Figures at the Start of Sentences

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For neatness, try to avoid starting sentences with figures. However, if the number at the start of your sentence has a decimal point and you cannot reword the sentence, just leave it as it is.

Starting Sentences with Numbers

It is considered untidy to start sentences with figures. You should either reword your sentence or write the number in full.

Examples:
  • 71 people were rescued from the sinking ferry by the Latvian helicopter crew.
  • (This is not wrong, but it is untidy.)
  • The Latvian helicopter crew rescued 71 people from the sinking ferry.
  • (This re-worded version is tidier.)
  • Seventy-one people were rescued from the sinking ferry by the Latvian helicopter crew.
  • (In this version, the number has been written in full to avoid starting the sentence with 71.)

Do Not Expand Numbers with Decimal Places

If a number contains a decimal point, just leave it as it is. The "fix" is worse than the "fault." For example:
  • 41.67% of people add decimal places to make their statistics look more credible.
  • Forty-one point sixty-seven per cent of people add decimal places to make their statistics look more credible.


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