 NG Style Manual >  N  > NUMBERSSee also MEASURES, MONEY. General: Spell out whole numberszero through nine and the expressions a hundred, a thousand, a million, a billion; otherwise use figures: 10, 20, 35, 110, 6,000, 100,000, 340,000. In digitalheadlines, use numerals for all numbers except in casual uses: "thousands" instead of "1,000s." A numeral may be used at the beginning of a headline. The words million and billion are preferably spelled out: three million, 20 billion, 33 million, 1,500 billion. Note that the term billion differs in the U.S. and British systems. Use figures for all numbers that contain decimals: a 2.5billiondollar deficit (preferable to 2½ billion). Spell out a number beginning a sentence. If this creates an awkward sentence, rephrase so that the sentence does not begin with a number. Follow the general rules above for numbers throughout a sentence or paragraph; it's fine to use figures for some and spelled out for others: Nineteen ninetysix was the year the thunder came. the five girls and 12 boys Of the 25 staff writers, fewer than nine may be in the office, while the other 16 or so are in the field. During the past five years 12 new 10story office buildings have gone up between old structures of three or four stories. He stood 60 to 100 feet away. Do not divide a figure at the end of a line. Recast the sentence if necessary. 1.  Abbreviations: Use a figure when an abbreviation or a symbol is used for the unit of measurement: 

 30°C (86°F) 35mm film  7.5 mm 10° 30' N 
2.  Ages of Persons, Animals, and Things: Spell out ages of persons, animals, and things from one through nine. Use figures for numbers 10 and larger and for fractions: 

 a sixmonthold child a threeyearold He was six months old flowers nine days old 10dayold flowers He looked sixtyish  in his 30s twentysomething, also 20something 3½yearold goldfish 11yearold structure 50yearold boat 101yearold building 
4.  Commas With Figures: In cardinal numbers use a comma in a figure of four digits or more. In a fraction, date, or temperature, use a comma in a figure that contains five digits or more: 

 1,750 nails 1970°C 1/7000 1250 B.C.  3,000 percent 19,700°C 1/70,000 25,000 B.C. 
5.  Compound Modifiers: Before a noun, an adjective that contains a number is hyphenated when the unit of measurement is expressed with the number: 

 a 4,000yearold mummy a mummy 4,000 years old  4,000 and some years ago an eightyearold building 
6.  Congress: Spell out through Ninth, then use figures: 

 First Congress  14th Congress 
7.  Constitutional Amendments: Spell out through Ninth. 
8.  Dates: See main entry Dates.

9.  Decimals: Use figures for all numbers that contain decimals: 3.4 inches of rain, 22.25 inches of snow, a 12.5billiondollar deficit. If the amount is less than one, the unit of measurement is singular: .33 inch (not inches) a day. If the figure is a onedigit decimal, use a zero before the point: 0.3 inch a day.

10.  Dimensions: Generally express numbers one through nine in words rather than figures, which is more informal. The word by is usually preferable but, again, the symbol x may be used in a more informal usage. 

 a threebyfive card or a threebyfive a fourbysix print, a 4 x 6 print a fourbyfour or 4WD or FWD or 4x4 are all acceptable for a fourwheeldrive motor vehicle 
11.  Dynasties: Use Arabic numerals for Egyptian dynasties: 
12.  Emperors, Kings, and Popes: Use Roman numerals: 

 Emperor Charles V Queen Elizabeth II  King George VI Pope Benedict XVI 
13.  Figures of Speech: Generally spell out; capitalization varies: 

 feel like a million dollars thanks a million fiftyfifty  Roaring Twenties Gay Nineties 
14.  Fractions: State fractions in text in the simplest possible way, usually in words or decimals. Generally spell out half, third, quarter: 

 a half or onehalf; two and a half two and a half pounds, twoandahalfpound book two and a half years ago two and a half million acres, 2.5millionacre reserve 
 Spell out simple fractions under 10 unless used in pairs or in dimensions, or unless they are cumbersome: 

 eveneighths, 4¾, 1/7000 (do not use th) of a pound, or 3½ by 4½ feet, 11½ a hundredth or onehundredth 39 millionths of an inch twobillionths 
 Do not use commas in any part of a fraction with fewer than five digits.

15.  Governments and Governing Bodies: Spell out First through Ninth: 

 Second Continental Congress 15th Party Congress  Third Reich Fifth Republic 
16.  Highways, Roads, and Streets: Designate highways and roads with Arabic numerals: 

 Interstate 609, I60 U.S. Route 29, U.S. 29  Maryland Route 579 Route 1 
 Numbered streets through Ninthare spelled out: 

 1400 Second Avenue 32nd Place
 51st Street 1403 35th Street 
17.  Hyphens: A compound modifier containing a number is hyphenated before a noun when it contains the unit of measurement. A hyphen means up to and including when used in a range of numbers: 

 an eightfoot pole a 20billiondollar debt an 8½yearold boy a 700bottle shipment a fourfootnineinch ladder three to fiveday courses  a pole eight feet long 20 billion dollars of debt 8½ years old 700 bottles 8½by9inch sheet 
 When measurements before a noun consist of different elements, hyphenate within the elements and separate them with a comma: 19inch, threepound fish.

