Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Blogging from #AtoZChallenge - Numbers and Nova

For today's A to Z Challenge, I'm going to discuss formatting numbers in your manuscript. The Chicago Manual of Style recommends spelling out all numbers up to one hundred and other round numbers above that.

Nova was five years old when I bought her.
The oldest horse at the barn was thirty-seven. (note the hyphen)
In the US, we often think a house standing for 127 years to be old, but in Europe, many structures are over two hundred years old.

I've also seen style guides that only recommend spelling out one through ten or one through twenty. This is another area where your editor will probably have the final say, but when writing, just be consistent.

There are a couple more rules to consider. Don't start a sentence with a numeral - spell it out. Rearrange the sentence if you really don't want to spell out a complex number.

Follow the same rules for second, 185th, and one thousandth. If you have a sentence that might use both spelled out and numerals, choose which looks best for consistency and make them the same. The auditorium held between 950 and 1000 people. We celebrate the Fourth of July or July 4th.

Here are some pictures of Nova, little Paint mare I got for free. Her owners were moving and didn't have enough space in their trailer to move across the country. She wasn't trained, but that didn't take long to remedy. Nova was fun to ride on the trail, nothing scared her, and she could climb anything. She was very happy when she got her new owner that only focused on her.

Nova turned out to be quite the little jumper as well. She was only 14.1H and not built for jumping, but she made up for it with heart. I wish I had a good head shot - she has beautiful blue eyes.


  1. Thanks! I wish I was better about taking more. There's either no one around to take pics or I travel light, in case I get tossed!

  2. Numbers can be tricky little buggers. Thanks for the tips.

    AJ's wHooligan in the A-Z Challenge

  3. Another great post! The rule of thumb I use for my students is that they should spell out any numbers that can be spelled out in one or two words, and use numerals for any numbers that would take three or more words to spell out. This is more or less in keeping with MLA guidelines, but of course most of them are using APA in their other classes (and APA has different rules), so it's tricky.