Skip to main content

IU Editorial Style Guide, Letter N

Native American

Note that this term is not hyphenated. Native can stand alone, but should be capitalized. American Indian is also acceptable. In many cases, the tribal affiliation is the most appropriate term. Generally, use whatever term is preferred by the person or people you’re referencing.

See also American Indian.

Netherlands, the

Don’t capitalize the article the before Netherlands in running text.

a semester program in the Netherlands


This term is one word unless non- modifies a hyphenated phrase.

nondegree student
but: non-degree-granting program

nondiscrimination statement

See Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity statements.


Use numerals for 10 or more; spell out fractions and numbers that are less than 10. For round figures greater than 999,999, use million or billion after the initial numeral(s). For more precise numbers, use all numerals. Use commas in 1,000 and above.

two; two-thirds; 20; 200; 2,000; 23,456; 200,000; 2 million; $2.8 billion; 234,500,000
exception: SAT scores; e.g., a combined score of 1200

In general, spell out ordinals for one hundredth and smaller, space permitting. Always spell out ordinals from first to ninth. Spell out numbered streets from First Street through Twelfth Street; numerals are usually used for streets with higher numbers. Ordinals in course titles are usually spelled out as well.

Third Street, Tenth Street, 17th Street, twentieth century, Topics in Nineteenth-Century Literature, one hundred seventy-fifth Commencement

Maintain consistency among items of the same category within each sentence. Generally, if any number of the group has a value of 10 or more, use all numerals.

She read 4 of the 14 required books in just two weeks.

Often, however, it’s more congenial to spell out the number one.

We’re one of the top 15 schools in that ranking.

Use numerals when referring to credit hours; page, volume, or chapter numbers; percentages; dates; or telephone numbers.

a course worth 1 credit hour; two 3 credit hour courses; page 4; 5 percent; 0.66 percent; a May 7, 2004, deadline; 219-555-3333

For inclusive numbers, abbreviate the second number by changing just those digits that are different from the first number.

pages 200–1, 200–11, 35–7; lines 106–7

An exception exists when discussing years, in which case the last two digits of the year are always shown.

2001–03, 1901–94

Spell out all numbers that begin a sentence, or reword the sentence.

Six credit hours of composition were required for a degree in liberal arts.

A liberal arts degree required 6 credit hours of composition.

Miscellaneous examples:

table 1, act 2, scene 3, step 4, chapter 5, item 6, the 1980s, class of ’95, a 5–4 score, a two-year-old child, a 54-million-year-old fossil, a $3 million gift, from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., 100-level courses, three and one-half (or three and a half) years, 90 years old

He is five feet nine inches tall.

See also credit hours, dashes, hyphens, phone numbers, and times.