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Is there a rule that the number '3' should be written as 'three'? Options
Koh Elaine
Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2018 9:28:23 AM
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Joined: 7/4/2012
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Emily: Who was that guy you were talking to at the bar? It looked like he was hitting on you.

Sarah: Yeah, we struck up a conversation, and eventually he asked me out. I gave him my number, but I’m not sure if I’ll actually go out with him.

Emily: Oh? How come?

Sarah: He’s nice, but I just don’t feel like we have much chemistry – so I don’t want to lead him on.

Emily: Well, don’t be too quick to judge. My last boyfriend and I didn’t hit it off right away – I only started to fall for him after we went out a few times and I got to know him better. We were together for 3 years.

Sarah: So why’d you split up? If you don’t mind my asking.


1. Is there a rule that the number '3' should be written as 'three'?
2. Should the sentence in bold, strictly speaking, be written as "So why’d you split up if you don’t mind my asking?"

Thanks.
thar
Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2018 10:37:45 AM

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Well this reads like a script, so it is being said anyway, not written.

Some people quote rules about numbers but the basic rule is to be clear. If a number is clearer as digit, use a digit. A second consideration is to be elegant, and not stick digits in a sentence of flowing language. So something like this, where a digit is not necessary - yes, I would expect to write it as 'three years'.

{Normal advice though - style guides have rules for digits}


There are two different sentences here, so it is natural to separate them.
First is the question:
Why did you split up?

And then there is the apology for asking a personal question:
If you don't mind my asking.
(= please only respond if you don't mind my asking why you broke up. If you do mind my asking, I apologise for asking a personal question and understand that you don't want to answer)

So these are two separate things. You could use a comma, or start a new sentence. It really depends on how much of a pause there is in the spoken version that the writer is encoding.
But you have to have some sort of break, because this is not one phrase, like:
Why did you break the window if the door was open?

This is two separate things. A question and then a partial retraction of that question.


capitán
Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2018 12:02:57 PM

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Location: San Salvador, San Salvador, El Salvador
_I don´t know, but I am the kind of person who writes even numbers in letters.-
wordnerd101
Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2018 7:49:42 PM
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I learned single digits are written in word form, double or more digits are written in numeric form. Unless the number begins a sentence then it's always written out
RuthP
Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2018 9:30:18 PM

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Joined: 6/2/2009
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In formal writing, it depends upon which style manual you are using. In writing for publication, you need to know what the publication wants. Two big, general styles are the MLA (Modern Language Association) and the APA (American Psychological Association). The latter is the style used in most scientific writing, the former more in liberal arts, fine arts and social sciences.

So here's from the APA blog in 2014:

"MLA Style spells out numbers that can be written in one or two words (three, fifteen, seventy-six, one thousand, twelve billion) and to use numerals for other numbers (2¾; 584; 1,001; 25,000,000). APA Style, on the other hand, generally uses words for numbers below 10 and numerals for numbers 10 and above. Jun 26, 2014"
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