1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Style Question

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by mike311gd, Feb 28, 2007.

  1. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    I see this often, and it usually gets me thinking for a bit. I know it's not in the AP book, at least not mine, but what's the standard for writing times (numerals and words)?

    I know when you write "1 p.m." or " ... at 7," it's always a numeral. Now, when it comes to minutes or seconds, what's the policy. And does it go by paper-to-paper or a standard rule?

  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I've never seen time written in anything but numerals:

    Joe swam the 100 free in 1 minute, 3.23 seconds. Sam was second at 1:04.22.
  3. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    AP is helpful in the track and field section:

    spell out minutes and seconds in first reference, as in 3 minutes, 26.1 seconds.

    So I guess it's always a number, regardless of more or less than 10.
  4. HandsomeHarley

    HandsomeHarley Well-Known Member

    Spell out numbers 1-9 when used in a sentence. "Smith struck out nine and walked three."

    Spell out numers greater than nine when starting a sentence (but you really should rewrite the sentence and move the number): "Twenty people showed up for the concert."

    When using time, only use "o'clock" if it's in a quote. "6 p.m. today" is acceptable. "6 p.m. tonight" is redundant. (use "6 tonight" instead).

    If writing finishing times, I spell out on first reference and use clock settings after that. "Smith finished the race in 2 minutes, 37 seconds. Jones came in second at 2:43."

    AP screws up their own rule on this one: Smith dropped in a 3 with 5 seconds left." I would definitely spell out "5", and if I didn't have to change all the AP stories, would spell out "3" as well.

    However, "Smith dropped in a 3 with 1:05 left."

    Another AP gaffe: It is not ".5 seconds remaining". It is ".5 of a second remaining."

    Use numerals for statistical purposes: "Smith went 4 of 6 from the foul line." However, if the stats become an adjective, then use hyphens. "Smith was 4-of-6 shooting from the foul line."

    I think it's OK to spell out "one million", but use numerals for greater numbers: "5 million".

    Always use numerals with dollar amounts (and never use the 'cent' sign): "Smith owed me $2. He only paid me 30 cents."

    I'm sure I left some out. :p
  5. imjustagirl2

    imjustagirl2 New Member

    I disagree. Any specific amount of time should be a numeral. I would just say '3-pointer' instead of 3 so it's not so many numbers so close.
  6. HandsomeHarley

    HandsomeHarley Well-Known Member

    You may respectifully disagree with me anytime, IJAG.

    Everyone has a right to be wrong. Even the AP. ;)
  7. imjustagirl2

    imjustagirl2 New Member

    Always with respect, you know-nothing asshole.

  8. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    I think there are way too many exceptions for either spelling out numbers or using the numbers. I say it would be easier just to use the numeral unless it's the start of a sentence.

    Why does it really matter that we should say somone had five carries for 5 yards?

    Does that make sense?

    Or that Tiger hit his 7-iron three times on one hole -- the par-3 sixth hole.
  9. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    We've actually toyed with this at places I've worked. Numerals for every number, regardless. Ordinals and cardinals.

    Never did it, though.
  10. T2

    T2 Member

    It is inconsistent, that's true. But if we used digits every time, that last example would be somewhat harder to read because of all the numbers:

    Tiger hit his 7-iron 3 times on 1 hole -- the par-3 6th hole.

    I'm tempted to add 7+3+1 to get 11, or to imagine that the par was 36 on the 36th hole.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page