APA Formatting & Style: Numbers
Last updated 5/6/2020
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Audio: Guitar music
Visual: Slide changes to the following: Numbers.
- Nine and below as words
- 10 and above as numerals
There were only four teachers for every 25 students in the class.
- Chapter 4
- Time: 3 years, 4 hours
- Scores/points: 7 points
- Percentages: 5.5%
Audio: APA also has particular rules it asks writers to follow in regards to numbers. We’re going to go over the general guidelines APA provides around numbers, as well as a few common exceptions students encounter.
The general rule is that when using APA style, writers should write out numbers nine and below as words, but present numbers 10 and above as numerals. This is the general rule that applies across most situations.
However, APA also presents a few exceptions where they ask writers to use numerals in all cases. These include references to chapters, like Chapter 4. All numbers in abstracts should also be in numerals. Additionally, any numbers that represent time should also be in numerals, so, for example, 3 years or 4 hours. Similarly, specific scores or points are represented in numerals, as are specific percentages. These are all exceptions to APA’s general rules for numbers, as these numbers could have been written out since they are below 10. However, because these are exceptions, we represent them with numerals instead.
APA’s number rules can take some time to get used to. Our suggestion is that you incorporate checking your numbers and how they are presented as part of your proofing or editing process for your paper. Go ahead and write your draft however you normally would, but before you finalize it, read through to check for these number rules. This process can help you start incorporating APA’s preferences for how numbers are presented in your own writing.
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