General Question

kawaii_ninja's avatar

Does it look alright to write the number instead of the word in a peice of writing?

Asked by kawaii_ninja (402points) September 30th, 2008

In a novel type peice, i.e. Team 10, or Team ten?

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14 Answers

PupnTaco's avatar

Chicago Manual of Style says to spell out numbers less than 100 (apart from a few circumstances).

PupnTaco's avatar

Be sure to use spell check too. :)

robmandu's avatar

That said, when used as part of a proper name, I think you can show it like you want.

Team 10 looks much better to me than Team Ten, for example.

And, if you’ll pardon a brief geekout, if you’re talking binary numbers, the Team 10 would be much more representative that saying Team One-Oh, or worse, converting the binary 10 to a decimal pronunciation saying Team Two.

augustlan's avatar

I before E, except after C…

Snoopy's avatar

You should be consistent through the writing

i.e. all words (ten, twelve) or all numbers (10, 12)

tedibear's avatar

or the sound of the “A” as in neightbor and weigh. Just to finish off augustlan’s grammar poem for you.

bodyhead's avatar

If it’s formal (wedding invite, baby shower, formal invitation), spell out the word. If it’s casual, use the actual number.

Sloane2024's avatar

My university English I professor informed us that if the number can be said in two words or less, write it out… three words or more, use the number.

Five hundred and sixty three (wrong)
it should be 563

72 (wrong)
it should be seventy-two


lapilofu's avatar

Consistency is important, as Snoopy suggested, but not so much consistency across numbers as consistency across the written piece. For instance, I would find it perfectly acceptable to spell out the number one but to use the numeral 53, so long as you consistently spelled one and numbered 53. But I suppose you probably figured that—it pretty much goes without saying.

It’s really an aesthetic choice, so it’s at your discretion. Many style guides offer different suggestions with different rationales, so be sure to look into those. I remember that my high school newspaper had the policy of spelling out the numbers one through twenty, but using numerals for 21 and above because we found hyphenated numbers (“twenty-one”) distasteful.

You mention that it’s a novel type piece, which adds another level to the decision. If it’s first-person perspective, then you should definitely write numbers the way that you think your character would write numbers! If it’s in your characters speaking voice, I would go so far as to suggest that you always spell out the numbers. Even if it’s third-person limited, you might take your character into account when choosing a style.

Malakai's avatar

According to the AP Stylebook when using numbers in a proper name you can go either way, according to the organization’s practice.

20th Century Fox, Twentieth Century Fund, Big Ten Conference, etc.

For a novel, I personally think Team 10 looks better aesthetically .

marinelife's avatar

@PnT Could you re-check that Chicago Manual? Every source I have says numerals beyond ten. Some (AP) spell out one through ten, others (Blue Book of Grammar) spell out one through nine.

I have never seen, in all my years in the publishing business, numbers like 59 written out unless they are in one of the grammatical exceptions, which are summarized here.. These include first word in a sentence, mixed single digit and double digit (or greater) numbers in the same sentence.

PupnTaco's avatar

Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Edition

Numerals or Words
9.3 Chicago’s General Rule. In nontechnical contexts, the following are spelled out: whole numbers from one through one hundred, round numbers, and any number beginning a sentence. For other numbers, numerals are used. For the numerous exceptions and special cases, see throughout this chapter and consult the index.

marinelife's avatar

@Dave OK, thanks. Must be why I don’t use the Chicago Manual . . . ;)

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