# 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:

- 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:

- For more information, call 503-725-5555.

Include the 1 in toll-free numbers:

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