I am seeing number and No. all over the place and I've researched it ad naseum and still don't have a good answer.  

If the speaker says, "Look at Exhibit No. 15."  I know that it is correct written just that way.  However, I am now seeing things such as "There are a No. of things about which we are speaking."  This, to me, is like nails on a chalkboard.  It seems that it may be correct and as long as the word number doesn't start a sentence it is okay to abbreviate it.  However, I have found research that says in prose you should not abbreviate the word number unless it is making reference to a number, i.e. Page No. 7, Exhibit No. 15.

So my question is, other than being consistent, what rules, references can anyone point me to on this debate?  Really it's just a debate with myself, but I want to have something to bring to my reporters to make their/my life easier.  Any help, citations, direction, or common ways of doing this would be greatly appreciated!


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I have no citation for you right off hand; however, "There are a No. of things..." is ABSOLUTELY incorrect!  I always put No. after page and exhibit when followed by the numeral.  Or, "Take No. 7, No. 12 and put them in the trash."  It seems to give them more formality or something, weird!

I don't put, "What exhibit No. is that?"  Wrong!  It is, "What exhibit number is that?"  If I find something official for you, I will forward it.

Thanks, and I'm in full agreement with you.  I just have several reporters and all are doing something different. We really need a "One-Stop Grammar" book! But I do love this language :)

I was taught to use Number written out in a Q or A....because they say the word "number."

However, we do use No. in parentheticals....(Exhibit No. 5 marked for identification.)

Thanks!  Me, too.  However, I am seeing more and more the abbreviation No. when actually speaking of an exhibit or referring to a page number.

Maybe no one told them.....or maybe they're blazing new trails.

I agree with everyone that No. randomly put into a sentence is wrong unless it's in reference to Room No. 10 or something like that.

The best reason to write out the word number when said in casual conversation or just in colloquy is you'll get paid more.

Q  What number is that?

A  I don't know what that number is, but the number before

     that is 24.  


A  I don't know what that no. is, but the No. before that is 24.

When you write out number, you're using up more spaces so you're more likely to drop down a line.  One more line could be one more page, could be another $3 to $4.

That's why we brief it, but write it out.

Audrey, I always use "number" vs. "no." for word index purposes.  If an atty is searching for "number," he is probably going to look under "number" vs. "no." 

Same reason I don't spell out numbers at the beginning of a sentence (except one through nine, and I'm starting to even re-think that one).  They're probably going to search for "80" vs. "eighty."

Two rules I've chosen to ignore based upon ease of search capabilities for the attorneys.

Wow!  Yet another thing about which to consider.  I hadn't ever thought of search functionality.  I agree with you, but I am not sure I can convince the reporters to jump ship and travel down this new path!  But I do thank you for giving me that new way of thinking. 

Hey, if they're not even sure why or when to use "number" vs. "no.," they should be fairly easy to push off the ship.

I'll give a huge shove and see where we all land!


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