Using numbers in essays can be quite confusing. There is no general rule agreed upon by all writers and handbooks. Therefore, personal preference is okay as long as there is consistency throughout your essay.

Basic rules for deciding between spelling out numbers or using figures

  1. Write out numbers zero to nine, or zero to one hundred. This is based on the style adapted by the writer. Pick one style and remain consistent throughout the essay.

  2. Spell out numbers at the beginning of the sentence.
    e.g. Twenty-five students studied French in the same classroom.

  3. Hyphenate compound numbers and fractions.
    e.g. Twenty-five, two-fifths

  4. Use figures for time of day.
    e.g. 12:34 pm

  5. Use figures for decimals.
    e.g. 0.76

  6. For whole numbers greater than three digits, do not use "and".
    e.g. Two thousand seven hundred ten

  7. Spell out centuries or decades.
    e.g. Twenty-first century