The Oxbridge Editing Blog 15th February 2024

How To Write Numbers in Academic Writing

15th February 2024
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In academic writing, precision and consistency are paramount, extending even to how numbers are presented within the text. Understanding the rules for writing numbers ensures clarity and uniformity throughout the document. Whether you’re discussing statistical data, numerical measurements, or quantities, adhering to established conventions enhances the readability and professionalism of your work. In this article, we’ll explore how to write numbers in academic writing. 

Writing Numbers in Words

When writing numbers in words, the general rule is to spell out numbers from one to nine and use numerals for numbers 10 and above. For example:

  • Three participants attended the conference.
  • The study included 15 respondents.

Exceptions to this rule include instances where numbers begin a sentence. In such cases, it’s advisable to spell out the number regardless of its value. For instance:

  • Seventy-five per cent of the respondents preferred option A.

Additionally, when numbers are part of a title, subtitle, or proper noun, they are typically expressed as numerals. For example:

  • “2 Years of Environmental Policy Reform: A Case Study”
  • “Chapter 10: Statistical Analysis”

Rules for Writing Numbers

In addition to the specific guidelines mentioned above, several overarching rules govern the use of numbers in academic writing:

  • Consistency: Maintain consistency in how numbers are presented throughout the document. Choose a style guide, such as APA or MLA, and adhere to its conventions consistently.
  • Precision: Ensure accuracy and precision when presenting numerical data. Use exact figures whenever possible, especially in scientific and technical writing.
  • Context: Consider the context in which the numbers are used. Tailor your approach based on the nature of the content and the expectations of your audience.
  • Exceptions: Familiarise yourself with exceptions to the general rules, such as ordinal numbers (first, second, third) and fractions (one-half, three-quarters), which are typically expressed in words.
  • Clarity: Prioritise clarity and readability when presenting numerical information. Use formatting techniques, such as commas in large numbers and decimals, to enhance comprehension.
  • Units of Measurement: When using units of measurement, ensure consistency and accuracy. Follow standard conventions and abbreviations, and provide clear explanations where necessary.

By adhering to these rules and conventions, you can effectively communicate numerical information in your academic writing, enhancing clarity and professionalism.


In academic writing, the presentation of numbers plays a crucial role in conveying information accurately and effectively. By following established guidelines and considering the context of your writing, you can ensure that numerical data is presented clearly and professionally, enhancing the overall quality of your work.

If you want to ensure that your document is flawless, consider our professional academic editing and proofreading services. Our team of expert editors will meticulously review your work, addressing not only grammar and style but also verifying the accurate and consistent use of numbers. Contact us for a bespoke quote and get a polished and impeccably presented document.