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 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.
In this study, seven tests were carried out
When a unit of measurement succeeds a number, the number must be written in numerals
Ratios and decimals
Ratios should be expressed with numerals and should have a colon between them
A ratio of 2:5 or a 2:5 ratio
Decimals should be expressed with numerals
Percentages and percentiles
Numbers that represent percentages should be expressed in numerals
25% of the participant
50% of the male contestant
Percentiles should be written in figures
The 5th 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
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
30 March 2012
March 30, 2012
Ages, scores, and point on a scale
Ages should be expressed in numerals
Scores and point of scale should also be written in numerals
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.
When refereeing to a table or figure the number should be written in numerals
Mathematical function and money
Numbers in a mathematical function should be written in numerals
Multiplied by 5
Currency should be written in numerals
The beginning of a sentence
When a number begins a sentence, a chapter or a heading, it should be spelled out
Three of the students that came……….
Fractions should be spelled out with a hyphen in between the numbers
Two-third of the majority
One-fifth of the participants
Universally accepted phrases
Popular phrases that include numbers should be spelled out
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!