At What’s Up Yukon, it’s as easy as one, two, three.
That’s right, this one’s about numbers.
And … it gets complicated. Again, this is where your publication’s House Style trumps everything else.
Most Canadian newspapers and magazines follow The Canadian Press Stylebook (CP Style), and that includes What’s Up Yukon.
Numbers one to nine are spelled out; numbers 10 and above are shown as numerals.
But, there are oh-so-many exceptions to this rule.
It’s the Ten Commandments, not the 10 Commandments. And, one of my favourite drinks is 7Up, not Seven Up. It’s “Love Potion Number 9”, not Love Potion Number Nine.
In plays, it’s Act 1, Scene 1; in books, it’s Chapter 3. In classrooms, it’s grade 11, but eleventh grade.
In heaven, it’s Cloud 9 (where angels indulge in cream-cheese delights).
Something is a number-one priority, or it’s No. 1. It’s round 3 of a boxing match, but the third round.
It’s a slant-6 engine in a ’64 push-button-automatic Dodge Valiant (loved that car).
It’s “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” (exactly where they should remain when cruising on Route 66).
Official names, titles and trademarks trump House Style at What’s Up Yukon. “El Capitan”, our editor Darrell Hookey, has decreed that we follow official spelling for these. That includes numbers.
Never begin a sentence with a numeral.
Two hundred and thirty-five words so far, 239.
And never say never.
7Up tastes great!
Often, as soon as you think of a rule, you almost immediately think of an exception. As writers, we know rules can and should be broken.
When in doubt, let your editor, not your conscience, be your guide.
More examples …
We had six 7Ups and 10 granola bars (CP Style).
One hundred people came for a peaceful demonstration, but 31 were hospitalized and eight sustained serious injuries.
An eight-year-old boy, in grade 3, was unable to answer Question 1 from Chapter 3, even though a boy, 6, knew it.
The reason it is “eight-year-old” in the above sentence is that “eight” is part of an adjective. And when an age stands alone, as in “a boy, 6, knew it,” it is shown in numerals.
Up to 375 words and still counting …
If you were writing a short story or a novel, you would spell out words up to and including one hundred, then begin with 101.
There are variations when dealing with time. It’s noon or midnight, not 12 p.m. or 12 a.m. (to avoid ambiguity), but it’s 12:05 p.m.
It’s never 3:00 p.m.; it’s 3 p.m. It’s 11 o’clock, but it’s the eleventh hour.
Some readers may have noticed that What’s Up Yukon dispenses with periods in a.m. and p.m. in the “What’s Happening” listings. This is to save space and is another example of House Style.
Check out the CP Stylebook, always giving preference to the House Style of the publication you are writing for.