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What is the correct style for a number as a drop cap

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  • What is the correct style for a number as a drop cap

    AP Style allows a year to begin a sentence. In the magazine I design, 1929 starts the article. It's not correct to spell it out per the Associated Press. I've looked a few places on the web for the right answer, but cannot seem to find it. For the drop cap, is it OK for just the 1 to be a drop cap or is it preferable to show the entire 1929?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    The Associated Press style is to spell out numerals at the beginning of sentences except, as you've noted, when that numeral "identifies a calendar year." When this doesn't work, AP's style is to "recast the sentence" or, in other words, rewrite it so that the sentence begins with a word instead of numerals.

    There's always the option of ignoring AP's rules on a case-by-case basis, and this just might be one of those instances. I've worked with lots of writers and they can be very fussy about their lead sentences. If it were me, I'd toss AP aside on this one by using the logic that making it read and look right is more important than following an obscure stylebook rule. If spelling out 1929 works better, that's what I would do.

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    • #3
      Thanks! I'm the designer and not the editor/writer, but in this case, I'll spell it out as Nineteen Twenty-Nine and drop cap the N and explain it to the editor. It looks goofy otherwise.

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      • B
        B commented
        Editing a comment
        Just be sure to make twenty-nine lowercase (AP style ). For what it's worth, if I remember right, The Chicago Manual of Style is perfectly okay with spelling out calendar years at the beginning of sentences.

    • #4
      just playing devil's advocate, but couldn't you consider "1929" as one number even though it's 4 characters?
      Design is not decoration.

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      • #5
        I did consider it as one number, but it looked goofy right under the headline. I went with Nineteen twenty-nine with only the N as a drop cap and it looks a lot better. Thanks to everyone for their help!

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