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Which of the following two options is the correct beginning of sentence in Spanish?:

  • 30 años después...
  • 30 Años después...

2 Answers 2

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First, note that in Spanish, as in English, is recommended not to start a sentence with a number (This is because digits are just a quantity but the word is the actual name of the number). The easiest way of following this rule would be writing the number with letters.

Treinta años después...

or try to write the sentence in a different way

Unos 30 años después...

Después de 30 años...

Thus said, you would not need to capitalize the word following the number since is not the beginning of the sentence (of course there are other rules that you'll have to abide: capitalize it if it is a proper name, etc.). So the answer, if you were forced to start your sentence with a number (for example in a short line similar to your example in a slide for a presentation or the like), would be:

30 años después...

For example, you have some slides for a presentation in which you are describing some achievements or fact of your company:

  • 20 años de experiencia en el sector

  • 500 puestos de trabajo creados

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  • your response makes sense. I remember reading somewhere that, in fact, in typography there used to be lowercase as well as uppercase versions of numbers precisely for scenarios like this.
    – ltcomdata
    Commented Nov 23, 2014 at 17:43
  • @itcomdata there are running/old style/billing numerals (still used today!), where 0, 1, and 2 are the size of an x, the 3, 4, 5, 7, and 9 descend like a y, and the 6 and 8 ascend like a k. But you wouldn't ever mix and match them with lining numerals within a single number. Commented Nov 23, 2014 at 17:57
  • A relevant link
    – Diego
    Commented Nov 23, 2014 at 19:26
  • Whether starting a sentence (at least in English) with a number is good or bad form depends a lot on context. It would be typical to start a newspaper headline with a digit, for instance, to save space "12 killed in accident" for instance, versus "Twelve killed in accident"
    – Flimzy
    Commented Nov 24, 2014 at 14:10
  • @Flimzy, agreed. That's why I added a couple lines about slides in a presentation, but your example is a better one, since a newspaper would certainly need to care about a proper use of orthography.
    – Diego
    Commented Nov 24, 2014 at 14:28
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The way that I would do it is

Treinta años despúes

because you do not write numbers in Spanish sentences so you write it in letters.

Since the number is written in letters,it has to be capitalized. Now you don't need to capitalize años.

Here are some examples:

Mi hermano tene diecinueve

Yo quiero dos libros

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  • Es válido escribir tanto con números arábigos como con letras del español. En matemática, física, ingeniería y contextos en donde se manejen muchos números se lee mucho más fácil con números en vez de palabras. Ahora, que prefiramos escribirlo con letras porque quede más elegante eso ya es otra historia.
    – tac
    Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 2:27

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