Rules for Numbers
From the University of Minnesota Style Manual
by Stephen Wilbers
Author of 1,000 columns
published in the Minneapolis Star Tribune & elsewhere
In nonscientific writing, spell out exact numbers of less than 10;
use figures for numbers of 10 or more. Follow this rule for both
ordinal and cardinal numbers.
Treat consistently throughout a sentence or paragraph all numbers
referring to the same category. If the largest number is 10 or more,
use figures for all the numbers.
Of 117 campus newsletters, 4 are issued weekly, 35 are issued monthly,
72 are issued
quarterly, and 6 are issued annually.
During the past
four months, the two newest recruits to the campus police force
have issued 49 parking tickets, 2 of which were for double parking,
When it is the first word of a sentence, spell out a number that
would normally be written as a figure. If possible, rephrase a
sentence to avoid beginning with a number.
percent of the students attending day school voted.
Of the students
attending day school, 39 percent voted.
Do not use st, nd, rd, and th after dates to indicate
are scheduled for May 26.
Student elections are scheduled for May 26th.
Use figures for monetary amounts. Use cents with amounts of less
than a dollar; use the dollar sign for amounts of a dollar or more.
Back then you
could send a letter for 4 cents.
The fee amounts to about $1.50 per
Do not use ciphers (zeros) with even dollar amounts, except for
consistency within a series.
Students pay only
$1 per film.
She paid $27.50,
$18.00, and $16.95 for the three texts.
For monetary amounts of more than a million dollars, use the dollar
sign and spell out million, billion, etc. Never use a hyphen within
a $4.87 billion loan $10 million to $12
Use figures for decimals and percentages. In nonscientific copy, use
the word percent; in scientific or statistical copy, use the symbol
%. [But note that the symbol % is becoming more common in business
Less than 2
percent of the annual budget goes toward student aid.
fatty acids were 48% and 37% for the two carcasses.
FORMS AND USES
Do not repeat a spelled-out number in figures.
The course must be
taken sequentially over three quarters.
The course must be
taken sequentially over three (3) quarters.