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The formal grammar demands that numbers be written out as words at the beginning of a sentence. I have a paragraph like the one below and I am not sure how best to re-phrase it so as to conform to the academic grammars. General suggestions on writing this type of sentences (sentences with "complex numbers") are especially welcome. (I intentionally put all numbers at the beginning of all sentences to highlight the issue)

4165 cases of respondents reported pain in knee joints, hand joints or wrists. 60.77% of them reported only knee pain whereas 64.71% reported pain in hand and wrist joints. 74.89% of the patients with osteoarthritis complained knee pain while 87.64% of the patients with rheumatoid arthritis complained hand and wrist pain. 69.55% of the patients 60 years old and above showed signs of knee pain while 46.78% of the patients 40 years old and younger showed similar signs. 69.24% of the patients 40 years old and younger complained about hand and wrist pain and 62.50% of the patients 60 years old and above have a similar complaint.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by J.R., MετάEd, Kris, TrevorD, p.s.w.g Jul 30 '13 at 18:02

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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You might be able to find some answers among this list. –  J.R. Jul 28 '13 at 23:31
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I note your comment that you "intentionally put all numbers at the beginning of all sentences", but my answer would be that using the numbers as digits is perfectly acceptable (especially as they are statistics and percentages, and far easier to read as digits) - but I would try to reword as least the first sentence of the paragraph to avoid the digits being at the beginning (e.g "There were 4165 cases ..."). OTOH I see no problem with the percentages being at the beginning of the sentences in mid-paragraph, particularly as this is a statistical report. –  TrevorD Jul 28 '13 at 23:38
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Never learned it before but "The Bedford Handbook states that generally, figures are accepted for dates, addresses, percentages, fractions, decimals, scores, statistics and other numerical results". Thanks a lot ! –  B Chen Jul 28 '13 at 23:54
    
Not related to the English language & usage. Perhaps, writersSE or another Q&A site might be better suited. –  Kris Jul 30 '13 at 6:54
    
I'd suggest putting them in a table. The mass of verbiage doesn't help anyone to see or understand any more clearly. –  Brian Hooper Jul 30 '13 at 8:13

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Simple introductory phrases, coupled with slight grammatical shifts, or a slight reordering can address this issue [italics indicate additions, brackets indicate deletions]:

There were 4165 cases of respondents who reported pain in knee joints, hand joints or wrists. Of these 60.77% [of them] reported only knee pain whereas 64.71% reported pain in hand and wrist joints. Additionally 74.89% of the patients with osteoarthritis complained of knee pain while 87.64% of the patients with rheumatoid arthritis complained of hand and wrist pain. [69.55%] of the patients 60 years old and above, 69.55% showed signs of knee pain while 46.78% of the patients 40 years old and younger showed similar signs. [69.24%] of the patients 40 years old and younger, 69.24% complained about hand and wrist pain and 62.50% of the patients 60 years old and above have a similar complaint.

Some variety in sentence structure would make the reading more interesting.

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