Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Possible Duplicate:
Why do English writers avoid explicit numerals?

In German, numbers below (and including) twelve are spelt out (eins, zwei, ...) while the numbers above twelve are usually written as numbers (13, 14, ...).

It's an informal rule, but still. Is this similar in English?

share|improve this question

marked as duplicate by RegDwigнt, ShreevatsaR, Kosmonaut Jan 25 '11 at 14:04

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

3  
There is an interesting "hybrid" convention with large numbers, especially with currency. Most publications will use $23 million or $1.5 billion rather than listing out all the zeros. –  Jay Jan 24 '11 at 2:39
    
I seem to remember this question, or something related, has been asked or answered on this site before… –  ShreevatsaR Jan 24 '11 at 5:42
    
@ShreevatsaR: indeed, in fact it's one of the most popular questions ever (rank four by the number of votes): Why do English writers avoid explicit numerals? –  RegDwigнt Jan 24 '11 at 10:38

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

One convention is that we spell out 1 to 9, and use numerals from 10 onwards. There are other conventions. However, if you have a sentence in which numbers in both categories appear, it may be better to standardize by using only words or only numerals. For example,

He has eleven bananas while I have two.

He has 11 bananas while I have 2.

share|improve this answer
    
+1 for mentioning consistency. That's a very important point. –  Maxpm Jan 24 '11 at 2:44

It depends. Different publications enforce different style rules about this. The Associated Press Style Guide prefers numbers up to ten to be spelled out, and anything over (including 11), to be put into numerals.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.