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When to Spell Out Numbers in Writing (Guide + Examples)

Introduction

❶Electronic Sources Reference List: Twenty-seven of them were hospitalized.

MLA Formatting and Style Guide

Language & Lit
June 26, 2014
MLA General Format

Below are some basic guidelines for formatting a paper in MLA style. These sections may include individual chapters or other named parts of a book or essay. MLA recommends that when you divide an essay into sections that you number those sections with an arabic number and a period followed by a space and the section name.

MLA does not have a prescribed system of headings for books for more information on headings, please see page in the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing , 3rd edition. If you are only using one level of headings, meaning that all of the sections are distinct and parallel and have no additional sections that fit within them, MLA recommends that these sections resemble one another grammatically.

For instance, if your headings are typically short phrases, make all of the headings short phrases and not, for example, full sentences. Otherwise, the formatting is up to you.

It should, however, be consistent throughout the document. If you employ multiple levels of headings some of your sections have sections within sections , you may want to provide a key of your chosen level headings and their formatting to your instructor or editor.

The following sample headings are meant to be used only as a reference. You may employ whatever system of formatting that works best for you so long as it remains consistent throughout the document. Purdue Online Writing Lab. Common Words that Sound Alike Numbers: Text Elements Visual Rhetoric: Process and Materials Overview: An Introduction Researching Programs: Practical Considerations Researching Programs: Drafting Your Statement Statements of Purpose: The Basics In-Text Citations: Basic Rules Reference List: Articles in Periodicals Reference List: One-half is slightly less than five-eighths.

With figures of four or more digits, use commas. Count three spaces to the left to place the first comma. Continue placing commas after every three digits. Some choose not to use commas with four-digit numbers, but this practice is not recommended. It is not necessary to use a decimal point or a dollar sign when writing out sums of less than a dollar.

He had only sixty cents. OR He had only 60 cents. Do not add the word "dollars" to figures preceded by a dollar sign. For clarity, use noon and midnight rather than AM and PM are also written A.

Some put a space between the time and AM or PM. For the top of the hour, some write 9: Using numerals for the time of day has become widely accepted. The flight leaves at 6: Please arrive by She takes the four thirty-five train. The baby wakes up at five o'clock in the morning. Mixed fractions are often expressed in figures unless they begin a sentence. Five and one-half percent was the expected wage increase.

The simplest way to express large numbers is usually best. You can earn from one million to five million dollars. You can earn from one million dollars to 5 million dollars. Write decimals using figures. As a courtesy to readers, many writers put a zero in front of the decimal point.

The plant grew 0. The plant grew only 0. When writing out a number of three or more digits, the word and is not necessary. However, use the word and to express any decimal points that may accompany these numbers. When writing out numbers above , do not use commas. The following examples are typical when using figures to express dates.

When spelling out decades, do not capitalize them. During the eighties and nineties, the U. When expressing decades using figures, it is simpler to put an apostrophe before the incomplete numeral and no apostrophe between the number and the s.

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The Modern Language Association established their documentation format in order to create consistency among papers and publications focused on language and literature. Following those standards throughout your paper not only with citations, but also for other elements of format such as the use of numbers, constructs.

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MLA is a style of documentation based on a general methodology that may be applied to many different types of writing. Since texts have become increasingly mobile, and the same document may often be found in several different sources, following a set of rigid rules no longer suffices.

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MLA style specifies guidelines for formatting manuscripts and using the English language in writing. MLA style also provides writers with a system for referencing their sources through parenthetical citation in their essays and Works Cited pages. Create a header that numbers all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner, one-half. Comparing MLA and APA: Numbers By David Becker. The two styles have very different rules for when to write numbers as words or numerals. MLA Style spells out numbers that can be written in one or two words (three, fifteen, seventy-six, one thousand.

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How to Format Numbers in MLA8. You may find that your source is numbered, and you’ll want to be sure to include that information in your citation. Although usage varies, most people spell out numbers that can be expressed in one or two words and use figures for numbers that are three or more words long. Note: If you are using a specific citation style, such as MLA or APA, consult the style manual for specific formatting instructions.