:Guideline #1 |
NEVER begin a sentence with a numeral. |

Action: | Choice 1—reword the sentence if you want to retain the arabic numeral, or Choice 2—spell out the number. |

Caveat: | Always follow the guidelines of a designated style manual or those of the journal you are submitting a manuscript to for possible publication of your research. |

Incorrect | 66% of the people who responded to our e-mail survey have some college education, so nearly two-thirds of all Americans have some college education. |

Correct (reworded) |
Of the people who responded to our e-mail survey 66% have some college education, so nearly two-thirds of all Americans have some college education. |

Correct (spelled out) |
Sixty-six percent of the people who responded to our e-mail survey have some college education, so nearly two-thirds of all Americans have some college education. |

Incorrect | 70% of Madagascar's population live in extreme poverty and are mostly subsistence farmers. |

Correct (reworded) |
Of its Madagascar's population 70% live in extreme poverty and are mostly subsistence farmers. |

Correct (spelled out) |
Seventy percent of its Madagascar's population live in extreme poverty and are mostly subsistence farmers. |

:Guideline #2 |
If your writing includes much numerical data, then spell out only single-digit numbers and use numerals for everything else. |

Purpose: |
avoid confusion and improve the likelihood of better understanding. |

Original 1 | This survey of 24 administrative districts over 3 years included 2575 participants. |

Preferred | This survey of 24 administrative districts over three years included 2575 participants. |

Original 2 | The car hit the wall at 80 kph and skidded for 9 feet. |

Preferred | The car hit the wall at 80 kph and skidded for nine feet. |

:Guideline #3 |
When numbers are used in a series, generally Arabic numbers are used for all numbers regardless of Guideline #2. |

Incorrect | 9 students of the group surveyed had studied French and 142 (students) had studied Spanish for three years or more. |

Correct (reworded) |
Of the group surveyed, 9 students had studied French and 142 had studied Spanish for three years or more.("9" and "142" are part of a series; "three" is not part of the series, so it is spelled out according to Guideline #2.) |

Original 1 | We analyzed 62 cases; of these, 59 had occurred in adults and three in children. |

Preferred | We analyzed 62 cases; of these, 59 had occurred in adults and 3 in children.("3" is part of the series [59+3=62], so it is not spelled out according to Guideline #3.) |

:Guideline #4 |
When two numbers are adjacent (next to each other), spell one out and leave the other as a numeral. However, always use numerals with units of measurement |

Incorrect 1 Incorrect 2 |
The sample was divided into 8 fifty-gram specimens.The sample was divided into 8 50-gram specimens. |

Correct (reworded) |
The sample was divided into eight 50-gram specimens. |

:Guideline #5 |
Leave 1 space after a number before a unit of measurement; 1 space before and after an equal "=" symbol and after the percent "%" symbol. |

Incorrect | X=2 | A+Y=3.2X |

Correct | X = 2 |
A + Y = 3.2X |

:Guideline #6 |
Always use a "0" before the decimal point for numbers less than zero. |

Incorrect | 5m | 32gm | 520km | P=0.05 | .497 | P =.05 |

Correct | 5 m |
32 gm |
520 km |
P = 0.05 |
0.497 |
P = 0.05 |

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