When to spell out numbers and when to use figures:

General rule: Spell out one through nine, use figures for 10 and above.


  • Spell out all numbers that start a sentence: Fifty years ago, U.S. astronauts landed on the moon. * Exception to the exception: Years: 2019 went by so fast!
  • Ages: Always figures. He’s 45 years old. His children are 2, 6 and 9.
  • Measurements (including distances): Always figures. She is 5 feet 3 inches tall. The hotel is 7 miles from the airport.
  • Percentages: Always figures. 5 percent, 8.6 percent.
  • Addresses: Figures. 5 Main St. * Exception to the exception: Spell out street names that are numbers if they’re under 10. Use figures for 10 and up: Fifth Avenue, 42nd Street.
  • Numerical designations after a noun: Always figures. Route 9. Page 6. Grade 7 (but “seventh grade”).


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