You are viewing all posts tagged

How do I style percentages?

The general guideline is to use the percentage symbol with numerals and to use the word percent with spelled-out numbers.
In statistical copy that calls for frequent use of numbers, it’s appropriate to use numerals, and so the percentage symbol would be used, as in the following example, drawn from a report on a census of language enrollments:

Japanese enrollments increased by 3.1%, from 66,771 in 2013 to 68,810 in 2016; Korean enrollments increased by 13.7%, from 12,256 in 2013 to 13,936 in 2016. (Looney and Lusin 3)

In prose that does not make extensive use of numbers, as in the example below,

Published 14 November 2018

How do I style a percentage at the start of a sentence?

Since you should never begin a sentence with a numeral, you should first try to reword the sentence. If you find it unwieldy to reorder your words, spell out the number:

Seventy-six percent of the class barely passed the final, 18% flunked miserably, and 6% burst into tears.

Normally you shouldn’t mix words and numerals, but you can make an exception to avoid having a number at the start of a sentence.

Published 19 April 2018

Can you use between or from and to with a number range expressed using numerals and an en dash?

You can express a number range using words (“from . . . to”):  

The party will take place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Or you can use an en dash:

The party will take place 6 p.m.–10 p.m.

But you cannot combine words (“from”) and an en dash to convey a range:

The party will take place from 6 p.m.–10 p.m.

The reason is that the dash does not stand in for “to”; it stands in for “from . . . to.” Thus “from” has nothing completing it.
Here’s another example:

Americans between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four check their phones approximately seventy-four times each day.

Published 14 March 2018

Get MLA Style News from The Source

Be the first to read new posts and updates about MLA style.

The Source Sign-up - Style Center Footer

Skip to toolbar