# Editorial Style Guide | Numbers

This is the general rule when using numbers in text: Spell out one to nine; use numerals for 10 and above; use a combination of numerals and words for 1,000,000 or more.

- When Bill was eight years old, he wanted to become a major league third baseman, but by the time he was 18 he realized that coaching was a more realistic choice. Of course, coaching meant giving up his dream of a $10 million contract.

## adjacent numbers

It is usually best to spell out one number and use numerals for the other when numbers are adjacent.

- In the classroom were 12 five-foot-high podiums.
- The professor needed 150 twenty-page booklets.

## commas

Use a comma with numbers of more than three digits. (SAT scores are an exception.)

- Emmy's new book has 1,390 pages.
- Ripley's SAT score was 1390.

## exceptions to the general rule

Use numerals for percentages, decimals, credits, GPAs, book chapters and page numbers, and quantities combining whole numbers and fractions except at the beginning of a sentence.

- Only 2 percent of the class passed the test.
- Don's GPA is 3.73.
- The class turned to Chapter 3, page 9.
- The requirement includes 4 credits in biology.

### money

- The refund check was for $8.97.
- The used book cost $3, but the new one was $24.95.
- Jack paid $800 for the car, painted it, and sold it for $1,250.

### fractions

- The page is 8-1/2 inches wide.
- Professor Williams gave A's to one-fifth of the class.
- Two-thirds of the class took careful notes.

### beginning a sentence

When a number begins a sentence, either spell out the number or rephrase the sentence.

- Seven hundred fifty-two students received certificates of merit.
- More than 750 students received certificates of merit.

### casual use

Spell out numbers when used casually.

- A thousand times no!

### more than 1,000,000

Use a combination of numbers and words when using numbers of 1,000,000 or more.

- Alfonso gave the library $1.3 million.

## inclusive numbers

Use a hyphen in tables or charts.

- pages 834-35
- pages 834-910
- 1994-96
- 1894-1975

Do not use hyphens with inclusive numbers in text, except when the numbers are in parentheses.

- Calvin taught history from 1971 to 1998.
- Calvin taught history at San Jose State (1971-72), Utah (1972-82), and Portland State (1982-98).

## invitations

Only in the most formal of invitations are numbers spelled out. If your event is black- or white-tie only, for example, spell out all numbers. Otherwise, follow the general rule.

## ordinals

Spell out ordinal numbers first through ninth; use numerals for 10th and above.

- Betsy came in fourth out of 1,230 runners, but Jennifer was 124th.
- Pat taught a course in 18th-century literature.

## sport scores

Use numerals and hyphens.

- The final score was 45-18.
- PSU won 8-3.

## telephone numbers

Include the area code in all numbers (except campus numbers in internal campus publications). Do not place parentheses around area codes.

- For more information, call 503-725-5555.
- For more information, call 360-555-1492.

Include the *1* in toll-free numbers.

- The PSU toll-free number is 1-800-547-8887.