Numbers, dates and times
In tables, you can abbreviate the word 'number' to 'no.' in the singular form and 'nos' in the plural. Spell it out in prose, unless you are using it repeatedly.
Fewer than/more than
Use 'fewer than' when referring to people, numbers or objects. 'Less than' usually applies to quantities and sizes.
Fewer than 20 students signed up for the new course.
She weighed less than 40 kilos.
Use 'more than' rather than 'over' when referring to something that can be counted.
The concert attracted more than 2000 music-lovers.
David is over 180 centimetres tall.
Numbers and symbols in text
In text, spell out numbers from one to nine.
The woman had five nine-year-old children to look after each day.
One of the children had two siblings, aged 14 and 15.
Use figures for numbers 10 and above and all numbers in decimal point form.
Always spell out numbers at the start of a sentence. If the number is cumbersome, recast the sentence.
Ninety-five people attended the convention.
There should be no space between the number and its corresponding symbol. However, place a space between the number and an abbreviated unit of measurement.
8" x 10"
Write 'per cent' as two separate words, but 'percentage' as one. If the number is a percentage, use a figure if it is over nine.
There was a 19 per cent increase in productivity.
Use a comma with numbers over 9999. When the number goes into tens or hundreds of thousands, insert a comma before the thousand.
When the number goes into the millions, write the amount in words and figures.
Numbers and symbols in tables
In tables, write numbers as figures and use symbols (such as '%') rather than words. Do not put a space between the figure and its symbol, or between the figure and its unit of measurement.
However, if the symbol is used repeatedly in a column of a table, place the symbol in the top label to avoid repetition and crowding.
Do not place a space between the currency indicator and the dollar sign.
Spans of numbers
Separate spans of numbers with an en dash, which replaces the word 'to'.
To create an en dash on a PC, press control + minus (on the number keypad). On a Mac, press shift + opt + hyphen.
Use an unspaced en dash when joining entities that are the same.
240–246 Albert Street
pages 128–136 or pp. 27–28
Use a spaced en dash when joining complex entities.
6am – 9pm
5 April – 8 March
45 BC – 86 AD
Number spans for pages
Do not abbreviate the second number when citing page number spans.
|pp. 124–127||pp. 124–7|
|pp. 2314–2319||pp 2314–19|
Spans of years, times and dates
Do not use the en dash to replace 'and' in the phrase 'between… and…', or as a replacement in a 'from… to…' phrase. In these situations, use whole years, and words rather than an en dash.
|between 1960 and 1969||between 1960 and '69|
|from 1984 to 1987||from 1984–1987|
|between August and November 2004||between August–November 2004|
Use a spaced en dash when joining complex entities, but write it only once at the end of the span if the final element of the date repeats.
|18 May – 13 July 2004||18 May 2004 – 13 July 2004|
|8am – 1pm||8 – 1pm|
In prose, spell out the month in full, and use numerals for the date and year. Use the Australian convention of date-month-year, not the American convention of month-date-year.
14 February 1988
If you include the day of the week, place it first.
Tuesday 2 March 2004
There is no apostrophe in full-year (plural) dates.
But use an apostrophe to replace the missing prefix from decades in the twentieth century.
I grew up in the '60s.
Use the following shortened forms, without full stops, in tables.
Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec
Sun, Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat
Use 'first semester' and 'second semester' rather than '1st semester' or '2nd semester'.
There is no space between the number and the am/pm definer. Do not use full stops in 'am' or 'pm'. Use a full stop rather than a colon to separate the minutes from the hours.
To show a time span, use an unspaced en dash for simple spans and a spaced en dash for complex spans.
6.30 – 8.00pm
10am – 2pm
In prose, use either from/to or between/and in place of the en dash.
The lecture will be held from 9am to 10am on Wednesday.
The seminar takes place between 10am and 4pm on Friday.