Writing Style – Rules for Numbers

BizWritingTip reader: “I was recently told that in a written document numbers should be displayed in written form for values of nine or less and numerically for values of 10 or larger; is this correct?”

BizWritingTip response: Yes, this is Canadian style. Spell out whole numbers below 10 and use figures for 10 and above.

Example (correct)
Each team has six players on the ice in hockey, but 12 players on the field in football.

But, naturally, there are exceptions to the rule.

Use figures for the following information:

1. Addresses: 2 Queen Street

2. Ages when used alone: Rosemary, 9, was not hurt in the accident.

3. Dates and years: July 1, 2009

4. Decisions, scores, rulings, votes, and odds: The score was 3-1. The odds are 2-1.

5. Page and figure numbers: See figure 3 on page 9.

6. Sequential designations: Chapter 8, RR 3, Grade 4, Highway 9

7. Clock times: We will meet at 6 p.m.

8. Latitude and longitude: 33 degrees south

9. Money amounts when accompanied by a dollar sign: $5, $3 billion (but five dollars)

Are you sorry you asked?