Public Services and Procurement Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional Links


Important notice

Writing Tips has been archived and won’t be updated before it is permanently deleted.

For the most up-to-date content, please consult Writing Tips Plus, which combines content from Writing Tips and The Canadian Style. And don’t forget to update your bookmarks!

To begin your search, go to the alphabetical index below and click on the first letter of the word you are searching for.

numbers: round numbers

Write out numbers used figuratively:

  • a thousand and one excuses
  • “They may attack me with an army of six hundred syllogisms.” (Erasmus)
  • “And torture one poor word ten thousand ways.” (Dryden)

Numbers with a long succession of zeros, as well as numbers in the millions or higher, should be written as a combination of words and figures:

  • 550 thousand (instead of 550 000)
  • 23 million
  • There were more than 2.5 million Canadians between the ages of 30 and 40 in 1971.

However, note that if the number preceding million, billion, etc., is a whole number below 10 that is not used with a unit of measurement, it is usually spelled out:

  • three million people


  • 3.1 million people
  • $3 million

Numbers are normally rounded to no more than three significant digits. Thus 2 653 000 becomes 2.65 million, not 2.653 million.

The proper form for large numbers that must be written in full is as illustrated:

  • one hundred and fifty-two thousand three hundred and five

The practice of writing a number in full and then repeating it in numerals in parentheses should be reserved for legal documents:

  • nineteen hundred and ninety-six (1996)