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.”
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?