1. John Carlo
    Offline

    John Carlo Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2009
    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Long Island, New York

    spelling out vs writing numbers, help!

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by John Carlo, Sep 5, 2012.

    I have an awkward sentence. But let's assume it has to be phrased the way it is. The rest of the paragraph will be filled with numbers that I write out numerically. Here is the awkward sentence(s):

    "According to Chinese astrology, it comes every 12 years. Starting in 1976, I’ve gone through 3 twelve-year cycles already."

    The problem I'm having is "3 twelve-year cycles". I want to write "twelve" numerically, but I hate the way
    "3 12-year cycles" look. It's confusing. But I don't like to mix spelling and writing out numbers in the same text. Any suggestions?
     
  2. ...
    Offline

    ... Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2012
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    2
    write all letters, aside from year dates.
     
  3. John Carlo
    Offline

    John Carlo Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2009
    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Long Island, New York
    Normally I would, but the rest of the paragraph is dealing with mathematics and numerology, and it just isn't clear--in this case--to spell out all the numbers.
     
  4. ...
    Offline

    ... Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2012
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    2
    use numbers just for the numerology, mathematics and year dates. Otherwise stick to normal rules.

    that's what I'd do.. I could be wrong, not like I'm an authority or anything.
     
  5. John Carlo
    Offline

    John Carlo Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2009
    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Long Island, New York
    Well, it sounds right. I'll give it a shot and see how it looks. Thanks.
     
  6. digitig
    Offline

    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,502
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    If it's in dialog, write out the numbers even if it's mathematics or numerology. If it "just isn't clear" to spell out the numbers, the problem is with the dialog, not with whether the numbers are spelled out or not.
     
  7. John Carlo
    Offline

    John Carlo Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2009
    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Long Island, New York
    It isn't dialog, just exposition. An essay, of sorts.
     
  8. IMearthbound
    Offline

    IMearthbound New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    North Central Wisconsin
    John,

    What about writing it: "According to Chinese astrology, it comes every twelve years. Starting in 1976, I've gone through three 12-year cycles already."

    Hopefully this helps!

    -A
     
  9. ...
    Offline

    ... Member

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2012
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    2
    He didn't mention dialogue...


    @ JC, there should also be a comma after 'three'.
     
  10. digitig
    Offline

    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    2,502
    Likes Received:
    79
    Location:
    Orpington, Bromley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
    True, but it very much reads as dialogue.
     
  11. John Carlo
    Offline

    John Carlo Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2009
    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Long Island, New York
    What I ended up doing was spelling out all numbers except years and equations. The paragraph is looking nice now. Thanks all for the help.
     
  12. catchkatch
    Offline

    catchkatch New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2012
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    Regarding the comma comment-

    In this context, there shouldn't be a comma after 'three', because in this sentence the phrase 'twelve-year cycle' is a compound noun (where a noun is made up of more than one word). In this sentence the 'twelve-year' bit is part of the compound noun 'twelve-year cycle', and is not an adjective. So, no comma.
     
  13. John Carlo
    Offline

    John Carlo Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2009
    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Long Island, New York
    Thanks for responding to that. The comma thing didn't seem right to me, but I couldn't articulate why, other than it needlessly broke the flow of thought.
     
  14. auntiebetty
    Offline

    auntiebetty Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2012
    Messages:
    237
    Likes Received:
    34
    Location:
    Ohio, Arizona, Colorado
    I don't know how to correctly write the time in this sentence. I am writing a novel. "The train arrived at 8:06 am." I have seen one style manual that says to write time out in all numbers. How would that be typed for this example?
     
  15. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    If it's in narration, you can write the time in numerals. In dialogue, all numbers should be written out as spoken, especially because there are variations in how to say it.

    "The train arrived at eight oh six AM," replied the ticket agent. "No one got off at this depot."
     
  16. Reggie
    Offline

    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2010
    Messages:
    680
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    USA
    I was always told to spell out numbers in dialogue.
     

Share This Page