Rule 1: Spell out single-digit whole numbers. Use numerals for numbers greater than nine.
- I had two beers before the fireworks started.
- Can you seriously eat 10 hot dogs? Barf!
- She just bought six glow sticks!
- He hung up 15 flags.
Rule 2: Always follow Rule 1 for consistency, even if it means including a numeral and spelled-out number in the same sentence.
- There were 12 waffle balls when this game started, and now there’s only seven. Stop hitting homeruns!
- He made 15 cheeseburgers 20 minutes ago and now there’s only one left.
Rule 3: Ages are always numerals.
- The girl was 2 years old.
- His baby is 8 months old.
Enjoy the food and fireworks! Happy Fourth of July!
Written by Grace Lavigne, senior editor of ProfNet, a service that helps journalists connect with expert sources. Grammar Hammer is published weekly on ProfNet Connect, a free social networking site for communicators. To read more from Grace, check out her blog on ProfNet Connect.
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