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Writing Fractions and Decimals

A percent sign.

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Check out the rules below if you have questions regarding writing fractions and decimals!

1)    Simple Fractions

Simple fractions are always spelled out and hyphenated.

 Correct Examples:

“One-eighth of the vials were missing.”

“We are three-quarters of a way through the project.”

Incorrect Examples:

“One eighth of the vials were missing.”

“We are 3/4 of the way through the project.”

2)    Mixed Fractions

Mixed fractions can be expressed in figures unless they are the first word in a sentence.

Correct Examples:

“The interest rate on the account was 4 1/2 percent.”

“Eight and one-half percent was the best interest rate they could offer him.”

Incorrect Examples:

“The interest rate on the account was four 1/2 percent.”

“8 1/2 percent is an exceptional rate for a loan.”

3)    Decimals with No Whole Number

When writing decimals as numerals you always put a zero in front of a decimal unless the decimal itself begins with a zero.

Correct Examples:

“The tumor grew 0.52 centimeters over the past month.”

“The growth was insignificant at .08 centimeters.”

Incorrect Examples:

“The tumor grew .52 centimeters over the past month.”

“The growth was insignificant at 0.08 centimeters.”

4)    Decimals with Whole Numbers

  • When a whole number has decimal points, only use a comma when the number has five or more digits before the decimal point. The comma goes in front of the third digit to the left of the decimal point.
  • When you spell out a whole number with decimal points, you use the comma where it would appear in the numeral format, and you use the word “and” where the decimal point appears in the numeral format.

Correct Examples:

$13, 832.12 — Thirteen thousand, eight hundred thirty-two dollars and twelve cents

$3832.12 –Three thousand eight hundred thirty-two dollars and twelve cents.

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