Freelance Writing-How to Write a Number in Text

Writing a number when you are creating text or written material is a question that many writers ask. Knowing when to write out your numbers in English writing is extremely important. Numbers are written fairly often in text.

Most informative subject matter that can be found will share different opinions on the right or wrong way to write your numbers in your text. There is a general guideline for freelance writers to follow when writing numbers in whatever subject matter you happen to be focused on.

A lot of editors have variations or different opinions on writing numbers, but many agree on some central information that you can follow in your freelance writing endeavors. Writing numbers when writing in English will differ between whether your freelance writing is for fiction or non-fiction.

Fiction writing differs from nonfiction in a way that most people may not have noticed or even realized when it comes to number formats. In fiction all numbers are written out. The only exception to this particular rule is if you are writing an address or referring to a period in time. For example, if you are writing fiction

You would write
                She went to the store and purchased twenty eight different types of cupcakes.
You would not write
                She went to the store and purchased 28 different types of cupcakes.

There are some sources that indicate that you should write out the actual number in numerical form for all numbers that are above ten and any below ten spell out in text format. This is true in non-fiction writing only. Nonfiction writing formatted correctly will have you write out any numbers above 10 in numerical form (11,42,233…)and any numbers below 10 should be written out in narrative form( one, three..).

Nonfiction writing differs for numbers from fiction form because of clarity needed in writing. Numerous writers will select one type of writing for their numerical values and follow that information for the entire document and there have been several articles that indicate this is correct if you are not certain of which form you should write in. This particular format is typically seen for marketing materials or business presentations.

The act of following how your first number value was written should be followed for the entire document is not correct. For example, if your article started out with –4500 different cars were shown in the car show. All other sentences that had any type of numerical value in your text would be written in numerical value because you started your “numbers” in the text in numerical value is incorrect. The correct way to provide number value for this article would not be based on the first number you indicated when you were writing if writing nonfiction information.

If you indicated 4500 in the second paragraph of your material, but had a sentence that specified 7 different towns were represented, the number seven should be written out as seven because it’s less than 10.
Nonfiction writing requires that numbers above ten should be written in numerical value while numbers below ten are written out in text regardless if they are in the same document or not.

One exception for nonfiction writing is when you are referring to any percentages or mathematical figures. Even if your percentage may be less than 10, write out the numerical form of your percentage value for nonfiction writing.  Wouldn’t it look better to see 4.7% instead of four point seven percent? Imagine using that same phrase several times within an article?

The English language is never easy and as a freelance writer you should definitely know better than most. Hopefully this article will assist you with any questions or even answers needed for writing numbers within text as a freelance writer.

The information outlined in this particle article is from professional editor H. Todd a celebrated author with Hub Pages.