Fishing for Answers: 2000 or Two-Thousand?

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Sometimes an author has questions to ask, and the best people to answer those questions are You! Fishing for Answers is where a question is asked and we then debate about the answer in the comments below. We look forward to hearing your advice, tips and thoughts.

Question: For a novel, would you write numbers like 2000 as “two-thousand” or “2000”?
How about “53” or “fifty-three”?

Give us your opinion and comment. Let’s discuss!


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22 thoughts on “Fishing for Answers: 2000 or Two-Thousand?

  1. In my academic writing for school the guidelines have always been that numbers under one-hundred are written out, and numbers over that can be written as digits. I think I live under that principle in most of my writing, although sometimes I think I’d rather spell out even large numbers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d personally write the numbers out, especially if they’re used in conversations. The only number I wouldn’t necessarily write out would be the year number. 1840, or 2015, for example.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. From my previous investigations, any number less than ten should be worded, and over that should be numerical. That is, I believe, what I read.

    I think it would, as most of the so-called rules for writing, depend largely on both the Author and the intended audience. If you are more comfortable writing the numbers in words, by all means do it. (This being my personal opinion.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, the author should choose what they are comfortable with. I think the official rule is that anything below 100 should be spelled out, but I don’t think all authors do that. I think I will, just because I’m more comfortable with it, but it’s not a rule set in stone. As long as an author is consistent with which they choose.

      Liked by 1 person

      • While looking at a submission page, I noticed that they have specific instructions concerning this.
        From putting quotation marks always on the outside of the punctuation to never writing “alright” (they want all right, all the time), as well as their instructions on numerals. A copy-and-paste:

        “NUMERALS

        — We spell out one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and ten. Everything after that is numerals.
        — When referencing time, say 3:00 p.m. (or a.m., as the case may be.) Or 3:20, etc. Do not spell out numerals.(As in three o’clock — please don’t do it that way.)”

        They have other guidelines, too, of course.
        http://whortleberrypress.com/stylebook.html

        I guess the point is, as most writers know, make sure, above all else, to check submission guidelines before making the decision permanent. Alright? Er, um, “all right?”

        Liked by 1 person

        • True, submission guidelines for each publisher should be checked over first before sending. I’ve seen other books use things like “three o’clock” and fifty-two etc, so it probably depends on if, and who, you’re submitting your MS too, or if you’re indie publishing.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. For me, it depends on the context. I usually write out numbers as words, but use digits for dates. Also, in models/names, like “The Nimbus 2000” in Harry Potter. But if I were writing an age, “He is twenty-four,” etc., I always write it out. I believe Strunk & White talk about this in their stuffy (but useful) writing guide, :), if you want the grammar.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As much as it pains me to, I spell out the numbers. It’s so much easier to type or write in 2000 instead of spelling, but countless middle school grammar exercises have taught me otherwise. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Chicago Manual of Style advises spelling out whole numbers from zero to one hundred, as well as whole numbers like “seven hundred” or “ten thousand.” Numbers written as digits include ordinals (1st, 2nd), years, percentages, large amounts of money, and page numbers and references. Numbers that begin a sentence are always spelled out.

    Overall, I don’t think any readers will notice a problem as long as you’re consistent with your numbering rules.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s hard to to CMOS, although I’ve heard you spell out everything twenty and below.

    HOWEVER, in dialogue, every number is spelled out, including dates. You write it the way people would say it. So nineteen eighty four and two thousand and one. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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