Numbers vs Words: When to Use Which in Your Content

Sagar Sahu

Welcome, dear readers! Today we are exploring a topic that often leaves content creators stumped: “Numbers vs Words in Your Content.” This question goes far beyond style choices; it delves deep into communication theory and how information is processed by readers.

Knowing when and why to choose numbers versus words will impact readability, relatability and overall effectiveness of your writing – something I have experienced first hand when crafting tech guides or reviews – but the key lies in understanding how both serve different functions within your message while adding layers of meaning or accentuation that deepen or deepen meaning or emphasis to your message.

Have you ever struggled with when to spell out or use “ten”, or need help understanding when and why to incorporate numbers and stats into your narrative? Look no further: let’s walk through step-by-step to decode when numbers should be used and when words should do the talking!

The Role of Numbers


Numbers can add credibility and precision to your content creation efforts, so let’s explore their importance for content production and how they can be utilized effectively.

  1. Credibility: In my experience, numbers tend to be seen as more credible than words when used as evidence for arguments and conclusions. They provide empirical proof and give your arguments substance – as is often demonstrated through statistics and percentages which provide greater trustworthiness over articles which rely solely on narrative.
  2. Precision: Numbers can provide more specificity than words can. For instance, simply saying that most people like ice cream might not be as persuasive as saying “80% prefer ice cream over other desserts”.
  3. Quick Information: Numbers stand out against blocks of text, making it easy for skimmers to identify key points quickly and efficiently. Consequently, using numbers in headings or sub-headings is often recommended to do just this.

Numbered Content Areas That Work Well Together

  1. Data-Driven Posts: When discussing market trends, analytics or any topic that relies heavily on numbers, numbers are your allies. I have written numerous tech analysis articles myself and readers have come to appreciate the tangible nature of data.
  2. How-To Guides: For easier understanding, using numbers helps break down each step in an instructional guide and make it simpler. For example: “Step 1: Launch App, Step 2: Navigate to Settings, Step 3: Click Privacy.”
  3. Lists**: Lists are a great way of organizing information easily for readers, making digestibility simple – particularly helpful when discussing “Top 5” or “Top 10” lists.

Simply stated, numbers can add clarity, credibility and ease of understanding to your content. They serve as guideposts that allow readers to navigate easily through any information presented; but like anything, their use must be used sparingly

Words Have Meaning

Now that we have covered how numbers play an integral part in creating factual and skimmable content, let’s turn our attention to another key component of writing: words. Words are the backbone of all writing; they not only convey information but also evoke emotions, set the mood, and foster connections between writers and their readers.

  1. Emotional Impact: Words have the ability to elicit emotions like numbers cannot. Descriptive language can evoke joy, sadness, excitement or urgency from readers – as I discovered when writing an article on technology’s social implication that its impact touched many. I used words as my tool for exploring human sentiments deeper while writing this piece about tech’s effects.
  2. Complex Ideas: Numbers may provide great precision, but words provide essential elaboration for comprehending complex topics.
  3. Making Connections: Words can create connections that engage readers by creating relatable narratives, helping your target audience see themselves in your scenarios and stories. My experience shows that storytelling significantly boosts reader engagement and loyalty.

Content Types Where Words Shine

  1. Storytelling: For a successful narrative in both blogs and case studies, storytelling requires words. Numbers may play an auxiliary role but should never become the focal point.
  2. Opinion Pieces: When writing opinion pieces, persuasive language becomes your go-to tool for shaping readers. Words become your weapon of influence on others!
  3. Reviews: When writing reviews, using text provides more context for your scores than using rating scales alone. I find my reviews more relatable when using words to share personal experiences related to a product or service.

When to Use Numbers

Numbers have the power of cutting through any miscommunication quickly and providing clarity where words might falter. Let’s examine various scenarios where numbers prove invaluable.

Situations Favoring Numbers in Table

  1. To Express Precise Quantities: When conveying specific numbers, numbers can help clarify exactly what amounts should be stated. For instance, in an article discussing smartphone battery saving tips, writing “Reduce screen timeout to 30 seconds” is much more effective than saying something like: “Reduce screen timeout within an acceptable window of time”.
  2. Making Comparisons: When making comparisons between data, numbers offer an immediate and accurate evaluation. In my blog post comparing software tools’ efficiency levels, numbers proved instrumental in showing which one was 20% more efficient.
  1. Presenting Data and Statistics: When it comes to supporting an argument with facts, numbers can be your greatest ally. In my article about online privacy, for instance, using statistics like 80% of social media users being concerned about data breaches as proof helped add the required weight.
  2. Providing Instructions: Step-by-step guides and recipes often require precise quantities or sequence numbers for success. When I share tech hacks, using instructions such as “Press F5 twice” makes for clearer communication than vague statements like “press F5 multiple times.”
  3. Creating a Sense of Urgency: Numbers can help sales pitches or limited-time offers create urgency by emphasizing numbers – for instance, by saying “Offer only valid for first 100 customers,” rather than saying simply, “This offer only available until…,” numbers become an excellent way of creating urgency and drawing in customers quickly.

