§ 39. Prefer numerals, not words, to denote amounts. Avoid word-numeral doublets.
Fix the numbering problems in the following passage:
Before the entry of the final decree on June 5, 2000, the parties participated in four (4) hearings before three (3) Commissioners in Chancery, took three (3) additional sets of depositions of healthcare providers, and had at least twelve (12) ore tenus hearings. The court granted a divorce on the ground of separation in excess of one year, granted spousal support and Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00) in costs and attorney's fees to the wife, and equitably distributed the property.
In the literature on legal drafting, find two authoritative discussions on any aspect of word-numeral doublets, such as the idea that words control over numerals (and why). If you're part of a writing group or class, bring the authorities with you and be prepared to report on them.
Find two cases in which courts have had to interpret documents that contain discrepancies in doubled-up words and numerals. Brief the cases and, if you're part of a writing group or class, be prepared to discuss them.
© 2001, Bryan A. Garner
These exercises appear in Bryan A. Garner's Legal Writing in Plain English: A Text with Exercises, published by The University of Chicago Press and available at bookstores and on the Web at www.press.uchicago.edu.