When to Write Out Numbers Legal Writing
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. Article 8b. If you write numbers greater than 999, do not use commas. Fortunately, when you use numbers in writing, you can rely on certain conventions that apply to most situations. Be sure to consult your specific style guide if a guide has been assigned. If you don`t have time to check each issue yourself, a professional editor or proofreader can make sure your numbers are spelled correctly. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Suzanne E. Rowe is Professor James L. and Ilene R.
Hershner at the University of Oregon School of Law, where she directs the Legal Research and Writing Program. She thanked the students at her fall writing colloquium for their comments on an earlier version that was far too long and far too dry. The Chicago Manual of Style recommends spelling numbers from zero to one hundred, and then using numbers, except for integers used in combination with hundreds, thousands, hundreds, thousands, millions, billions, and beyond (e.g., two hundred; twenty-eight thousand; three hundred thousand; one million). In the Chicago style, unlike the AP style, we wrote four hundred, eight thousand, and twenty million without numbers – but like AP, the Chicago style would require numbers for 401; 8,012; and 20,040,086. If two numbers are side by side in a sentence, be sure to spell one of those numbers. The main purpose of this rule is not to confuse the reader. A simple rule for using numbers when writing is that small numbers from one to ten (or one to nine, depending on the style guide) usually need to be written. Larger numbers (i.e. more than ten) are written as numbers. Let your quotes work for you! It is rare that you have to write “According to [authority]. or “In [authority].
This information is already transmitted by the quote to the authority you specified after the text sentence. Instead of starting your sentence weakly with a redundant reference, you can help your busy reader by getting straight to the point as quickly as possible. Also, moving as many citations as possible into quote sets will clean up your text sentences and make your document easier to read overall. If the number is large and you want to avoid writing everything down, organize the sentence so that the number no longer comes first. 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. Article 8a. If you write a number of three or more digits, the word and is not necessary. However, use the word and to express any decimals that may accompany these numbers.
As for the other grammar and writing points, it should be clear that in this blog I try (mostly) to use a style that is more conversational than formal. I can`t always do that. Although there are situations where I would agree with some of the issues you have raised. It is not one of them. Most specific tips you don`t fall into this category. More than one is not even pedantic, they are simply false in context. You don`t have to be good at math to write correctly with numbers. As Michael Jackson sang, “It`s like one, two, three.” Express most percentages in numbers, except at the beginning of sentences.
Depending on your target audience, write “percentage” or use “%”. Do not add space before “%”. It is included here, along with most of the credentials removed. It is less a strictly legal document than a government document, but the idea is exactly the same: someone felt the need to state the large numbers used to describe a long series of measures of property boundaries, and the result is anathema. To indicate whether an hour refers to morning or afternoon, Chicago suggests using the abbreviations “a.m.” and “p.m.” (and this writing curve requires it). (not AM, am, PM, pm). Fortunately, I note that the Oregon courts agree with me. A hyphen can be used to describe “until” in phrases such as “in the period October-December 2009, but not in “of. to” or “between.
and… Expressions. For example, write: In any letter, it is boring to spell large numbers instead of using numbers. It`s worse in legal drafting. To appear well on the page in the first place, extra effort is required, and then additional checking. The probability of error increases with each step. Moreover, from the reader`s point of view, this approach makes it difficult to read a document. If only a small number of applications are affected, this may not cause too many problems. But the more something like this is done, the more problems it can cause. The fractions that follow the integers are in the gray area, so you can select a rule. You can spell these numbers if they are short (for example, two and a half hours). Often the numbers are better (for example, the setter on the volleyball team is 5 feet 11/2 inches tall). Legal writing standards: dates, numbers, quotes, and titles Do not use a comma if you specify only the month and year.
You may have noticed a problem when it comes to the English language: most of the rules are not standardized. This (somewhat frustrating) fact is especially true when it comes to spelling numbers. Should you write them down with words or leave them as numbers? To spell numbers correctly, you also need to identify potential differences between major style guides (like MLA, APA, and Chicago, to name a few), as these guides often describe different rules for using numbers when writing. Scribendi`s in-house editors work with writers from around the world to perfect their writing. They know that no piece is complete without professional editing, and they love to see a good piece of writing turn into a great one after the editing process. Scribendi`s in-house editors are unmatched in terms of experience and training, having collectively worked on millions of words and reached nearly 20 degrees. They like to consume caffeinated drinks, read books of different genres and relax in quiet, dimly lit rooms. Always strive to be consistent, even if it replaces a previous rule.
For example, if your document frequently uses numbers, it is more appropriate to keep all numbers as digits to ensure that usage is consistent throughout. If a single sentence combines small and large numbers, make sure all numbers are written or written as numbers. If you want to spell integers with multiple words between 22 and 99, use hyphens. Twenty-three For some reason, when lawyers write contracts, they don`t just write the numbers like normal people. Instead, lawyers usually write the numbers with words and add the numbers in parentheses. For example, instead of writing “45 days,” a lawyer would write “forty-five (45) days.” Sometimes lawyers even use this method when writing dollar amounts (e.g., “five thousand two hundred 00/$100 ($5,200.00)”) or percentages (e.g., “seventy-five percent ($75%)”). Even though I admit that it sounds disgusting, I like the practice. I don`t think writing numbers in parentheses has ever been a writing rule.
And I certainly don`t think anyone ever argued that it`s easier to read. I thought it was simply a method to avoid typos. If you write the number twice, you are less likely to encounter an error. But I want to explain why I like the old, disgusting method. It actually has to do with the point raised by the very experienced lawyer. If one number is wrong and the other is correct, it can be problematic. But this is not as problematic as if an instance of the number is false. What kind of argument can you make in that situation if the other party argues that the number is correct? A bad one.