Q. Section 9.18 (16th ed.) says always use numerals for percentages. Fine. But I’m editing a book of fiction. One paragraph of narration uses a percentage, and then the next paragraph uses a percentage in dialogue. What to do? Here’s an example: Steven was told that 78 percent of the neighborhood had been spared. “Yeah, but what are we to do about the remaining twenty-two percent?” he groaned.
A. You can leave it as you have it, or, if that bothers you, you can spell out the numerals for the sake of “regional consistency.”