Chicago Style Workout 25: Numerals versus Words

Step It Up!

This month’s workout, “Numerals versus Words,” is taken from CMOS 17, paragraphs 9.2–7. Advanced editors might tackle the questions cold; learners can study paragraphs 9.2–7 of the Manual before answering the questions.

Subscribers to The Chicago Manual of Style Online may click through to the linked sections of the Manual. (For a 30-day free trial of CMOS Online, click here.)

Note: Dictionaries and style guides sometimes disagree. These questions are designed to test knowledge of The Chicago Manual of Style, which prefers Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition. Other style guides may follow a different dictionary.

Chicago Style Workout 25: Numerals versus Words (CMOS 9.2–7)

1. In nontechnical contexts, Chicago advises spelling out whole numbers (cardinal and ordinal) from zero through one hundred. {The third parking lot will provide space for 540 more cars.} {Thirty-two children from eleven families were packed into eight vintage Beetles.}
a.  
b.  
2. Numbers over one hundred are always expressed in numerals. {Most provincial theaters were designed to accommodate large audiences—from about 700 spectators in a small city like Lorient to as many as 2,000 in Lyon and Marseille.} 
a.  
b.  
3. In a context with many large numbers—especially if round numbers occur alongside numerals that are not round—it may be best to opt for numerals for all such numbers.
a.  
b.  
4. Except for years, a number that begins a sentence is spelled out. {One hundred ten candidates were accepted.} {In all, 110 candidates were accepted.} {2010 was a good year for Bordeaux.}
a.  
b.  
5. Chicago style avoids and in such expressions as two thousand onetwo thousand tentwo thousand fifty, and the like.
a.  
b.  
6. In Chicago style, the letters in ordinal numbers should not appear as superscripts (e.g., 122nd, not 122nd).
a.  
b.  
7. In the same sentence or paragraph, items in one category may be given as numerals and items in another spelled out. {A mixture of buildings—one of 103 stories, five of more than 50, and a dozen of only 3 or 4—has been suggested for the area.}
a.  
b.  
8. If a number beginning a sentence is followed by another number of the same category, spell out only the first or reword. {One hundred eighty of the 214 candidates had law degrees; the remaining 34 were doctoral candidates in fish immunology.}
a.  
b.  
9. If according to a given rule you must use numerals for one of the numbers in a given category, use them for all in that category. {A mixture of buildings—one of 103 stories, five of more than 50, and a dozen of only 3 or 4—has been suggested for the area.}
a.  
b.  
10. Where many numbers occur within a paragraph or a series of paragraphs, it’s best to maintain consistency in the immediate context. {Between 1,950 and 2,000 people attended the concert.}
a.  
b.  

 

Photo: Cardio challenge workout class at Bellamorphosis health club on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, NC, Feb. 22, 2010 (US Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ciara Wymbs).

 

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