# Numbers

WSU Editorial Style Guide

**Numbers below 10 are spelled out.**

**Exception**: Percentages, semester hours, and grade point averages.- 10 percent, 3 semester hours, 3.5 grade point average (unless the number begins a sentence).
- Enrollment increased by 25 percent. Twenty-five percent of the students were over the age of 20.

**Exception**: It is sometimes better to use numerals in ads, posters, and websites for ease of reading.- Treat numbers alike in a sentence if they refer to the same thing: “The class of 150 students was separated into smaller groups of 4 students each.”

**Use “more than” rather than “over” with numerals.**

- “Enrollment is more than 18,000 students.”

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Numbers at beginning of sentences

**Always spell out numbers at the beginning of a sentence or reword the sentence to avoid spelling out a large number.**

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Ordinal numbers

**Spell out ordinals in text.**

- first
- second
- tenth
- Not 1st, 2nd, 3rd

**When ordinal numbers are needed (as in rankings), do not use superscript letters.**

- “The program is ranked 16th in the nation” (not 16
^{th}).

**Ordinals are never needed with months and days.**

- “On May 2, the program began” (not “On May 2nd”).

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Numbers of four digits or larger

**Use a comma for larger numbers.**

**Very large, round numbers should be expressed with a figure and word.**

**Exceptions:** Dates (1892), temperatures (-1200 degrees), and test scores

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Decimals and fractions

**List decimals and fractions in figures.**

**In some cases, a fraction may be spelled out.**

- “The professor covered about two-thirds of the chapter during the class.”
- Note that hyphens are used when spelling out fractions.

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Time

**Figures plus a.m. or p.m. (lowercase with periods) are used to designate time in both text and schedules.**

- “The lecture will begin at 10:00 a.m. with a luncheon to follow at noon.”
- Meeting: 5 p.m.
- Note that “noon” is lowercase and is not used with 12:00.

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Plurals of numbers

**List plurals by adding an “s.”**

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Centuries and decades

**Spell out centuries and decades where possible.**

- fifteenth century
- the sixties

**If using figures, they should have an “s” at the end.**

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Telephone numbers

**Write telephone numbers with a hyphen after the area code**.

- 509-335-3518
- Do not use a 1 to precede the area code: 800-335-3518

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Numbers between -1 and 1

**Use plural, not singular, for fractional numbers less than 1.**