Answered By: Katie Hutchison
Last Updated: Oct 10, 2016     Views: 142213

Use numerals to express:

   a. numbers 10 and above
      examples: 12 years old, the 57th trial, 12 cm wide

   b. numbers that precede a unit of measurement
      examples: 5-mg dose, 36.3 mm

   c. numbers that represent statistical or mathematical functions, fractional or decimal quantities, percentages, and ratios
      examples: multipled by 5, .33 of the..., more than 5% of the sample..., a ratio of 15:1

   d. numbers that represent time, dates, ages, scores, points on a scale, exact sums of money and numerals
      examples: 1 hr 34 min., at 3:45 am, 2-year olds, score 5 on a 12 point scale

Use numbers expressed as words:

   a. when the number begins a sentence, title, or heading
      examples: Forty-eight percent of the sample..., Twelve students improved...

   b. common fractions
      examples: one fifth of the class..., two-thirds majority

   c. universally accepted language
      examples: the Twelve Apostles, Five Pillars of Islam

For more information, see the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. You might also find help using the APA Style blog.

Comments (11)

  1. Also I believe that you write out numbers if numbers are already written in the sentence. So if you start a sentence with a number and you have another number you would write them out to keep the sentence flowing.

    For example:
    Wrong: Fourteen lucky women received 12 bracelets and 2 airline tickets when they celebrated their anniversaries today.

    Right: Fourteen lucky women received twelve bracelets and two airline tickets when they celebrated their anniversaries today.

    This is what I was taught. Am I correct?
    by Ronda on Oct 12, 2013.
  2. Yes, sounds good! Thanks for the comment.
    by Katie Hutchison on Oct 14, 2013.
  3. I used this sentence in a thesis paper, and my professor commented;"Use professional writing and underlined the 7,000 in the second sentence. Any idea what I did wrong?

    Cigarette smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals. Of those 7,000 chemicals, 69 of them are known to cause cancer.
    by Chris on Apr 10, 2015.
  4. Chris, that can be frustrating because you do seem to have followed the APA guidelines. However, your instructor may be using a different style as a guide or has different preferences. When you are writing for a course and something like this comes up it's best to ask the instructor directly for clarification and guidelines.
    by Heidi Beke-Harrigan on Apr 11, 2015.
  5. Yes, the professor is saying don't use the 7,000 again. It is redundant. Of the 7,000 chemical found in cigarette smoke, 69 are known to cause cancer.
    by Jim on Apr 21, 2015.
  6. Question 1:
    If i am referring to a chapter number, how do I write it correctly in apa? i.e. Referring back to chapter 3 (three)...

    Question 2:
    If I am referring to a grade level in education, do I say Grade 2 or Grade Two? Capitalized?

    Thank you so much for the help
    by Hayley on Jun 15, 2015.
  7. Hayley,

    To answer your questions...
    1. For numbers less than tn you write out the number. For your example, you would write, "In chapter three, ..."

    2. Same answer for question two. You will write out the number. For example, "By Grade Two, children should..."
    by Katie Hutchison on Jun 16, 2015.
  8. I know this is probably too late to help the original poster, but for anyone who might be looking for help with this in the future...

    "Cigarette smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals; of these, 69 of them are known to cause cancer."

    Would be better sentence structure. Learning how to use semicolons correctly is a great thing, because VARIED sentence structure and lengths are something a proffessor looks for in a report
    by Jenna on Oct 03, 2015.
  9. good articles you're so awesome
    by Obat Sipilis Tradisional on Oct 18, 2015.
  10. I know that you express a percentage in words when it starts a sentence, for example: "Forty-eight percent of the workforce works is employed outside of the county." However, do you express the same percentage in words if the sentence begins with an introductory phrase? For example: "Because of the lack of industry in the county, forty-eight percent of the workforce is employed outside of the county."
    by JT on Oct 10, 2016.
  11. For more information on writing numbers in a paper, see what the Purdue OWL has to say: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/593/01/
    by Katie Hutchison on Oct 10, 2016.

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