Grammar Tip Tuesday: Starting Sentences with Numbers

Unlike some grammar rules (like the abundance of confusing comma rules), today’s grammar tip is easy to remember:

When beginning a sentence with a number, always spell out that number.

(Chicago Manual of Style 16th edition, 9.5.) “When a number begins a sentence, it is always spelled out.”

 

Example:

Correct: Nine times out of ten, I am going to beat you at chess.

Incorrect: 9 times out of ten, I am going to beat you at chess.

 

This rule applies to dates as well:

Nineteen fifty-two was the year my dad was born.

 

*If spelling out the number at the start of a sentence looks too strange, you can choose to reword. For example:

The year 1952 was the year my dad was born. Or, My dad was born in 1952.

 

Also of note: Chicago recommends omitting the “and” part of: One hundred ten candidates. As opposed to: One hundred and ten candidates.

 

I wish all grammar rules were this simple. Don’t you?

 

 

 

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