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Number One Rule for Writing Numbers in Sentences

First, it is important to state that grammar checkers, no matter how sophisticated, do not have the capacity to write numbers for you in the acceptable standard, especially when it comes to academic papers.


Therefore, you should pay attention to the use of acceptable standards and conventions when it comes to using numbers in sentences and also use the best thesis checker.

Using Numbers in Your Writing: What Are the Rules?

What are the accepted conventions and rule for numbers in writing? At what point is it best to use figures – digits? When is it right to express numbers in words (e.g. ten instead of 10)? Here are some helpful tips on using numbers in your writing so they won’t be words people say wrong.

When to Write Numbers in Words

Tip#1: Write one or two-word numbers in words

When it comes to writing numbers in words, especially for academic papers, you should write one or two-word numbers in words. In addition, general academic writing requires writing certain numbers in words: numbers below one hundred (such as ninety-eight), ordinal numbers (such as twenty-sixth and third) and rounded numbers (such as ten million, four thousand).

Here are some typical examples in sentences:

  • The hospital has been in existence for thirty-five years (number below 100)
  • The twenty-sixth batch of soldiers were dispatched to the war location for the fifth time (rounded number).

Tip #2: Write approximate numbers and times of the day (some) in words

For non-technical academic writing, the rule is to write approximate numbers as well as certain times of the day in words, fractions inclusive.

Here are typical examples:

  • Five times as much, thousands of times, a tenth of the students
  • Half past nine, midday, quarter to ten, 9 o’clock

Tip #3: Write numbers that start a sentence in words

If a number is starting a sentence, you should write it in words. Alternatively, you can reconstruct the sentence to avoid starting it with a number, especially if the sentence seems awkward because of the number at its beginning. However, there’s an exception: you can use a number to begin a sentence if it is date.

Here are some examples:

  • Do not write: 200 students volunteered for the community health awareness project. Instead, you should write 200 in words. So, the sentence will read:

Two hundred students volunteered for the community health awareness project.

  • Do not write: 50 percent of the participants are males. Instead, consider reconstructing the sentence like this:

The male participants constitute 50 percent of all the participants.

2015 marked the beginning of the project titled war against indiscipline. (This is permitted since the rules for using numbers in sentences allow you to start a sentence with date).

Avoiding Confusion in Using Numbers in a Sentence

rule for numbers in writing

Image credit: Neil Patel

Tip #4: When two numbers are involved

When using run-on numbers (two numbers) together, you should try as much as possible to avoid confusion. This is also necessary when multiple numbers are involved in a single sentence.

Here are typical examples:

  • (Run-on numbers) – More than 40 fifth-grade students sat for the examination. This sentence is a good way to use run-on numbers in a sentence.
  • (Run-on numbers) – The science lab has 35 twenty-centimeters length lab monitors. This is also a good way to use run-on numbers in a sentence.
  • About 10 thousand workers in the state earn more than 20,000 dollar annually. The key in this sentence is consistency. If you choose to write the numbers in words, all of them should be in words. The same rule applies if you choose to write them in numbers instead.

Writing Numbers in a Correct Manner

Tip #5: If digits are involved, you should use particular conventions such as the following:

  • Do not put commas or spaces for numbers 1-9999. Don’t include spaces in four digit numbers such as 2222.
  • Use single space for numbers 10 0000-999 999. Note that the single space is inserted in-between the hundreds and the thousands. Example: The number of people who voted is 520 301
  • Numbers starting from 1 000 000 uses single space, which is placed between millions and thousands, and also between thousands and hundreds. Example: The estimated number of people in the region as at 2 November 2012 was 1 521 608.

Tip #6: Use specific conventions to express numbers in words

If you’re asking what is the rule for writing numbers in words, the recommendation is to employ particular or specific conventions when you write numbers in words. It includes the following:

  • If you’re writing numbers greater than 999 in words, you should place a comma immediately after the word thousand, as well as million. Example: Five million, three hundred and five thousand, two hundred and twelve = 5 305 212.
  • Use hyphens when writing two digit numbers as well as fractions. Example: Fifty-three = 53, 2/5 = two-fifths.

rule for writing money in sentence

Tip #7: Using numbers for money in a sentence

For exact amount, use digits for correct punctuation. But, when large amounts and rounded amounts are involved, you should use both digits, periods, dashes, and words.

  • Exact amount: $30.12
  • Rounded and large amounts: 85 dollars, $20 million

Tip #8: When decimals are involved

For decimals, write exact amounts of the number in digits. Example: 0.51, not .51

Tip #9: When numerals are involved

If you’re writing numbers in numerals in your academic or official paper, the convention is to only use numerals for numbers starting from 10 and above.

Tip #10: When it is a survey

Also, you should write the results of a survey using digits. Example: The recent survey revealed that 10 out of 20 students performed excellently.

Additional tips for what is the rule for writing numbers in a paper:

  • In your paper’s abstract, use words to write numbers – APA convention
  • Use numerals for numbers accompanied by a unit of measurement
  • Express statistical information with digits. Example: The study involved 90 employees, 12 employers, and 5 contract staff from different companies.

Most of the tips and conventions on rules for numbers in writing are in line with the well-known standards APA standard, MLA standard, and others.

Learn how not to make mistakes by learning rule for writing numbers in your academic paper!

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