18.  Kings: See section 12 of this entry.

19.  Latitude and Longitude (latitude is always given first): 

 latitude 72° 54' N, longitude 165° 53' W 72° 54' N, 165° 53' W 90th meridian of east longitude 81st parallel of north latitude 21° north (when spelled out); 21° N 
21.  Mathematical Expressions: Spell out one through nine but generally keep items consistent: 

 multiplied by four x squared (note italic x)  four to one  11 to 1

22.  Military Units: Spell out and capitalize military units through Ninth: 

 Second Battalion Sixth Fleet  First Marine Division 474th Fighter Wing 
 Use Roman numerals for corps: III Corps.

23.  Money: Spell out one through nineand the expressions a hundred, a thousand, a million, a billion; otherwise use figures: nine dollars, $20, $35, a hundred dollars, $110, $6,000, $340,000. If a number is spelled out, also spell out dollar; if a figure is used, then use the dollar symbol: nine dollars, a bill for three million dollars, $20 billion, a bill for $33 million, $13 million dam. The words million and billion are preferably spelled out: $800 million, more than $30 billion, one million dollars. Note that the term billion differs in the U.S. and British systems. Use figures for all numbers that contain decimals: a $2.5 billion deficit. Hyphenate compound modifiers that include spelledout words: a twodollar tie, but a $45 shirt.
Use an apostrophe in such expressions as 20 dollars' worth, a million dollars' worth.Small sums: eight cents, 15 cents; not 15¢ or $0.15. Dollars and cents: $2.98, $6.25, $625.40. In general, spell out units of foreign currency and do not italicize them: two pounds 60 pence; 53 pesos, 74 euros. Give the nearest rounded U.S. equivalent at least once within parentheses: It cost a hundred kroner ($20), four francs (80 U.S. cents). When conversions are given within parentheses for sums of money employing the same unit of currency, generally follow these examples: In Canada the current quotation was $2.69 (U.S. $2.47) a box; the New Zealand dollar is worth around 55 U.S. cents; a 325milliondollar (U.S.) resort development. In British currency the pound (£) symbol may be used as one would use the dollar symbol. Note that the term billion differs in the U.S. and British systems.

24.  Odd: Avoid expressions such as 25odd. For odds see section 31 under this entry.

25.  Olympics: Use Roman numerals: XXIV Olympiad, XXIV Olympic Games.

26.  Ordinals: Spell out first through ninth; for ordinals greater than ninth use Arabic numerals with st, nd, rd, and th: 41st, 42nd, 43rd, 44th. Do not hyphenate ordinals with comparatives or superlatives: second largest producer, fourth most populous city, but firstgrade potatoes, thirdranked city.

27.  Percentages: Use figures, except for one percent. Do not hyphenate percentages: 

 a 60 percent increase  4 percent spoiled 
28.  Plurals: For plurals of figures add s: 

 in his 30s  Type 2s  several C54s 
 Plurals of spelledout numbers are formed regularly: 

 at sixes and sevens  hundreds of people

29.  Political Divisions: Spell out ordinals First through Ninth: 

 Fifth Ward 10th Circuit  14th Precinct Second Congressional District 
30.  Popes: See section 12 of this entry.

31.  Proportions, Odds, and Ratios: Generally spell out one through nine and use figures thereafter: six parts steam, 11 parts sweat; sixtofour margin; onein20 chance; 5050 chance. Write: two to one against; 42 to 36 in favor; not 21 against or 4236 in favor. Generally spell out figures of speech such as fiftyfifty, unless the context makes numerals appropriate: Others thought he had a onein20 chance of winning, though he considered his odds were 5050.

32.  Roman Numerals: Use for rulers, popes, Egyptian dynasties, Olympiads, personal names, ships, and a few other special cases. For formation, see Number Table in Webster's.

33.  Scientific notations are written as follows: 4 x 10^{22} x squared (note italic x) 
34.  Some: Use only with a round number. Use a hyphen when this suffix is used attributively: 80some years.

35.  Streets: See section 16 of this entry.

36.  Temperatures: Generally expressed in figures. Use comma only with five digits or more. 

 minus 102°C 105degree heat 0°C (32°F) 9°F  102° below zero Celsius 2500°C 11,000°C in the 90s 
37.  Time of Day: Use figures before a.m. and p.m. Spell out with o'clock: 

 7 p.m. the 7 a.m. plane a four o'clock snack 4:30 in the morning  eleven o'clock noon (not 12 noon) midnight (not 12 midnight) 11 in the morning 
38.  Year: Use a comma when figure consists of five or more digits: 

 1500 B.C. 15,000 B.C.  by the year 10,000 

 figure eight number 2 fuel oil bull number 5  world's number one producer number one hit continue with stage two class one soil 
 Use proper name if known: 

 Number 4 oil well Well No. 4  lock Number 7 Train Number 43 
