I'm stuck trying to figure out if I should put numbers or words. Which one looks better?
- After it took me 4 hours and 24 minutes
- After it took me four hours and twenty-four minutes
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A more elevated tone usually conforms to spelling out numbers.
It was the eleventh hour of the day...
vs slightly less elevated
It was 11 o'clock
vs even less elevated
It was 11:00
Consider also that choosing numbers whose words are of adequate length can add to the tone of the writing. You can also play with the typing and spelling. The same is not true for digits.
It took me sixteen hours and twenty-four minutes.
Shows how lengthy the process was
It took me more than one hundred steps.
same as above
I did it in two steps.
Shows instead that the process was quick.
Each of your has FOUR pieces of bread.
You can stress the importance of the number
Take exactly O-N-E of each.
Same as above
The appearance of a digit automatically gives a text a more technical look.
Feel free to go with digits in tech-savvy genres (science fiction, military fiction, etc...) and rather avoid them elsewhere.
Consider the sentence
'I met with Darcy at 21:00'.
This is fine if you are writing military fiction, or in a steampunk novel about trains, but it would sound out of place if you were writing a fan-fiction of "Pride and Prejudice".
A technically minded audience is more open to process numbers.
In addition, young adults fiction is often more open to plain digits, as I imagine that it adds to the simplicity of the sentence.
The enemy was 100,000 strong.
Whereas, for a more adult audience
The enemy was one hundred thousand strong.
I always write them out in dialogue. In non-dialogue prose, I write them out if they are short and understandable, but use digits if that would be more understandable to the reader.
Mary said, "I think it was sixteen hundred forty two."
John added 1642 to the sum.
Especially in screenplays, I believe the numbers are written out in dialogue, and in prose all that matters is understandability and fewer typed characters is more important.