Compound numbers are numbers with two words in them.

When writing fiction, you’ll usually write out numbers up to a hundred in words instead of digits. There’s a lot of variation between style manuals on this, but the most important thing is consistency within the work. I usually use digits if the number is three words or more (but not at the beginning of the sentence).

Consider the following examples:

  • “She gave two blowjobs last night.” (Only one word: spell it out.)
  • “There were thirty-two people at the orgy at Carlo’s last week.” (Two words: spell it out and hyphenate it.)
  • “Wine me. Dine me. Sixty-nine me.” (Even if you use it as a verb, hyphenate it.)
  • “I know what I’m doing, baby. I’ve had 141 lovers.” (“One-hundred-forty-one” is clunky. Use the digits.)
  • Seven-hundred-twelve women participated in the oral-sex survey.” (Don’t use digits at the beginning of the sentence. You can also reword the sentence, if you prefer. “The oral-sex survey received responses from 712 women.”

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