Writing numbers two (2) times in contracts is a really dangerous thing to do.

Here’s why….

Just last week, I was reviewing a contract that said “two thousand dollars ($3,000).” Had I not caught that, my client and the other party would have signed a contract with a clear ambiguity. Is it $2,000 or $3,000? Many courts have rules of precedent to resolve this ambiguity (with many saying the words will prevail), but why take that risk?

In one famous case, a bank lost $693,000 because their loan document said the borrower owed the bank “ONE MILLION SEVEN THOUSAND AND NO/100 ($1,700,000.00) DOLLARS.”

Notice the difference? $1.7 million versus $1.07 million.

Many lawyers like to write numbers twice. Some do it because of habit (which is a horrible reason to do it). Some do it because they think it makes the document look more official (whatever that means). Others do it to reduce the odds of a mistake (but as shown above, it actually increases the odds of a mistake).

In addition to increasing the odds of a mistake, writing numbers twice makes the contract harder to read without adding any substantive value.

What you should do instead.

This is simple… use words for one through ten and numerals for 11 and above.

There are some situations where you might always use numerals. For example when writing out formulas, when there are a lot of numbers in the sentence, or when you write percentages (like 5%). But even in those situations, you won’t write the number twice.

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*This article is very general in nature and does not constitute legal advice.