Grammar and Numbers

Our lovely blog was looking rather sparse so we are digging through the newsletter archives! Here is a message from Lauri, the Oquirrh President from 2015.numbers

Success is the achievement of a goal
and without goals there can be no success.

As a writer there are quite a few things that I still struggle with on a daily basis. But whenever I fail, I always learn something for next time. What’s my biggest challenge? Grammar.

There I said it. I’m much better than I was three years ago, but I still mess up every day and have to turn to my handy dandy sources to make sure I’m accurately polishing my work. Thank goodness for the Internet, books, and fantastic teachers to point out where I strayed and lead me in the correct direction to brighten up my manuscript with beauty in the proper form.

I’ve always been stuck on using numbers and dates in my work. How do I correctly write those in?

Here are some tips…

  • Spell out all numbers beginning a sentence, i.e., Nineteen fifty-six was quite a year. Or try to reword the sentence so it doesn’t begin with a number.
  • Hyphenate all compound numbers from twenty-one through ninety-nine.
  • Hyphenate all written fractions, i.e., one-half, two-thirds.
  • When writing less than a dollar, it’s not necessary to use a decimal point, i.e., He had sixty cents.
  • Use noon and midnight rather than 12:00 p.m. or 12:00 a.m. Writing 12:00 midnight is considered incorrect.
  • For time of day, a.m./p.m., A.M./P.M., or AM/PM is acceptable, but be consistent.
  • Spell out all numbers from zero through one hundred. All numbers 101 and above are written as numerals, except if it’s a large number. In that case, you may use ten million or 101 thousand. (Note: if used in dialogue, all numbers are written and numerals are not used.)
  • For newspaper or magazine articles, numbers are only written out up to 10. Check the style of the magazine to which you are contributing.

Take what you know and apply it to your work, but don’t be discouraged if you come to a place in your story, article, or novel that halts you. There are resources and many friendly faces out there willing to help guide you to a more polished and beautiful masterpiece.

Continue to read, write and accept feedback. Most importantly remember, to succeed greatly you must fail many times and be willing to learn from your downfalls. Get back up, brush yourself off, and commit to doing it better next time.

Lauri Schoenfeld
Oquirrh Writers Chapter president


About Jodi

Jodi L. Milner is a writer, mandala enthusiast, and educator. Her epic fantasy novel, Stonebearer’s Betrayal, will be published November 2018 by Immortal Works Press. She has been published in several anthologies. When not writing, she can be found folding children and feeding the laundry, occasionally in that order.
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