pexels-photo-416322.jpegSo far the journey on the  topic AWESOME WAYS TO RAISE YOUR GRADE IN ENGLISH @ HIGH SCHOOL has taken us through these topics, which can easily be accessed here . . .

This post has special focus on USING NUMBERS IN WRITING.


Except for a few basic rules, spelling out numbers as opposed to using figures (also called numerals) is largely a matter of writers’ preference.

Again, CONSISTENCY is the key.

Spell out all numbers beginning a sentence, eg:

  • Twenty-three hundred sixty-one victims were hospitalized.
  • Nineteen fifty-six was quite a year.

Some make an exception for years, eg: 1956 was quite a year.

Hyphenate all compound numbers from twenty-one through ninety-nine, eg:

  • Forty-three people were injured in the train wreck.
  • Twenty-seven of them were hospitalized.

Hyphenate all written-out fractions, eg:

  • We recovered about two-thirds of the stolen cash.
  • One-half is slightly less than five-eighths.

However, do not hyphenate terms like a third or a half.

It is not necessary to use a decimal point or a dollar sign when writing out sums of less than a dollar, eg:

  • Not Advised: He had only $0.60.
  • Better: He had only sixty cents. OR He had only 60 cents.

Do not add the word “dollars” or “pounds” to figures preceded by a dollar/pound sign.

  • Incorrect: I have $1,250 dollars in my checking account.
  • Correct: I have $1,250 in my checking account.

For clarity, use noon and midnight rather than 12:00 PM and 12:00 AM.

AM and PM are also written A.M. and P.M. OR a.m. and p.m., OR am and pm.

Some put a space between the time and AM or PM, eg: 8 AM; 3:09 P.M.; 11:20 p.m.

Others write times using no space before AM or PM, eg: 8AM; 3:09PM.; 11:20pm.

For the top of the hour, some write 9:00 PM, whereas others drop the :00 and write 9 PM (or 9 p.m., 9pm, etc.).

Using numerals for the time of day has become widely accepted, eg:

  • The flight leaves at 6:22 a.m.
  • Please arrive by 12:30pm sharp.

However, some writers prefer to spell out the time, particularly when using o’clock, eg:

  • She takes the four thirty-five train.
  • The baby wakes up at five o’clock in the morning.

pexels-photo.jpgMixed fractions are often expressed in figures unless they begin a sentence, eg:

  • We expect a 5 1/2 percent wage increase.
  • Five and one-half percent was the expected wage increase.

The simplest way to express large numbers is usually best, eg:

  • twenty-three hundred (simpler than two thousand three hundred)
  • Large round numbers are often spelled out, but be consistent within a sentence.

Consistent: You can earn from one million to five million dollars.

Inconsistent: You can earn from one million dollars to 5 million dollars.

Write decimals using figures. As a courtesy to readers, many writers put a zero in front of the decimal point, eg:

  • The plant grew 0.79 inches last year.
  • The plant grew only 0.07 inches this year.

When writing out a number of three or more digits, the word is not necessary. However, use the word to express any decimal points that may accompany these numbers, eg:

  • one thousand one hundred fifty-four dollars
  • one thousand one hundred fifty-four dollars and sixty-one cents
  • Simpler: eleven hundred fifty-four dollars and sixty-one cents

When writing out numbers above 999, do not use commas.

  • Incorrect: one thousand, one hundred fifty-four dollars, and sixty-one cents
  • Correct: one thousand one hundred fifty-four dollars and sixty-one cents

The following examples are typical when using figures to express dates, eg:

  • the 30th of June, 1934
  • June 30, 1934 (no -th necessary)

When spelling out decades, do not capitalize them, eg:

  • During the eighties and nineties, the U.S. economy grew.

When expressing decades using figures, it is simpler to put an apostrophe before the incomplete numeral and no apostrophe between the number and the s, eg:

  • During the ’80s and ’90s, the U.S. economy grew.

Some writers place an apostrophe after the number, eg:

  • During the 80’s and 90’s, the U.S. economy grew.
  • Awkward: During the ’80’s and ’90’s, the U.S. economy grew.

You may also express decades in complete numerals. Again, it is cleaner to avoid an apostrophe between the year and the s, eg:

  • During the 1980s and 1990s, the U.S. economy grew.

Dear Reader,

Some of the issues raised here are general knowledge. If that was the case, well, what a refresher course you have had. If this has been handy to you, I would really appreciate a comment from you. Thanks.

Good luck in all your endeavours.

As of old: Be EMPOWERED and EXCEL! 

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