Being a campus journalist, I have many rules to follow in writing. Today, I want to focus on one particular rule: using numerals in blog posts. I’ll keep this entry short, but I hope you’ll be able to follow these rules in your write-ups. These are the rules on using numerals, as written in the book “Basic Journalism” by Eufemia C. Estrada and Rosario P. Nem Singh. The book is regarded as a must-have in every campus journalist’s library, or at least in every school publication office in the country. 🙂
Spelling out numbers
Numbers up to ten must be spelled out. Don’t say “Julia has 8 cell phones”, but instead “Julia has eight cell phones.” Numbers 11 and above must be written as numerals. It is improper to write “He was guarded by twenty-seven body guards”. The correct form of that sentence would be “He was guarded by 27 body guards.” However, “Basic Journalism” says:
Figures are more readily comprehended by the reader in scientific, technical and tabular matter but for special reasons, numerals may be spelled out.
Another rule is to spell out numbers at the start of the sentence, regardless of the number of digits. However, both numerals and spelled-out figures are acceptable in headlines. In newspaper layout, journalists decide what to use depending on how the headline would look and how long it would be. Today’s headline on the Philippine Daily Inquirer, “9 shot dead in the head”, is an example.
“Basic Journalism” advises to use figures for ages, prices, scores, etc. Of course, figures should also be used for numbers above ten.
Roman numerals should be used for wars, sequences, and names of popes and royalty. “Pope John Paul II,” “World War II”, “Henry VIII”.
Finally, write: “200-meter dash; with a score of 195-123.”
I hope this post helps my fellow bloggers out there! 🙂