How to Write Numbers
- On February 15, 2017
Your generous donation helped raise $105 thousand dollars for the American Heart Association! That’s right, $105 thousand. You are a member of the #1 fund-raising team! Your support of the AHA and me personally are 2 things for which I’m grateful.
I was happy to hear all this good news, delivered in a cheerful email, but my eyes hurt when they came up against the wacky ways those numbers were presented. I had a similar sensation when I received the “3rd Anniversary Edition” of a colleague’s newsletter.
In The Associated Press Stylebook, the section on numerals is four pages long, so I can summarize only a few of the guidelines here:
• For millions, billions, and trillions, use a figure-word combination, for example $2 billion and 1 million people, but for lower amounts, use figures alone, which means I helped raise $105,000—not $105 thousand dollars or $105 thousand—for the American Heart Association.
• When you use the word number in conjunction with a figure to indicate position or rank, use the abbreviation No., not #, so I was a member of the No. 1 fund-raising team.
• In general, spell out one through nine and use figures for 10 and above, so the nice person who raised lots of money for a good cause was grateful for two—not 2—things, and my former colleague’s newsletter was his company’s third anniversary edition, not 3rd.