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Writing Numbers


Writing Numbers

Writing Numbers

1. Spell out a cardinal number—a number that states how many—if it can be expressed in one or two words. Otherwise, use numerals.

Cardinal numbers are the numbers you use when you count: 1, 2, 3, and so on. 

  • one hundred cats 
  • twelve hours 
  • 294 chairs 
  • 5,280 feet


Writing Writing Numbers Note

When two or more cardinal numbers are in the same sentence, be consistent. Do not spell out one number and use numerals for the other. 

  • Of 1,550 tickets, we sold only two hundred
  • Of 1,550 tickets, we sold only 200.

2. Spell out a number that begins a sentence.

  • Ten thousand people attended the concert. [The number should be spelled out because it begins the sentence.]

A long number at the beginning of a sentence is difficult to read. You may need to revise a sentence if the spelled-out number will be longer than two or three words. 

  • One thousand seven hundred sixty yards equal one mile. [The spelled-out number is quite long.] 
  • One mile equals 1,760 yards. [The sentence was rewritten so that numerals could be used.]

3. Spell out an ordinal number—a number that expresses order.

Ordinal numbers are the numbers you use when you describe the position or order of something: first, second, third, and so on. 

  • No one remembers the third verse of the song.

4. Use numerals to express numbers in conventional situations.

Use numerals to identify roads, television channels, page numbers, and line numbers. The numbers in street addresses and dates are also written as numerals. Always use numerals to express measurements or statistics. 

  • U.S. Highway 66 
  • Interstate 95 
  • Channel
  • pages 9=29 
  • lines 6=9 
  • November 11, 1919 
  • 604 Stateline Street, Apt. 12, Houston,TX 77002 

Dates and times of day are usually written with numerals, with a few exceptions. You should spell out a number before o’clock, and you should not use A.M. or P.M. with a spelled-out number. 

  • 9:25 P.M. 
  • 3:00 A.M. 
  • 1500 B.C. 
  • A.D. 275 
  • 2001 
  • nine o’clock in the morning [The number is spelled out because it is used with o’clock. The phrase in the morning, rather than the abbreviation A.M., is used to tell the period of the day.]
Mr. ‏El-Sayed Ramadan ‎ ‎


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