Numbers, units and operators
Numbers, units and operators are used frequently in articles. We often quote the incidence of a condition as a range or say that x happens in more than y% of cases.
To try and keep the style similar across the site, and maximise the readability of these figures, we have some simple suggestions.
- if a number is less than 10, use full text, e.g. four
- if a number is over 10, use digits, e.g. 5000
- thousands separators can be helpful for very big numbers, e.g. 10,700,000
- decimals: don't go crazy, more than 2 is usually a special case, e.g. 1.76
- fractions: no spaces either side of the slash, e.g. 1/4
When ranges are included there should be no space either side of the dash, e.g. "22-27". If the range is described within prose, there should be no dash, e.g. "the mean length is between 10 and 15 centimeters", not "the mean length is between 10-15 cm). Notice too, that the unit should be included in full if used in prose.
When using units, there should always be a space between the number and unit. This stems from the fact that the number is a numeric representation of a word and you would never not have a space between two words. If the number is written in text, the unit should be written in full:
- two millilitres
- 15 ml (remember that it is ml, not mls)
- where a percent sign is used, it should not have a preceding space, e.g. "22%"
- where an operator is used, it should not have a space after it, e.g. "<45"
Help and Style Guide
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Synonyms & Alternative Spellings
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