Writing Numbers

When to Hyphenate Numbers

Write the numbers 21 to 99 with a hyphen. For example:

thirty-four

sixty-seven

ninety-nine

Hyphens are also used in larger numbers in the thousands and millions places. For example:

45,000 > Forty-five thousand

189,000 > One hundred [and] eighty-nine thousand

234,362,000 > Two hundred [and] thirty-four million, three hundred [and] sixty-two thousand

Note that American English does not use the [and] with larger numbers.

Hyphenating Fractions

Hyphenate fractions when they are used as adjectives or adverbs. For example:

I had a one-quarter interest in the company.

Opinion varies on whether fractions used as nouns should be hyphenated.

Words or Numerals

There are no hard and fast rules although most tend to write smaller numbers in words and use numerals for larger numbers. For example:

Four

Forty-five

125

12,089

However, you should be consistent. For example:

Frank and Blake raised five pounds each but, remarkably, Sue raise £1,250.

Would be better written

Frank and Blake raised £5 each but, remarkably, Sue raise £1,250.

It is common to use the convention that applies to the larger number for all the numbers.

Alternating words and numeral forms is sometimes required for clarity. For example:

There were five eight-year-old boys at the party.

There were 5 eight-year-old-boys at the party.