Last updated 4/29/2016
Visual: Walden logo at bottom of screen along with notepad and pencil background.
Audio: Guitar music.
Visual: “Walden University Writing Center. Your writing, grammar, and APA experts,” appears in the center of the screen. Background changes to a keyboard on a table and a bright red box with the text: APA Formatting & Style: Numbers.
Slide changes to a mostly gray slide with a header that reads: Numbers.
On the slide, the words, “General Rule,” appear inside a right-facing arrow.
Next to the arrow are the words: Nine and below, 10 and above.
Below that line is the word: Except…
A green box in the bottom right reads: See pages 111–114 in the APA 6th Edition.
Audio: I know that dealing with numbers in APA style can get confusing because there seem to be a lot of different rules. But if just remember a few basic rules, you’ll get along much easier. And if you ever have a question about anything, the guidelines for how to express numbers in APA style are on pages 111 through 114.
So I’ll start with the general rules first. Main general rule when you’re writing in APA style is that numbers nine and below should be spelled out; numbers 10 and above should be expressed as numerals or digits. And there are some exceptions to this—the beginning of a sentence... always use a word at the beginning of a sentence.
Visual: Appearing next to the word “Except…”:
There is a small box with a picture of a book in it, with a superimposed white box that reads: Chapter 4.
Audio: Other exceptions: When you’re talking about numbers in a series… so if I’m talking about Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, you’d use the numeral, even though they’re numbers under nine. And this is also true for tables and figures and things like that once you start having visual displays… that you’ll use the numeral instead of the number, even for numbers under five. Also, for things like scores and points.
Visual: Appearing below and to the right of the image of a book is a small box with a picture of a baseball in it. Superimposed on the picture and to the right is a white box with the words: Scores/Points: 7 points.
Audio: So if somebody scored a 0 on a test, you would still use the numeral 0. You wouldn’t spell it out. And if you’re doing a 5-point scale, you would still use the numeral 5 instead of spelling out F-I-V-E.
Visual: Appearing below and to the left of the image of the baseball is a small box with a photo of a calculator in it. Superimposed and to the right is a white box that reads: Percentages: 5.5%.
Audio: Percentages, again, unless the beginning of a sentence, to express a percentage in APA style, you would use a numeral followed by the percent sign.
Visual: Appearing above and to the left of the image of the calculator is a small box with a photo of a wristwatch. Superimposed and to the right is a white box that reads: Time: 3 years, 4 hours.
Audio: And this is the one that I think people can get stuck on is to make sure that when you’re talking about increments of time that you also express those as numerals. So if you’re talking about people’s ages, you’re talking about how much time, or how long something lasted, always use numerals instead of spelling it out.
Visual: Appearing to the right of the image of a book (first image on the slide) is a box with a picture of a pen and notebook. Superimposed on the image and to the right is a white box with the word: Abstracts.
Audio: In a course paper, you may not be required to do an abstract, but something to keep in mind if you’re doing an assignment where you need to write an abstract—all numbers in abstracts are expressed as numerals, even if they would be spelled out in the main text.
So those are some of the more common exceptions to the general rules about how to express numbers in APA style.