Despite being one of the more straightforward changes, the new Australian Government Style Manual’s advice on numerals proved one of the most controversial.
The manual suggests using numerals for 2 and above, leaving one and zero holding on to their word form. Granted, the new rule goes against what many would have learnt from their high school English teachers. Words up to 10 (or even 100, like in the last style manual).
This relatively minor change shows how dearly some writers hold their stylistic preferences.
On twitter it was deemed ‘an abomination’. ‘Madness’, even.
But the reasons are simple. Using numbers instead of words improves readability and our ability to scan writing. And what makes one and zero so special? It helps avoid confusing the numeral 0 and the letter O, as well as the numeral 1 and the letter I in some typefaces.
A few exceptions are outlined in the style manual, such as starting a sentence with a word rather than a numeral. Still, following this new rule will ensure your writing is easily readable.