Friday, July 25, 2014

Helps for Better Writing (Part 3 of 11)

3. When do I write the word percent in numbers?

Percent and percentage refer to fractions of 100. Percent always follows a number: I sell 85 percent of the books I write. Do not use the symbol (%) when writing for book publication. Some magazines and newspapers use the percent symbol.

Percentage stands alone without numbers. A high percentage of writers never earn back their advance payments.

At the beginning of this entry I wrote 100 in numerals. My rule is to write everything up to 10 in words. Some publishers say up to and including ten. One editor says he always writes out every number no matter how large. This practice seems fluid, so I suggest you make your choice and remain consistent.

The dollar sign seems to present problems to some. Think of it the same way as using percent above. In commercial writing (which is what we do), we write the word: He earned four thousand dollars, but Maisie spent nine thousand.

One thing to remember is consistency. If you write a sentence with lower numerals such as one or five, which you write out, you do the same with any numbers within that same sentence. (I would say the same paragraph, but everyone doesn't agree.) Martha wrote two books after the age of one hundred seven.

I'll remember that word when I make writing choices.

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