The only result that’s likely from the double entry method is that someone occasionally mistypes the digit, in which case they’ve only added confusion, not confidence. I wish that people would just stop doing this. Now, to be congruent within a sentence or document, you would continue to clarify quantities with parenthesis, even if it is describing something without a number. I’ve always thought the need to spell out numbers came from the days of the typewriter and the carbon copy. Clearly, someone wasn’t thinking. It’s just two opportunities to screw up. I think it’s stupid and don’t understand it. I stumbled across your blog (short for web-log—why don’t we spell it “’blog”?) Poor handwriting might make the written part illegible, but using only Arabic numerals might be subject to alteration. You’re very welcome and I thank you back for having that blog! Simply omitting the commas often leads to ambiguity or an unintended meaning. That seems absurd. It might be better to just repeat the digit version twice, rather than spell it out, to avoid “hard to parse a sentence, so one just relies on the digits” errors like this one: This is clearly absurd. At the university where I teach I encountered one document that did it backward! And, a day later I encountered this fine example: Start by choosing (3) candidates, and then pass those candidates’ names to the Dean’s office with form 117A. I doubt most of the complainers on here only list the numbers. Just one correction: Chicago’s rule is to spell out numbers from zero to one hundred (see 9.2), not just from one to ten like you mentioned. And there is an element of logic in the argument that numbers are used because they’re quick to read and absorb, while words are far more “safe”. (3) Year old post on a (4) year old thread, but I’d like to add my two (2) cents because I believe it’s pretty intuitive. good answers 1) (1) Spell 1~10 and 2) (Two) or (two) 1~100. It was painful. I disagree. I believe the people who take offense to this practice might be a tad insecure that they would assume the purpose behind it is an lack of confidence in their intelligence. 6   To separate a phrase or sub-clause from the main clause in order to avoid misunderstanding. The limited and stylized prose of contracts is generally not the place for explanations and asides, so drafters should have little call to use parentheses to serve that function. For example, ‘a small, dark room’. I replied that I had seen that done in other models, and assumed that that’s how we were supposed to put numbers in legal documents. In my copyediting, I always nix the follow-on numerals unless it adheres to the readability requirement outlined above, and absolutely always, even in legal text, for the ones that are typically written out anywhere (1-9, or 12, depending on style). This is by far my most popular blog of all time. Can you imagine why? Today, with a Word document, a 7 never looks like a 9. Here’s a suggestion: if you are tempted to put numbers in parentheses after putting them in words, just don’t do it. If you’re taking the liberty to make the number redundant, I could certainly make a case that the units are even *more* important (as they deal with orders of magnitude, not just a digit or 2). Use parentheses to enclose information that clarifies or is used as an aside. But, particularly for very large numbers, it’s a heck of a lot easier to read the Arabic numerals than the words, and I’d guess that you’re more likely to be accurate with the Arabic numerals. I believe it provides any easier method or referencing when your set-ups/inventories contain some essential but possibly extraneous information, with regard to the actual action of setting up and organizing a lab. If you have any question you can ask below or enter what you are looking for! Do these extra words actually have some critical meaning? Curiously, there is legal precedent that defines which of two entries of a number – the written-out version or the numerical version – is considered the valid one in the event that the two don’t agree (as when written on a check). That’s why us lawyers do it, at least. The reason is that each contractor comes automatically equipped with a lawyer on retainer. I have a theory about the origin of this practice. I bet most people wouldn’t write this. I cringed as I read this (this). The use of duplicated parenthetical numbers is just plain dumb, and we can all stop doing it now. I have heard the reason for this annoying habit is because back when legal agreements were hand-written, the spelled-out number followed by the digit(s) in parentheses would ensure all parties understood what the correct number was. If I make a mistake with a written quantity it can cost people time and money, so by writing both it provides an extra means of checking for accuracy for every pair of eyes that views it. I guess I’m “a tad insecure” that I think duplicating numbers in parentheses is dumb. awesome article cheers for posting. 10 Responses to “15 Purposes for Parentheses” Nick on May 04, 2011 8:27 am. People can read it. “To elect two (2) member(s) to the Board of Directors each for a five (5) year term. I am getting married, and in my correspondence with my vendors, I write out single digit numbers, followed by the numeral in parentheses. This way there are not excuses especially when it comes to instructions. 4   After certain kinds of introductory clause. I’m pleased that you are making your employee handbook better. It would be unfeasible to imagine a prescriber writing “nine milligrammes” as well as 9mg for each drug. I just love the things that people do to clarify (clarify) their texts. Now you could argue that we should use numerals everywhere. however, therefore, of course, nevertheless. Its definitely an unnecessary irritation in a modern document. I’m still curious about where it may have originated. I don’t know if that explanation is true, but it is a bit of legal history/lore that was passed down to me. I appreciate the idea that you are doing this in the interest of clarity, but I don’t think it adds clarity. Your email address will not be published. Your email address will not be published. This morning I encountered one of the dumbest applications of numbers-in-parentheses that I have ever seen. That would be really important if you wanted to know how many tanks the enemy has in their attacking force. After all, people (y’all) do make mistakes (errors) writing (typing) those too (also). Commas are used to show a short pause within a sentence. If you remember, the 1st carbon copy was pretty clear and a numeral was unmistakeable. comes at the end of a sentence. Today it seems unusual, so I’ll break the habit. English has well degenerated and is on its way to becoming that undefined. So, if the written version is the legal version, then we don’t even need the numerical version. For the record, I was taught that numbers less than (and not including) 10 should be written out and numerals should be used for anything greater than nine. Just tell me to to put the four screws in the cabinet and be done with it. 5.