Proofreading for Number Errors! 5 or Five?

Questions arise when proofreading numbers-when do you use words and when do you use figures or numbers? Here are a few tips for expressing numbers:

Numbers Expressed as Words:

  • Numbers from one to ten.
  • Numbers beginning a sentence.
  • Ordinal numbers expressed in one or two words (twenty-first century / Bill's fiftieth birthday).
  • Street names of ten or less and house/buildings number One (One Park Avenue or 111 Third Street).
  • Ages (unless expressed in years and months) (Bill is fifty / Jill is 2 years and 7 months old).
  • Fractions when they occur without a whole number (Two-Thirds of the staff attended).

    Numbers Expressed as Numerals:

  • Numbers 11 and above.
  • A series of numbers, any of which are over ten ( We need to order 10 calculators, 6 chairs and 15 file folders).
  • Large round numbers followed by the word million or billion.
  • Street names over ten and all house/building numbers expect One ( 14 West 22nd Street or 14 West 22 Street).
  • Mixed numbers ( 4 1/2 boxes of paper).
  • Time when a.m., noon, midnight, and p.m. are used (Bill has an appointment at 9:00 a.m. and another at 2:00 p.m.).
  • Dimensions, measures, and weights ( 6 by 8 feet or 5 feet 8 inches).
  • Amounts of money - Note: Decimals and zeros are not used after even amounts unless they appear with fractional amounts ( I received a $60 credit / I can pay $150.00 this week and $133.50 next month).
  • Percentages and Decimals (5 Percent / 655.66854)

These tips are just a few ways to help you in your daily communications with your clients, employees and employers.


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