RE: Use fully-spelled numbers

Subject: RE: Use fully-spelled numbers
From: Andrew Warren <awarren -at- synaptics -dot- com>
To: Peter Neilson <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 8 Feb 2013 02:53:39 +0000

Peter Neilson [neilson -at- windstream -dot- net] wrote:

> Another way, which I favor, is to use the AP Stylebook or the Chicago
> Manual of Style.
>
> AP says to spell out numbers ten or less. .... CMS .... says to spell
> out 0 through 99.

I think those rules are inappropriate, or at least insufficient, for a lot of technical writing. In general, I'll spell out 0-9 or 0-99 for counts, but I'll use numerals for measurements. Some examples:

three 2-meter cables
three binary digits [we're counting bits here]
a 3-bit field [we're describing the width of a field -- a measurement -- in units of bits]
seventy-five steaks cooked to an internal temperature of 75 degrees C

There are lots of hand-waving exceptions for things that just "look wrong", and I'd also never mix numerals and spelled-out numbers like this: "Seventy-five llamas, 101 trombones, and fifteen armadillos".

-Andrew
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References:
Re: Use fully-spelled numbers: From: Peter Neilson

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