In the context of defecating, is it "Number two", or "Number 2"?

I assume "No. 2" would be too technical-looking for this context. Urban Dictionary has entries for both "Number two" and "Number 2".

  • The title was a little vague, because I don't want faeces to go hot across the network.
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 10:00
  • Personally, I would use #2 and otherwise I wouldn't capitalise number. I also think the 2 is more artistically graphic.
    – Peter
    Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 10:01
  • @Peter as in literally use "#2", or the second option I presented?
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 10:05
  • Literally, more compact as it were, sorry for the ambiguity. Just as #1, graphically can be related to the action. For me, by using the hash it signifies something different...
    – Peter
    Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 10:07
  • Why does the hash make it signify something different?
    – stangdon
    Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 15:38

2 Answers 2


As an example to follow up the comments:

I asked by son, who is learning to go to the bathroom by himself,

"Was it a #1 or a #2?"

he replied

"#3, one plus two equals three"

I then knew we were ready for the long car ride.

In contrast to

The word from Number 10 is that the Prime Minister...


This doesn't really have anything to do with the context of defecating, just with how we write out numbers. It would be the same issue if we were writing "Here we see Engine Room #2/Number Two." This is primarily a style issue, but in general we write out small numbers, particularly in nontechnical contexts.

The AP style guide says "Spell out whole numbers up to (and including) nine" and "Spell out casual expressions". The Chicago Manual of Style says "Spell out whole numbers up to (and including) one hundred". In general, I cannot think of any reason not to spell out "#2" in a short sentence representing actual speech.

Reference: Numbers: Spell Out or Use Numerals? (Number Style 101)

  • 1
    There are a few cases where I'd use "2" instead of "two." Here are two: Remember to bring a No. 2 pencil to class. Eddie Shore wore number 2 for the Bruins.
    – J.R.
    Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 22:57
  • 1
    @J.R. - Good examples! Those are both cases where "2" is something like a label or title, I think.
    – stangdon
    Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 23:33

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