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Write the Right Word: Numbers or Words

Trying to decide when to use figures or words can be confusing.

The general rule is to spell out numbers below 10 and use figures for 10 and above. However, like most rules, this one has several exceptions. Here are a few of the common instances when you would use figures for amounts below 10:

  • Measurements such as cups, gallons, teaspoons, tablespoons, ounces, pounds, tons, kilograms, milligrams, feet, yards, inches, miles or kilograms per gallon or hour, and temperatures
  • Money ($1, $1 million, 5 cents)
  • Ratios, scores, vote totals and ages for humans or animals
  • Percents/percentage
  • Chapter and page numbers
  • Clock time (1 a.m., 4 p.m.) except for noon and midnight

Ellen Crawford, information specialist, (701) 231-5391

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