# Numbers

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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.

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:

• Emmy’s new book has 1,390 pages.

SAT scores are an exception:

• 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% 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

Use numerals except in casual references or amounts without a figure:

• 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.
• Dad gave me a dollar.

Use figures with million, billion or trillion in all except casual references:

• I need \$7 billion.
• I’d like to make a billion dollars

### fractions

Spell out amounts less than 1, using hyphens between the words. Use numerals for dimensions:

• 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 hyphen:

• 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: