Can I start a sentence with a number?

ScottsEnglishScottsEnglish Administrator Posts: 1,097 admin ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
edited April 2017 in IELTS Test
In a recent IELTS Task 1 answer, I read the following:
As is observed in the bottom bar graph, the learners who left college and stayed without full-time work, mostly went into further education or part-time jobs - 2,725 and 2,545 people respectively. 1625 persons stayed out of work. The final 345 post-graduate students became volunteers.
Here is another example from student:
The percentage of people who have completed school-leaving exams in science is slightly higher in Malaysia than in Singapore.  35% of people living in Malaysia have a science qualification at this level, while the number in Singapore is 5% lower.
What's the problem in these two examples?  Well, the problem is the second sentences begin with a number.  In English, we rarely begin sentences with a number.  Here is an exception:
1969 is the year that Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.

In your Task 1 answer, you should rarely (never!) begin a sentence with number.  However, if you find you need to, you can spell the number. For example:
'17% of the students study chemistry.'
could be written
'Seventeen percent of the students study chemistry.'

However, my best suggestion is to simply rephrase the sentence:
'Of the total number shown in the pie chart, 15% of the students study chemistry.'

Can you re-write the two student examples so that the sentence doesn't begin with a number?  Write your answers below!



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