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When to Spell Out Numbers in Legal Documents

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On the other hand, good legal writing can be both interesting and entertaining (as Justice Posner and others have shown time and time again). Rule 1. Write all the numbers at the beginning of a sentence. Policies and philosophies vary from one medium to another. America`s two most influential style and usage guidelines have different approaches: the Associated Press Stylebook recommends spelling numbers from zero to nine, and then using numbers — until a million is reached. Here are four examples of writing AP-style numbers greater than 999,999: 1 million; $20 million; 20,040,086; 2.7 trillion. An ordinal number defines “the position of an object in a row”. The first, second and third are atomic numbers. Follow the general rule you have chosen for regular numbers (which are actually called “cardinal numbers”) also for ordinal numbers. If you have decided to write integers up to 99 (“ninety-nine”), you must also write ordinals. Note that ordinals are separated by hyphens whenever cardinals are. Sixty-one is separated by a hyphen, so sixty-one too. (Note: For clarity, if you need thumb or foot symbols, we recommend using a double prime [“] or a prime [′] instead of double or single quotation marks.) Deciding whether or not to write numbers in full can be difficult, but the key is to use the right style for your audience and use it consistently.

When it comes to advice on what to do when writing numbers in other documents – even legal documents – it`s not a difficult decision. Do not spell large numbers. It`s extra work for you, extra work for your readers, and it makes mistakes more likely to creep into your documents. Keep it simple and use numbers as much as possible (as outlined in the style guide you`re using). Rephrase sentences to avoid starting with (or spelling) a number. Incorrect: 7,000 tickets were sold in the first hour. Even better: spectators bought 7,000 tickets in the first hour. OR seven thousand tickets were sold in the first hour.

In general, as with most writing rules, I recommend using common sense, simplicity, and consistency. If you consider that your company`s style guide (you should have one, remember?) may differ, here are some basic tips on numbers. “The best practice is to spell all numbers ten and less and use numbers for 11 and more.” To make it easier for you, let`s take an example. Let`s say you`re working on a document that assesses the importance of the local public library in your community. The document will use small numbers, large numbers, decades and statistics. Each type of number can follow a different rule. So, at the end of the day, while I`m a person who likes to question things just for outdated “that`s how it`s always been done,” I like and agree with the practice of writing numbers in contracts. Your ultimate authority will always be a style guide, but in the absence of such a guide, following the rules outlined above will help you stay consistent when using numbers in writing.

• Numbers that begin with sentences must be written. Also use hyphens if these numbers are part of larger numbers. seven thousand two hundred and twenty-four However, one point that deserves an answer is the assertion that I misplaced the word “only” in a sentence. This is a fair criticism, and there are many specific cases where the meaning changes significantly depending on where that modifier ends. In this case, it is clear in context what it means. A rearrangement does not improve the sentence. The original “[this] was unusual and was only made for important documents” is functionally equivalent to the revised version “[this] was unusual and was only done for important documents”. These variations have slightly different nuances of meaning compared to exclusivity, but this is a difference without distinction. There is no likelihood of confusion that, for example, “he killed only those who offended him” versus “he killed those who offended him only.” Years are almost always written as numbers. If you need to spell a year, perhaps because you absolutely have to start a sentence with it, avoid using “and” (i.e. don`t write “two thousand and thirty-seven”). It`s just horrible and there`s no excuse for it.

This is not recommended (or even tolerated) in any important style. Not even legal ones, like Bluebook or Redbook. Bryan Garner, the main motivator behind The Redbook, gives essentially the same advice as in Garner`s Modern English Usage: Rule 2a. Hyphen for all numbers composed of twenty-one to ninety-nine. Rule 3b. It is not necessary to use a decimal point or a dollar sign when writing sums less than a dollar. Fractions of larger numbers, such as those in millions and billions, are easier to read when abbreviated to decimals, if possible with the word “millions” or “billion”. Millions and billions whole (and trillions in American parlance) can be expressed as an integer plus the word “millions”, “billion”, etc. Scientific and technical journals and even news reports often adhere to the rule that only numbers less than ten should be written in full, unless they are fractions or decimals. This can be a useful approach to ensure the readability of texts that often refer to numbers and numbers.