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    • Join Date: Oct 2007
    • Posts: 1

    MLA writing for numbers

    How great an error is it to write "16th Century" in an essay instead of spelling out "sixteenth century". Until I had actually looked up the MLA writing method in essays I have always seen the first example used and was always under the impression that after the number ten was when you changed over to writing out the digits for numbers?

    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434

    Re: MLA writing for numbers

    Welcome to the forums.

    The fully spelled-out is regarded as more formal, but I have seen both forms in serious publications.

  1. Newbie
    Student or Learner

    • Join Date: Dec 2009
    • Posts: 1

    Re: MLA writing for numbers

    Most MLA websites recommend writing out numbers (using three instead of 3).

    If I have a quote with the numerals, and wanted to write it in words, is there a way to indicate that I've changed the quote? Or do I not need to indicate that I've spelled the numbers out?

    For example, I want to change a quote from "the country is still only 16 percent energy self-sufficient" to "the country is still only sixteen percent energy self-sufficient." Is that okay to do without marking it in some way?


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434

    Re: MLA writing for numbers

    My instinct is to say you should not change anything within a quote.
    The spelling out of numerals in typesetting stops after the figure reaches double-figures - so any figure following 10 will use numerals.

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