# Writing Numbers in Expanded Form

There are a few rules that one should follow when writing numbers. Unless there is a measurement, such as inches or ounces, numbers one through nine should be in written form. Numbers above nine can be written in either numerical form or alphabetical form, such as *22* and *twenty-two*. A good rule of thumb to remember is that if the number would take more than two words to write out, like 1,442, it is best to keep them in numerical form.

## Writing Numbers

Writing numbers can be somewhat confusing, because people have different opinions on when to write out numbers and when to just put them in numerical form. I want to go over some general rules when it comes to writing numbers. Any number that is nine or below should be written out like “nine” and “four”.

Now, if one of those numbers is attached to some sort of measurement, it should be put in number form (e.g. 9cm). That’s why we have the number nine before centimeters. When you come to numbers bigger than nine, you can write them in number form, or you can write them out. You would write “58 pairs of shoes” in number form instead of writing out “fifty-eight pairs of shoes”.

Take a look at this list: There were eleven dogs, twenty-three cats, and two fish. You could write out all these numbers, but that would be somewhat confusing, because you would have so many numbers written out in one small area. It’s easier if you have a list of numbers to make sure they’re in numerical form. Notice the list has “two fish”. That number is below nine, but since it is with bigger numbers, it can also be written in numerical form.

Now, if you have several numbers that are all nine or below, it’s still important to write those out, like “two dogs, eight cats, and two fish”. When you’re talking about really large numbers, you can write those out, or you can put them in numerical form, like “2 billion” could be written as such, or it could be written as 2,000,000,000. However, if you had a more complicated number, like 2,493,672,378, you would always write this in number form. You would never write that out in a bunch of words.

The general rule is: never write out a number that it would take more than two words to write out. Fifty-eight would count as one word, so we’re good there, but 2,493,672,378 would take a whole bunch of words to write out, and it would be really confusing on the reader’s part to figure out what number the writer is actually talking about. That’s why it’s important to put it in numerical form. As a general rule, in any kind of technical writing, always use the numerical form.

Any time there’s going to be lots of numbers use the numerical form, because it makes it less confusing on the part of the reader, but when you are just talking about a number or two in formal writing, it’s best to write out the numbers when you can. Those are some tips and some rules when it comes to writing out numbers.

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Last updated: 04/20/2018

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