0
  • 71 people were rescued from the sinking ferry by the Latvian helicopter crew. (This is not wrong, but it is untidy.)
  • The Latvian helicopter crew rescued 71 people from the sinking ferry. (This re-worded version is tidier.)
  • Seventy-one people were rescued from the sinking ferry by the Latvian helicopter crew. (In this version, the number has been written in full to avoid starting the sentence with 71.)

Above are the examples from grammar-monster. Is there any limit to the number, I mean, does the same rule apply to the following sentence;

7100 people were rescued from the sinking ferry by the Latvian helicopter crew.

  • I know there are exceptions, but I am talking about that very case specifically. – Zeeshan Ali Sep 17 '18 at 11:28
  • It seems to me the underlying reason for avoiding starting sentences with Hindu-Arabic numerals is that they cannot well be capitalized. But Roman numerals can be. Would “LXXI people were rescued . . .” be OK at the beginning of a sentence? And some typographers distinguish cases for Hindu-Arabic numerals as well, with a lower case featuring descenders for 3, 4, 5, 7, and 9, and ascenders for 6 and 8. See here on a sister site. As it happens, Georgia (this site's font) defaults to the lower-case versions, while Times Roman goes upper-case. – Brian Donovan Sep 17 '18 at 14:40
  • Such matters are a question of style. Adhere to the discipline of your editor, publication, or organization, or in the absence of a house style, adopt a style manual appropriate to your audience and tastes and be consistent in its application. For example, in AP style, numbers up to nine are spelled out, whereas in Chicago style, numbers are spelled out to one hundred, and both suggest rewording to avoid starting a sentence with a numeral. – choster Nov 17 '18 at 1:07
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I learned that for numbers, if it is less than 100, you should type it out in words. If it is 100 or more, put it in numeric form. I also learned you should never start a sentence with numbers, so re-wording to get the numbers later is preferable. (It also means you can start a sentence with the worded forms of numbers less than one hundred.)

  • Welcome to SE! Could you add some links to support your answer? – miltonaut Nov 19 '18 at 1:16
  • "If it is 100 or more, put it in numeric form." rule fails when the number is a year, eg: "1947 was the year when Pakistan got independence". – Zeeshan Ali Nov 26 '18 at 7:47
  • "I also learned you should never start a sentence with numbers, so re-wording to get the numbers later is preferable." -- yes, that is the rule; but the other way is to convert that number to word(s), however a number is not always converted to words, eg when the number represents a year or a date. – Zeeshan Ali Nov 26 '18 at 7:49
1

The rule I learned in my college Journalistic Writing class was not to begin a sentence with numerals. There was no upper limit on numbers.

  • I know, but sentences like "32412 people have migrated from X to Y this year." kinda force me to rethink. And I think the sentence is fine as it is, or isn't it? Should that anyhow be like "Thirty two thousand, four hundred and twelve people.."? – Zeeshan Ali Sep 17 '18 at 16:11
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    @ZeeshanAli If you follow common style guides, you would rephrase the sentence: This year, 32,412 people have migrated from X to Y. – Jason Bassford Supports Monica Sep 17 '18 at 18:43
  • @JasonBassford And "32412 people have migrated from X to Y ." could be edited as "A total of / around 32,412 people have migrated from X to Y. ", I find it quite a good way of avoiding numbers at start of a sentence. Thanks! – Zeeshan Ali Sep 18 '18 at 4:47
  • There may be no upper limit to that rule, but surely there is a lower limit? It's incredibly common to start a sentence with "One day in June..." or "Three may keep a secret..." or even "Nine out of ten people agree..." – 1006a Oct 18 '18 at 17:18

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