Numbers in APA Format


When you are writing an academic paper or essay, there is a very high probability that you would need to use numbers in your text. For example, having to report numerical information about the demographics of participants or the results of the statistical analysis carried out in the course of the research.

Furthermore, writing a non-empirical paper might also attract numbers as you may need to display the percentage of a population that is having the issues you are looking into and so on. Hence, it is essential to have guidelines for the use of numbers in academic papers. Plus, authors must be ready to follow the guidelines to ensure the readability of their paper.

Like most writing styles, APA style has guidelines for the use of numbers. Plus, it recommends that words should be used to express numbers that are below ten and using numerals to express numbers that are ten and above. This is the golden rule of the use of numbers in APA format. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, and these exceptions are what we would be looking at in this article.

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Numbers in APA style

pointing hand Numbers to Be Written in Numerals

There are times where numbers other than those that are ten and above are expressed in numerals. They are:

Numbers in the abstract, table or figure

When the numbers are mentioned in the abstract, a table, or a figure, it should be written in numerals to ensure brevity.

For example

In this study, seven tests were carried out


When a unit of measurement succeeds a number, the number must be written in numerals

For example

672 cm

45 gal

Ratios and decimals

Ratios should be expressed with numerals and should have a colon between them

For example

A ratio of 2:5 or a 2:5 ratio

Decimals should be expressed with numerals

For example



Percentages and percentiles

Numbers that represent percentages should be expressed in numerals

For example

25% of the participant

50% of the male contestant

Percentiles should be written in figures

For example

The 5th percentile

5oth percentile

Time and date

You are expected to use numerals to express numbers that represent time except for the approximation of time where you write them in words

For example

She has not been to check the test for three weeks

The time is 7:30 am

You are to use numerals to express dates following the consistent order of information

For example

30 March 2012

March 30, 2012

Ages, scores, and point on a scale

Ages should be expressed in numerals

For example



Scores and point of scale should also be written in numerals

For example

He had a perfect 8 in the test

An 8-point scale

Chapter in a book, specific place in a numbered series, tables and figures

The chapters in a book or specific places in a numbered series should be expressed in numerals.

For example

Chapter 4

When refereeing to a table or figure the number should be written in numerals

For example

Table 2

Figure 3

Mathematical function and money

Numbers in a mathematical function should be written in numerals

For example

Multiplied by 5

Currency should be written in numerals

For example


pointing hand Numbers To Be Written in Words

The beginning of a sentence

When a number begins a sentence, a chapter or a heading, it should be spelled out

For example

Three of the students that came……….

Five Samples

Common fractions

Fractions should be spelled out with a hyphen in between the numbers

For example

Two-third of the majority

One-fifth of the participants

Universally accepted phrases

Popular phrases that include numbers should be spelled out

For example

The five pillars of Islam

The Twelve Apostles

Additional Tips in Using Numbers in APA Format

  • Place a zero before a decimal fraction that is less than one. However, if the statistic cannot exceed one, then you do not need a zero
  • If you are using two number modifiers against a noun, then you should use a combination of both numerals and words

You may also want to read Numbers in Chicago Format!

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By Andy Xavier

Andy is an avid content developer and writer. He is experienced in creating engaging articles that are entirely unique and insightful. He has written lots of articles for Scientific Editing since 2019.

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