Bucknell University's editorial style follows the style of the Associated Press in the presentation of numbers. This guide aims to simplify the AP's somewhat complex rules for using numbers in text by presenting the most common uses of numerals and time elements in one place. For more detailed guidance, see the AP Stylebook entries on numerals, cents, dollars, dates, months, time element and time of day.

In most uses, spell out whole numbers below 10; use figures for 10 and above. One common exception to this rule is when the number above 10 is the first word in the sentence. In this situation, spell out the word. (Refer to the AP Stylebook for other exceptions.)

Examples: There are 22 students in the class.
Twenty-two students enrolled in the course.
There is only one professor teaching the course this semester. 

Use figures and words and decimals up to two decimal points for millions, billions and larger amounts. Spell out all numbers if they begin a sentence.

Examples: She has three notebooks, 15 textbooks and 3 million assignments.
The budget is $6.25 billion.
Nineteen people donated $1 million each.
           

Guidance for writing dates and times, and for other uses of figures, follows.

Time Elements


a.m., p.m. Lowercase, with periods.


Annual An event should not be described as annual until it has been held at least two consecutive years. First annual is impossible.


days, months, years Always use Arabic figures for dates, without st, nd, rd or th.

Examples: Jan. 15, 2007; Aug. 11; September 1968.

Spell out months when used without a numerical date.

Example: Winter break runs from December to January.

When used with a day, abbreviate Jan., Feb., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec. Never abbreviate March, April, May, June or July (the months spelled with five or fewer letters).

Example: His birthday is Nov. 29. Commencement will take place on May 21.

Only include the year in a date if it is not the current year.

Example: Bucknell's charter was signed by the governor on Feb. 5, 1846. This year Commencement will take place on May 21.


Days of the Week Spell out; do not abbreviate. In news copy, use specific days with dates to avoid confusion.

Example: Classes begin Monday, Aug. 22.


Decades Use Arabic figures, apostrophes to indicate missing numerals and an s to show plural.

Examples: 1980s, the ’70s, the mid-1930s. (Note the direction of the apostrophe in abbreviations such as the ’90s and ’67.)


Seasons Do not capitalize unless used in the official name of a program or event.

Examples: He studied psychology in fall 2017. She plans to graduate this spring. The Fall Festival will include several alumni activities.


Time of Day Use figures except for noon and midnight. Use a colon to separate hours from minutes if minutes are used.

Examples: 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3:30 p.m.


Other Uses Of Numbers


Addresses and street names Always use figures for an address number. Spell out and capitalize First through Ninth when used as a street name. Use figures for 10th and above.

Example: She lives at 19 Seventh Street. His apartment is on 15th Street.


GPA Acceptable in all references to grade-point average. It should be represented with figures and no more than two decimal points.

Example: 3.65.


Money Use $ before Arabic figures for dollars, and the word cents after Arabic figures for amounts less than $1. Use decimals only for dollar amounts that include cents. For millions or more, use the first figure and up to two decimal points along with million, billion, etc.

Examples: 55 cents, $1, $2.44, $3 million, $14.55 billion. However, spell out to avoid awkward constructions, particularly in quotes: "I gave him one dollar for each A on his report card," John Smith said.


Telephone numbers Use figures and hyphens, without parentheses for area codes. Always include the area code.

Example: 570-577-3698.

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