio, then it must be spelled out otherwise it can be written in numbers.

Example: He got 75% in SSC Board.

Eighty-seven percent students passed with highest marks in Maths.

· Dates and Years

If you use dates between 1st and 9th, you need not write ordinals with full dates.

Example: School reopens on June 14, 2015

· Time

While saying time you generally refer it as o'clock and to highlight an exact time you add AM or PM

Example: We eat lunch at 12 noon.

Her flight is expected to arrive at 9:17 PM

Hope the above rules can help you to improve your English writing skills. However, you need to keep them practicing so as to improve your English skills.

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