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Numbers

The following are based upon the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2010).

Numbers 1-9
APA requires that all numbers between zero to 9 be spelled out:

  • One cat
  • Two dogs
  • Three elephants
  • Four kangaroos
  • Five ocelots
  • Six crabs
  • Seven sloths
  • Eight pigs
  • Nine rabbits

Numbers 10 or Higher
Use numbers (APA calls them figures) to represent numbers greater than 10:

  • 10 rhinoceroses
  • 111 babies
  • 300 lions

Numbers greater than 999
For numbers greater than 999, use a comma (not a period) between thousands:

  • 1,111 crows
  • 100,000 red balloons
  • 1,000,000 people

Exceptions to the rules:

  • Use numbers when talking about time (except approximations of time)
    • Example: I’ve been studying at VIU for 3 yearsvs.
    • I’ve been studying here for about three weeks.
  • Numbers that represent time, points on a scale or sums of money
    • 1 hour 3 minutes, 7/10, $4.56, etc.
  • Numbers the denote a specific place in a series of number
    • Example: Chapter 1, Chapter 6, Chapter 10, etc.
  • Numbers that proceed a unit of measure
    • 3 ft, 1 cm, etc.
  • Spell out numbers that might be at the beginning of a title, sentence, or heading
    • Three little pigs: A story of tragedy and despair
  • Numbers denoting mathematical or statistical processes
    • Divide by 3, a multiple of 4, etc.
  • Numbers in the abstract of a paper should be in numerals