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# Spelling Out Fractions

## How to Spell Out Fractions

The most common convention when spelling out fractions as words is to write the top number (the numerator) as a cardinal number (e.g., three, four, five) and the bottom number (the denominator) like an ordinal number (thirds, fourths, fifths). For example:- The population reduced by two-fifths. (This is how ⅖ is written.)
- The population reduced by one-half. (This is how ½ is written.)
- The population reduced by 3 and one-third. (This is how 3⅓ is written.)

## How to Hyphenate Fractions

To show the fraction as one grammatical entity and to aid reading, it is a common convention to hyphenate the numerator and the denominator (as shown in the examples above). However, when the numerator or the denominator includes a hyphen in its own right (e.g, twenty-three or twenty-thirds), then the hyphen joining the numerator and the denominator is often dropped for style purposes. For example:- I will receive three thirty-fifths of my salary. (This is how 3/35 is written. "Three-thirty-fifths" looks too unwieldy.)
- I will receive forty-one fiftieths of my salary. (This is how 41/50 is written. "Forty-one-fiftieths" looks too unwieldy.)
- I will receive forty-fiftieths of my salary. (This is how 40/50 is written. If there are no hyphens in the numerator or the denominator, then revert to the normal rules.)

## Hyphenation with Fractions as Quantifiers

Another popular style differentiates between standalone fractions and fractions used as quantifiers. In this style, a fraction is not hyphenated when it stands alone but is hyphenated when it is used as a quantifier. For example:- The population reduced by two fifths. (Note that this is different from the most common style shown above.)
- There was a two-fifths reduction in the population. (In this example, "two-fifths" is hyphenated because it quantifies "reduction.")

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