I am proofreading some rules and came across the following:

Each turn you must do 1 of 2 things: either take an action on 1 of the top 2 cards of your deck, or discard the top card of your deck"


When taking an action, choose 1 of the three actions that may be present on the active area of the card. The 3 actions are: . . .

My gut tells me that the "1"s should be written out as "one" but that the "2"s and "3" could be left as ordinals or written out. I am also aware that some would say that all these numbers should be written as words, since they are less than ten. How should the above best be written?

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    At the very least, I would say "be consistent." 1 of three is kind of ridiculous, and I can't think of a reason I would ever do that. Or even writing out three in one sentence and then using 3 in the next. – spoko Apr 4 '18 at 17:03

I agree with, and routinely use, the "all numbers less than or equal to ten are written out" rule to which you refer; in my profession (technical writing) we routinely number procedural steps with numerals, when fewer than ten steps are involved. I would far rather see those written out when they are embedded in a sentence.

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    "....fewer than ten steps..." – fdb Apr 4 '18 at 16:57
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    "but when embedded in a sentence, I...." a classic dangling participle. – fdb Apr 4 '18 at 16:58
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    @fdb I don't know. I only care to see these things written out when I, personally, am embedded in a sentence. True, it isn't a frequent occurrence, but that's how it is. – spoko Apr 4 '18 at 17:01
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    I do enjoy this crowd! – GerardFalla Apr 4 '18 at 17:03
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    To be honest, though, I'm not sure I agree with the "less than ten, spell it out" rule itself. Using numerals (especially lining figures) offers one distinct advantage: The reader can easily scan for the numbers—e.g., if they are looking back over the text later, remembering the broad strokes but wanting to be sure about the exact steps or precise amounts. With instructions, especially, this can be a significant help. – spoko Apr 4 '18 at 17:09

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