Answered By: Katie Hutchison
Last Updated: Sep 01, 2016     Views: 362

Here is what APA describes for numbers:

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: multiplied 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


As for percentages specifically, APA has this to say:

1. Use the percent symbol after any number expressed as a numeral. For example: 12%. In APA style, numbers greater than nine are expressed as numerals and use the percent symbol.

2. Use the word "percent" after any number expressed as a word. For example: five percent.

3. Use the word "percent" after any number that begins a sentence, title or text heading. The APA rule for numbers is that you should begin a sentence with a word even if the number is greater than nine, and the word "percent" should also be used. For example: Forty-eight percent of the sample showed an increase.

4. Use the percent symbol in tables and figures even if the symbol follows a number smaller than 10; APA style directs writers to use symbols in those cases to save space.

5. Use the word "percentage" when you do not provide an exact number. For example: The student determined the percentage of rats that ate the food in the control condition.

For more information, see the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

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