Beyond PR

Jun 25, 2012

Grammar Hammer: Happy Fourth or 4th of July?

For this year’s Independence Day, we have three very simple rules on when to write out numbers and when to use numerals.

Rule 1: Spell out single-digit whole numbers. Use numerals for numbers greater than nine.

  • I had two beers before the fireworks started.
  • Can you seriously eat 10 hot dogs? Barf!
  • She just bought six glow sticks!
  • He hung up 15 flags.

Rule 2: Always follow Rule 1 for consistency, even if it means including a numeral and spelled-out number in the same sentence.

  • There were 12 waffle balls when this game started, and now there are only seven. Stop hitting homeruns!
  • He made 15 cheeseburgers 20 minutes ago and now there’s only one left.

Rule 3: Ages are always numerals.

  • The girl was 2 years old.
  • His baby is 8 months old.

Enjoy the food and fireworks! Happy Fourth of July!

Written by Grace Lavigne, senior editor of ProfNet, a service that helps journalists connect with expert sources.

2 Comments on Blog Post Title

Mary Fletcher Jones 10:39 EDT on Jun 25, 2012

I am so glad I subscribed to your blog 🙂 Not only is the writing terrific, but I am always learning things I didn’t know — like this number/numerals rule! So I tweeted it, too. I’m prob. not the only one 🙂 Thanks!

Charles Barth 20:01 EDT on Apr 10, 2013

“There were 12 waffle balls when this game started, and now there’s only seven. Stop hitting homeruns!”

THERE’S?! SERIOUSLY?! Also, “homeruns” should probably be “home runs.”

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