Re. Spelling numerals and capping bullets

Subject: Re. Spelling numerals and capping bullets
From: Geoff Hart <geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 1996 11:40:16 LCL

Elizabeth Carmack asked two questions:

1. Spelling out numbers? We've always used a simple rule:
any number that resulted from a measurement, and is thus
accompanied by a unit of measure (metres, %, etc.), uses a
numeral; indices, which started out as having a unit of
measure in both the numerator and the denominator, use
numerals; and anything counted rather than measured, and
thus unaccompanied by units of measure, uses the numeral
for 1-9 and spells out from "ten" and up.

One possible source of difficulty that requires a style
decision: What do you do about units of time such as days?
Again, we used a simple rule: if we discussed fractional
units of time, stuff which is implicitly measured rather
than counted, we used numerals throughout the text (e.g.,
it'll take you 2.5 days to get there); if we only talked
about generic whole days, we used both numerals and text,
as appropriate (it'll take you less than three days).

2. Capping first words in bulleted lists: Here, use a
simple rule based on common sense. If the item is a
complete, grammatical sentence, start it with a capital. If
not, you'd only use a cap if the word is a proper noun. Use
similar logic to determine how to punctuate the points in
the list: end with periods (or !, ?, etc.) if they're full
sentences; use commas or semicolons at the end if the
bullets each complete the sentence that introduces the
list; otherwise, since you're not being grammatical
anyways, choose whatever style pleases you and be
consistent. Also make the points parallel: don't mix
sentences and sentence fragments.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)}
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

Disclaimer: If I didn't commit it in print in one of our
reports, it don't represent FERIC's opinion.

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