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Conventional and Non-Conventional Uses. Numbers “There is no safety in numbers, or in anything else.” James Thurber New Yorker, Feb. 4, 1939, "The Fairly Intelligent Fly". To Spell or Not to Spell. Spell out MLA: If number is expressed in one or two words

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Conventional and Non-Conventional Uses

Numbers“There is no safety in numbers, or in anything else.” James ThurberNew Yorker, Feb. 4, 1939, "The Fairly Intelligent Fly"

to spell or not to spell
To Spell or Not to Spell
  • Spell out
    • MLA: If number is expressed in one or two words
      • twenty, twenty-five, one hundred, four thousand
    • APA: Numbers 1 through 9
      • Only one student
      • In the last seven days
      • For 10 years
    • When sentence begins with a number
      • Four hundred is expressed as MCDX in Roman numerals.
      • One 0’clock on Friday afternoon marks the end of spring semester for me.
to spell or not to spell1
To Spell or Not to Spell
  • Don’t spell out
    • If, in a sentence, one of several numbers expresses a similar idea or concept
      • Flat screen televisions can range from $400 four hundred dollars to $2,999; however, a dependable flat screen can be purchased for about $700 seven hundred dollars.
    • Days and years in a date
      • May 1, 1947
    • Addresses
      • 1100 57th Avenue North
    • Numbers that are part of a title or designation using proper nouns
      • Catch 22 (the movie)
      • Interstate 35
    • Decimals and percentages
      • 14 percent (or %, depending on convention in field or discipline)
other number issues
Other Number Issues
  • Commas and decimals with figures
    • In the United States: 4.5 (four and five-tenths); 23,000 (twenty-three thousand)
    • In some countries and cultures, decimals and commas are reversed: 4,5; 23.000
    • Decimals with large numbers: 250.3 million citizens or 1.7 billion grains of sand
  • Exact monetary amounts
    • $3.44 or $260.09
  • Scores and statistics
    • The Twins won over Chicago yesterday, 7-3.
    • The average age of a graduate student in English is 27.
    • A high GRE score in the verbal section would be above 500.
    • The study revealed a mean age of 78.
other number issues1
Other Number Issues
  • Pluralizing numbers APA and MLA
    • The 4s in the Garamond font are more elegant than those in Times New Roman
    • The 60s were turbulent years in world politics.
    • Much of the rock music lyrics of the 1970s are relevant today.
  • In designations or titles of divisions
    • Page 7
    • Chapter 14
    • Day 5 of the experiment