When Should Words Be Employed


While numbers provide precision, words offer depth and narrative. Here’s when it’s best to use words over numbers.

Scenarios for Applying Words [Scenarios for Utilizing Words]

  1. Small Numbers (1 to 10): It’s easier for our eyes and brains to process small numbers when written out word for word; so instead of writing “I have three tips”, instead write, “I have three tips”. This also adds an individual touch to your content.
  2. Numbers as Part of Sentences: Spelling out numbers can help create more flow in continuous text. For instance, I find it easier to read “I spent seven days testing this gadget” rather than “I spent seven days testing this gadget”.
  3. Utilizing Unit of Measurement: While numbers provide exactness, using units of measurement helps create greater clarity for readers. For instance, “My laptop weighs two kilograms” would likely be more reader-friendly.
  4. Demarcating General Trends: Words can be powerful tools when discussing trends without bombarding readers with statistics. In articles about tech trends, I often write phrases such as “There’s an increasing interest in sustainable tech” rather than providing extensive statistical details that might overwhelm readers.
  5. Creating an Emotional Connection: Spelling out numbers can help create an emotive tone in writing. In a piece about work-life balance, saying something like: “I spend at least two hours every day with my family” feels warmer and more personal than simply writing something like: “I spend at least 2 hours every day with my family”.

Best Practices for Blended Media Productions

Best Practices for Blended Media Productions

So far, we have explored the individual merits of numbers and words separately, but content often requires an amalgam of both elements. How can we achieve a balance without diminishing either’s impact? That’s where best practices come into play.

How to Achieve a Balance

  1. Establishing an Outline: Before writing the first word, create an outline for where data or numbers will go in your essay. This planning stage helps create a balanced structure; I often make an outline with statistics or lists where I believe they would add the most value.
  2. Context Is King: Always provide some context when discussing numbers; simply listing “50% increase in sales” can be misleading or confusing without some additional insight, like “since the introduction of our new marketing strategy.
  3. Words for Emphasis: Sometimes writing numbers out as words is used to emphasize specific points among many others. In my work, spelling out “one” instead of writing out “1” usually adds weight and significance to that one point.
  4. Make It Reader-Friendly: Blending numbers and words should not become confusing when conveying a message, instead aiding comprehension. For instance, breaking down complex processes into numbered steps while providing extra details via words is an effective strategy.
  5. Review and Revise: Once your writing is complete, review it to check for balance. If a paragraph feels overstuffed with numbers, consider whether any could be written as words without losing their impact.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Before we embark on our final step, let’s address some common mistakes content creators often make when juggling numbers and words. Everyone slips up occasionally; being aware of potential pitfalls will help.

Avoid Pitfalls

  1. Misusing Numbers: While statistics add credibility, too much focus can lead to dry and difficult reading content. I made this mistake when writing early tech analysis pieces where too much emphasis was put on numbers instead of narrative development.
  2. Lack of Context: When presented out-of-context, numbers can mislead or confuse readers, leading to misinterpretations of what the data actually represents. Always provide clear context so as to prevent miscommunication between parties involved and prevent potential misunderstandings from arising.
  3. Avoid Inconsistency: Try to maintain consistency throughout your content, for instance if you start by spelling out numbers use that method until there is compelling reason to switch up.
  4. Forgetting Your Audience: Always consider who your writing for, whether a data-scientist needs harder numbers while a layperson might require more words for context. Creating content tailored specifically to each audience member is of vital importance.
  5. Overemphasis Through Words: Words can accentuate, but excessive use can lessen their impact. Ensure powerful phrases don’t lose their strength by using them sparingly and only as needed.

Tools and Apps that Will Assist in My Career Development

Even the best writers need assistance when it comes to seamlessly incorporating numbers and words in their content. Below are a few tools and apps I have found helpful in my own work.

  1. Grammarly: Grammarly is more than a tool to check for typos and grammar errors – it also offers style suggestions to help find an optimal balance between numbers and words.
  2. Tabelau: Tableau is an invaluable way of visualizing data. Graphs or charts can make complex numbers easier for readers.
  3. Hemingway Editor: This app highlights long, complex sentences to help simplify writing. It ensures both words and numbers can be easily comprehended by its readers.
  4. Google Analytics: For writers creating data-driven articles, Google Analytics provides accurate stats that they need. I often rely on it when gathering stats for my tech articles.
  5. Trello: When it comes to planning, organization is key – Trello can help outline your content by outlining where numbers and words would best serve its purpose.


Finding the ideal balance between numbers and words in your content creation is more art than science. Each has their own strengths that can enhance its impact, such as precision or objectivity versus narrative depth or emotional connection

As a content creator myself, finding this balance has been paramount in reaching all my audiences. From tech enthusiasts seeking technical insights to everyday users looking for guidance, this approach caters for everyone.

So when it comes time to write, keep this in mind: numbers might grab our attention, but words evoke emotion. Choose wisely between numbers and words when using content to inform or inspire. Thank you for taking the time to read this guide

Numbers in Word Author

About the author

I am a Mathematics teacher from a pretigious college in Odisha. I love numbers and that is why I created this tool with my friend to help students who want to convert numbers to words

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