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How to Write Numbers in APA

How to Write Numbers in APA

In APA style, there are various ways of spelling numbers. Many people can hardly understand the long numbers that could be written in just two words. On the other hand, there are situations when you cannot use mathematical symbols to write numbers. Let us try to figure it out!

Numbers in Words

Prime numbers in English should be written as follows:

  • over seven dollars;
  • three million pounds.

Numbers consisting of two words are written with a hyphen:

  • twenty-three years later;
  • sixty-four flowers.

Only Numbers

The spelling of numbers in English grammar includes a number of options and depends on the context of the use of numbers. For example:

  • over 30 days;
  • about 8.3 liters;
  • 7.5 pounds;
  • just $ 35.95.

As you can see from the examples, numbers in English spelling can be arranged in various ways.

Use of Numbers in Statistics

Writing numbers in statistical reports should be consistent: either in numbers or in words. For example:

  • The vote is 103 in favor and 8 opposed.
  • Five pears, nine apricots, and seven apples.

Incorrect variant:

  • Five pears, seven apricots and 8 apples.

The Beginning of a Sentence

In English grammar, it is considered correct to begin a sentence only with a number written in words. For example:

  • Five percent of the apples were broken during transportation.
  • However, you cannot use the number (graphic sign) at the beginning of a sentence:
  • 5% of the apples were broken during transportation.

The Combined Spelling of Numbers

It is allowed to use words and numbers in the same sentence in order to make the written text more understandable. For example:

  • There are 15 80-year-olds living in our town. Here, there are two numbers, 15 and 80, and the reader can consider them as one whole, 1580.
  • There are fifteen 80-year-olds living in our town. Such a spelling facilitates the perception of the text.

You should use only numbers (not words) in such cases:

  1. If they mean a physical quantity or amount of money (5 kg, 35 dollars).
  2. When listing several numbers separated by commas (1, 3, 7, 11, 19).

The reader perceives the numbers faster, often without reading, but by catching them with a glance. It must be taken into account when editing text.

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Only the numbers must be written in the case when they are indicating the order of the elements in a single structure. For example:

  • Divisions in public, educational, industrial, scientific, military organizations (1st form, 2nd workshop, 5th category, 8th detachment, 3rd regiment).
  • Editions (1st volume, 12th edition, 5th verse, 15th series).
  • Streets, porch, floor


Simple fractions are written with a slash with a superscript and subscript arrangement of numbers, without separating them from the integer number: 71/8. In decimal fractions, as in integers, spaces are made after three digits. Grouping starts from a comma in one or the other direction, for example, 8 325,867 3. When listing decimal fractions, a semicolon is put between them (12.7; 30.8; 46.2).

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