Numbers in Writing

Two Students

Using numbers in essays can be quite confusing. There is no general rule agreed upon by all writers and handbooks. Therefore, personal preference is okay as long as there is consistency throughout the essay.

Here are some basic rules to follow when deciding between spelling numbers and or using the figures.

1. Write out numbers zero to nine, or zero to one hundred. Again, this is based on the style adapted by the writer. Consequently, pick one style and remain consistent throughout the essay.

2. Spell out numbers at the beginning of the sentence.

Ex: Twenty-five students studied French in the same classroom.

3. Hyphenate compound numbers and fractions

Ex: Twenty-five
Ex: two-fifths

4. Use figures for time of day.

Ex: 12:34 pm

5. Use figures for decimals.

Ex: 0.76

6. For whole numbers greater than three digits, do not use and

Two thousand seven hundred ten

7. Spell out centuries or decades.