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Rules for numbers and measurements

For our editors;

What is the guideline for numbers and measurements when writing. Do you spell out a number? Is it appropriate to use abbreviations in measurements?

We drove 14 km.

We drove fourteen kilometers.



View Profile 2016-03-14 16:11:38 PDT

Hey Pam…I think this depends on what style guide you’re following. What I’ve learned is:

  • when starting a sentence you spell it out
  • within a sentence if it’s under ten spell it out
  • Ten and over write it out

Abbreviations are fine. The most important thing is that you’re consistent. If a publication follows a specific style guide they’ll edit as necessary.

Check this out:

View Profile 2016-03-15 09:23:46 PDT


Thank you. I vagely remember a rule regarding the length of the number (as in how many letters) dictating if it is spelled out or not, but under ten is very easy to remember. I will also make sure I am consistent in my abbreviations.

View Profile 2016-03-15 10:31:08 PDT

Hey Pam, I always try to follow AP Style rules. Here’s a quick and dirty guide to the most common ones:

..but if you really want to get into it pick up the latest copy of the AP Stylebook. It’s an excellent resource to have on hand.

View Profile 2017-01-17 14:51:25 PST