1. MikeyC

    MikeyC Member

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    Grammar How to display numbers in speech?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by MikeyC, Jul 9, 2018.

    Hi all

    Just a quickie . . . !

    I am writing a sci-fi book at the mo, and there is a fair amount of technical jargon - with a LOT of numbers.

    In speech, is there a correct / most suggested way of writing numbers?

    e.g. 3 or three?

    I currently switch between both depending on the length of the number, and if i have had a coffee yet.


    Rgds
     
  2. Lew

    Lew Member Supporter Contributor

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    The general rule is text for literature, numbers for math. Obviously, if 32,567 is important enough to tell the reader about, do it numerically, otherwise, round it to something reasonable: about thirty-three thousand.
     
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  3. MikeyC

    MikeyC Member

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    Thank you!

    Rgds
     
  4. BlitzGirl

    BlitzGirl Member

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    I think I've heard that if the number is "small" enough, writing out the words is preferred, but numbers can be used for much larger and more complicated numbers. I'm not sure if that still stands in professional circles, though! That was just the impression I was under, since I had to write a lot of essays while in university.
     
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  5. Stormsong07

    Stormsong07 Senior Member

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  6. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Car Crash With A Suitcase And A Painted Face

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    Probably safest going with Chicago. AP is geared more toward newspaper publication (AP= Associated Press), which is a very different style of writing than, even, magazine articles. Chicago would be closer to an all-purpose guideline (ETA and would be more likely to be used for fiction than AP).


    edited because, really Shenanigator? "more closer"? WTF.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018 at 12:47 AM
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  7. MikeyC

    MikeyC Member

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    Thank you everyone for your help!
     
  8. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I like it when I see numbers spelled out in literature. Likely, wherever you publish will have a house style and that's an easy enough change to make. However, I do know that you never want to start a sentence with a number. If the sentence starts with a number, you spell out the number.
     
  9. animagus_kitty

    animagus_kitty Active Member

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    The rule I'd always heard, but not necessarily use myself, is under ten is spelled, over ten is numbers. That's what I was told.

    I usually spell everything that's a round number (fifty, a hundred, ten thousand), but if it's a non-round number (53, 107, 9562) I tend to go with the number version. The exception is the one character who speaks with a British accent in my head, who ALWAYS sounds like she's spelling it out. She's the kind of person who says 'one hundred' instead of 'a hundred', and part of indicating her pretentiousness is spelling out numbers other characters would number-ify. She would, for example, say 'one hundred and seven', rather than '107 (pronounced one oh seven)' like every other character would say.
     

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