I have a sentence in my manuscript with the following structure: "As to the technologies...., 10 participants identified ...., and 5 participants identified ....."

According to APA:

Use numerals to express numbers 10 and above, and use words to express numbers below 10 (see sections 4.31–4.32, pp. 111–112).

Based on the APA, I guess I have to say "five participants" is that right? But then this creates inconsistency in the sentence (10 vs five). I wonder what is the common practice here.


1 Answer 1


You are correct! However, this was not always the case. Here's some background:

The fifth edition of the APA publication manual required the use of numerals when numbers below 10 were grouped for comparison with numbers 10 and above in the same paragraph.

For example:

"I saw 10 small dogs and 9 large dogs at the park today." (As you know, in other situations we would write "nine" instead of the numeral "9.")

However, the sixth edition of the manual dropped this requirement.

Sources: http://www.apastyle.org/manual/whats-new.aspx and http://blog.apastyle.org/apastyle/2011/01/numbers-anyone.html

  • then it is correct whichever way I follow: "10 participants identified ...., and 5 participants" or "10 participants identified ...., and five participants". They are both correct, right?
    – renakre
    Commented Feb 20, 2016 at 1:02
  • Yup - the intent in the current edition as well as the fifth edition prioritizes clarity in this situation. I would strongly argue that you don't HAVE to make it numerals in this particular case, but if you feel it would make the sentence clearer, do so.
    – kcpike
    Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 19:41

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