April 4 AP Style update

An advocate or supporter of a political movement that favors reordering government and society in accordance with laws prescribed by Islam. Do not use as a synonym for Islamic fighters, militants, extremists or radicals, who may or may not be Islamists.

Where possible, be specific and use the name of militant affiliations: al-Qaida-linked, Hezbollah, Taliban, etc. Those who view the Quran as a political model encompass a wide range of Muslims, from mainstream politicians to militants known as jihadi.

In general, spell out one through nine: The Yankees finished second. He had nine months to go. Use figures for 10 or above and whenever preceding a unit of measure or referring to ages of people, animals, events or things. Also in all tabular matter, and in statistical and sequential forms. Use figures for:

— Academic course numbers: History 6, Philosophy 209.

— Addresses: 210 Main St. Spell out numbered streets nine and under: 5 Sixth Avenue; 3012 50th St. See addresses.

— Ages: a 6-year-old girl; an 8-year-old law; the 7-year-old house. Use hyphens for ages expressed as adjectives before a noun or as substitutes for a noun. A 5-year-old boy, but the boy is 5 years old. The boy, 5, has a sister, 10. The race is for 3-year-olds. The woman is in her 30s. 30-something, but Thirty-something to start a sentence. See ages.

— Planes, ships and spacecraft designations: B-2 bomber, Queen Elizabeth 2, QE2, Apollo 9, Viking 2. (Do not use hyphens.) An exception: Air Force One, the president’s plane. Use Roman numerals if they are part of the official designation: Titan I, Titan II. See aircraft names; boats, ships; spacecraft designations.

— Centuries. Use figures for numbers 10 or higher: 21st century. Spell out for numbers nine and lower: fifth century. (Note lowercase.)

For proper names, follow the organization’s usage: 20th Century Fox, Twentieth Century Fund.

— Court decisions: The Supreme Court ruled 5-4, a 5-4 decision. The word to is not needed, except in quotations: “The court ruled 5 to 4.”

— Dates, years and decades: Feb. 8, 2007, Class of ’66, the 1950s. For the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, 9/11 is acceptable in all references.

— Decimals, percentages and fractions with numbers larger than 1: 7.2 magnitude quake, 3½ laps, 3.7 percent interest, 4 percentage points.

Decimalization should not exceed two places in most text material. An exception: blood alcohol content, expressed in three decimals, as in 0.056. For amounts less than 1, precede the decimal with a zero: The cost of living rose 0.03 percent. When the decimal is 1 or less, the type of measurement should be singular: 0.35 meter, 0.55 cubic foot, 0.75 kilometer. Spell out fractions less than 1, using hyphens between the words: two-thirds, four-fifths. In quotations, use figures for fractions: “He was 2½ laps behind with four to go.” See decimal units; fractions; percent.

— Dimensions, to indicate depth, height, length and width. Examples: He is 5 feet 6 inches tall, the 5-foot-6 man (“inch” is understood), the 5-foot man, the basketball team signed a 7-footer. The car is 17 feet long, 6 feet wide and 5 feet high. The rug is 9 feet by 12 feet, the 9-by-12 rug. A 9-inch snowfall. Exception: two-by-four. Spell out the noun, which refers to any length of building lumber 2 inches thick by 4 inches wide.

 See dimensions.

— Distances: He walked 4 miles. He missed a 3-foot putt.

— Golf clubs: 3-wood, 7-iron, 3-hybrid (note hyphen).

— Highway designations: Interstate 5, U.S. Highway 1, state Route 1A. (Do not abbreviate Route and do not hyphenate.)

 See highway designations.

— Mathematical usage: Multiply by 4, divide by 6. He added 2 and 2 but got 5.

— Military ranks, used as titles with names, military terms and weapons: Petty Officer 2nd Class Alan Markow, Spc. Alice Moreno, 1st Sgt. David Triplett, M16 rifle, 9 mm (note space) pistol, 6th Fleet. In military ranks, spell out the figure when it is used after the name or without a name: Smith was a second lieutenant. The goal is to make first sergeant. See military units.

— Millions, billions, trillions: Use a figure-word combination. 1 million people; $2 billion, NOT one million/two billion. (Also note no hyphen linking numerals and the word million, billion or trillion.) See millions, billions, trillions; dollars.

— Monetary units: 5 cents, $5 bill, 8 euros, 4 pounds. See cents.

— Odds, proportions and ratios: 9-1 longshot; 3 parts cement to 1 part water; a 1-4 chance, but one chance in three. See betting odds; proportions; ratios.

— Rank: He was my No. 1 choice. (Note abbreviation for “Number”). Do not use in names of schools or in street addresses: Public School 19. Exception: No. 10 Downing St., the residence of Britain’s prime minister.

— School grades. Use figures for grades 10 and above: 10th grade. Spell out for first through ninth grades: fourth grade, fifth-grader (note hyphen).

