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Grammar Repair Shop: Easy as 1, 2, 3 … or one, two, three?

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Problem: "I can't remember when or how to type numbers 1 through 10 in a paragraph or a sentence. At some point, you must actually type out the number rather than the numeral, but when?"

Lesson: That's a style question.

Personal Report adheres to Associated Press (AP) style, which holds that you spell out "one" through "nine" and use numerals for 10 and above. Example: "They have a fleet of 10 trucks and two buses."

Exceptions: Use numerals for a person's age ("a 2-year-old boy") and percentages ("a 9 percent increase"). Spell out numbers when they start a sentence—"Fifty people came to the meeting"—except when they designate a year ("2004 was the first year we turned a profit").

Other style guides, however, treat numbers differently. The Chicago Manual of Style, for example, advises that you spell out "whole numbers from one through one hundred."

Our advice: Pick a style for numbers, and stick with it.

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