Q. Regarding spelling out round numbers over one hundred—how should we handle numbers like 1,500? It’s more round than a number like 1,543, but it’s also less round than a number like one thousand. And if it should be spelled out, which is preferred, “one thousand five hundred” or “fifteen hundred”? Thanks!
A. According to CMOS 9.4,“The whole numbers one through one hundred followed by hundred, thousand, or hundred thousand are usually spelled out.” The spelled-out form “fifteen hundred” qualifies. But the hybrid form “one thousand five hundred” does not. Paragraph 9.4 is intended to encourage spelling out round numbers like three hundred thousand, not awkward forms like “three hundred thousand six hundred”—or, for that matter, something like “thirty-three hundred thousand,” which would be better expressed as “3.3 million” (see CMOS 9.8). So write “fifteen hundred” or “1,500,” depending on context. (For example, if numerals are otherwise rare in your text, opt for the former.)