Writing Tip 1: What’s the rule for spelling numbers in a sentence?

Excited? I hope so. Chances are, unless you have studied the craft of writing. and worked as a professional writer for years, how would you confidently know the answer to this question? It’s not automatically taught in any widespread way at university.

So the idea came to me, after seeing a public document from an unexpected place today, why don’t I do a series on writing tips? For people who are guessing their way through their writing assignments, or new in their writing roles, or someone wanting to learn more in their journey about the wonderful craft of writing. So here I am.

These writing tips are taken for granted ways of working as a professional writer and communicator for more than a decade and some. Let’s get started.

Writing Tip #1

In journalism school, which seems like light years away now, I was schooled in this common rule which I’ve turned into a graphic below.

This is one of the easiest writing rules to follow: spell out numbers from one to 10. After that, revert to numerical figures only. And if you are writing a sentence that starts with a number, spell the number out.

And there may be times when rules are broken because it doesn’t work. But as a rule, this one works. It looks better to the eye, too.

Writing Credentials
Vienna Richards holds a bachelor’s degree in communications studies, majoring in journalism from New Zealand’s Auckland University of Technology (AUT). She graduated in 2001.

She has extensive writing credits starting as a chapter writer in 1998 for a HarperCollins publication, freelancing as a New Zealand Herald Columnist and magazine writer. She’s also worked in TV and radio as a journalist, news producer and radio news editor.

She has since worked as a corporate writer, speechwriter, ghostwriter and chief writer roles in public affairs communications for education, health, science, medical and broadcasting organisations and government agencies.