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Beginning a Sentence, Title, Subtitle, or Heading

Chapter:
Numbers and Percentages
Author(s):

Stephen J. Lurie

and Margaret A. Winker

Beginning a Sentence, Title, Subtitle, or Heading

Use words for any number that begins a sentence, title, subtitle, or heading. However, it may be better to reword the sentence so that it does not begin with a number.

Three hundred twenty-eight men and 126 women were included in the study.

Better: The study population comprised 328 men and 126 women.

 

Participants: Seventy-two thousand three hundred thirty-seven postmenopausal women aged 34 to 77 years.

Better: Participants: A total of 72 337 postmenopausal women aged 34 to 77 years.

 

Three patients were identified; 2 had hypertension and 1 had diabetes.

Numerals may be used in sentences that begin with a specific year, but avoid beginning sentences with years if possible.

1995 marked the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.

Better: The year 1995 marked the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.

 

2005 was the medical school’s centennial year.

Better: The medical school’s centennial year was 2005.

When a unit of measure follows a number that begins a sentence, it too must be written out, even if the same unit is abbreviated elsewhere in the same sentence. Because this construction can be cumbersome, rewording the sentence may be preferable (see 18.3, Units of Measure, Format, Style, and Punctuation).

Two milligrams of haloperidol was administered at 9 pm, followed by 1 mg at 3:30 am.

Better: At 9 pm, 2 mg of haloperidol was administered, followed at 3:30 am by 1 mg.

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