— Sequential designations: Page 1, Page 20A. They were out of sizes 4 and 5; magnitude 6 earthquake; Rooms 3 and 4; Chapter 2; line 1 but first line; Act 3, Scene 4, but third act, fourth scene; Game 1, but best of seven. See act numbers; chapters; earthquakes; line numbers; page numbers; scene numbers.

— Political districts: Ward 9, 9th Precinct, 3rd Congressional District, 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. See congressional districts; political divisions.

— Recipes: 2 tablespoons of sugar to 1 cup of milk. See recipes.

— Speeds: 7 mph, winds of 5 to 10 mph, winds of 7 to 9 knots.

— Sports scores, standings and standards: The Dodgers defeated the Phillies 10-3 (No comma between the team and the score); in golf, 3 up, but a 3-up lead; led 3-2; a 6-1-2 record (six wins, one loss, two ties); par 3; 5 handicap, 5-under-par 67 but he was 5 under par (or 5 under, with “par” understood). In narrative, spell out nine and under except for yard lines in football and individual and team statistical performances: The ball was on the 5-yard line. Seventh hole. Three-point play, but 3-point shot. In statistical performances, hyphenate as a modifier: He completed 8 of 12 passes. He made 5 of 6 (shots is understood). He was 5-for-12 passing. He had a 3-for-5 day. He was 3-for-5. He went 3-for-5 (batting, shooting, etc., is understood).

— Temperatures: Use figures, except zero. It was 8 degrees below zero or minus 8. The temperature dropped from 38 to 8 in two hours.

See temperatures.

— Times: Use figures for time of day except for noon and midnight: 1 p.m., 10:30 a.m., 5 o’clock, 8 hours, 30 minutes, 20 seconds, a winning time of 2:17.3 (two hours, 17 minutes, 3 seconds). Spell out numbers less than 10 standing alone and in modifiers: I’ll be there in five minutes. He scored with two seconds left. An eight-hour day. The two-minute warning. See times; time sequences.

— Votes: The bill was defeated by a vote of 6 to 4, but by a two-vote margin.

Spell out:

— At the start of a sentence: Forty years was a long time to wait. Fifteen to 20 cars were involved in the accident. The only exception is years: 1992 was a very good year. See years.

— In indefinite and casual uses: Thanks a million. He walked a quarter of a mile. One at a time; a thousand clowns; one day we will know; an eleventh-hour decision; dollar store.

— In fanciful usage or proper names: Chicago Seven, Fab Four, Big Three automakers, Final Four, the Four Tops.

— In formal language, rhetorical quotations and figures of speech: “Fourscore and seven years ago …” Twelve Apostles, Ten Commandments, high-five, Day One.

— In fractions less than one that are not used as modifiers: reduced by one-third, he made three-fourth of his shots.

Roman Numerals
They may be used for wars and to establish personal sequence for people and animals: World War I, Native Dancer II, King George V. Also for certain legislative acts (Title IX). Otherwise, use sparingly. Except in formal reference, pro football Super Bowls should be identified by the year, rather than the Roman numerals III.

Numbers used to indicate order (first, second, 10th, 25th, etc.) are called ordinal numbers. Spell out first through ninth: fourth grade, first base, the First Amendment, he was first in line. Use figures starting with 10th.

Cardinal Numbers
Numbers used in counting or showing how many (2, 40, 627, etc.) are called cardinal numbers. The following separate entries provide additional guidance for cardinal numbers:

amendments to the Constitution


court names


election returns



handicaps (sports)

latitude and longitude




serial numbers

telephone numbers


Some other punctuation and usage examples:

— 3 ounces

— 4-foot-long

— 4-foot fence

— “The president’s speech lasted 18 1/2 minutes,” she said.

— DC-10 but 747B

— the 1980s, the ’80s

— the House voted 230-205 (fewer than 1,000 votes)

— Jimmy Carter outpolled Gerald Ford 40,827,292 to 39,146,157 (more than 1,000 votes)

— Carter outpolled Ford 10 votes to 2 votes in Little Junction (to avoid confusion with ratio)

— No. 3 choice, but Public School 3

— a pay increase of 12-15 percent.

Or: a pay increase of between 12 and 15 percent But: from $12 million to $14 million

— a ratio of 2-to-1, a 2-1 ratio

— 1 in 4 voters

— seven houses 7 miles apart

— He walked 4 miles.

— minus 10, zero, 60 degrees

OTHER USES. For uses not covered by these listings, spell out whole numbers below 10, and use figures for 10 and above: They had three sons and two daughters. They had a fleet of 10 station wagons and two buses.

IN A SERIES. Apply the standard guidelines: They had 10 dogs, six cats and 97 hamsters. They had four four-room houses, 10 three-room houses and 12 10-room houses.

One word in all uses.

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