1. Crazy Packers Fan

    Crazy Packers Fan New Member

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    Grammar Football Numbers

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Crazy Packers Fan, Dec 20, 2016.

    Hi! I'm new here, so please be nice. I'm writing a book about (American) football. It's actually nonfiction, but I'm sure that's not a problem. Anyway, I have some questions about whether to use digits or to spell out the numbers, in other words, "9" or "nine."

    I've read that you're supposed to spell out numbers lower than 10, but I'm wondering if there are exceptions here. For example, "the running back picked up five yards on a 3rd-and-6." Is that right? Should I spell out 3rd? Should I spell out 6? Or should I make "five" into "5"? I want to be consistent, and this is a bit confusing for me. Any help you could give me would be appreciated, thank you.
     
  2. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    antlad likes this.
  3. antlad

    antlad Banned

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    I will say, for a book- whatever happens, make sure that you mix it up. It will get boring to read it written the same way throughout.
     
  4. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I think this is a joke? Maybe?

    Obviously consistency is pretty important in editing, so... no. Don't mix it up.

    (If this was a joke, sorry for stepping on the punchline. But it wasn't quite obvious enough for me to be sure...)
     
  5. antlad

    antlad Banned

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    No, it is not a joke. An entire book written like- #38 went four yards on fifth and 20, will get boring real fast. On top of that, when getting into justifying text, there will end up being sections that look like a spreadsheet. Have you ever read any books about sports that feature this? I have, most suck.
    So, I say, if you are going to be writing a book of american football, mix up how you write the numbers. If I were writing it, I would make the choice to always have the player's numbers in numerical, and mix up the others.
    If you are writing a book aimed mainly at the people that obsess about stats and memorize football cards, use all numerical, that is what they want to be fed.
    and I will always argue that it is more important to have consistency in editing, rather than writing in a way that makes editing consistent.

    Next time you go to a library, go to the kids section and find the non-fiction sports section, grab a stack and flip through them. What you will find is that they are put together in a myriad of ways, trying to capture the different ways people intake that type of information.

    Now, if the OP is from a country that does not have american football, or much about it, I would say to make it exactly the same every time. Why? Because down the road you may become the one that formatted american football writing for that region of the world.
    If I were writing this for kids, I would go talk to teachers of those ages, find out what those ages prefer; then try to set up something where they read a passage and answer a few questions, to see which format(s) work best for retention.
     
  6. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    They'll be put together in different ways, but they'll be internally consistent - they won't "mix it up" within a single book.

    Possibly I'm misinterpreting what you're saying, but if, for example, the author decides to spell out jersey numbers and use numerals for details of the game, then this decision should be made once for the entire book and then followed throughout. I hope you're agreeing to that?
     

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