CLARIFICATION–Numbers–Words Or Figures?

One of the blog readers had a great question on the last post about numbers. I should have made it clear that in legal agreements and pleadings, using both words and figures for numbers leaves out any doubt about what number you are talking about–UNLESS there is an error in either the word or the figure version of the same number, so proofread those numbers carefully. For instance, when stating an amount of money, number, or a percentage in a legal document, you should write out the amount in words and then include the figures in parentheses.

Buyer agrees to pay Seller the sum of Fifty Thousand Dollars ($50,000.00) upon the signing of this Agreement, fifty percent (50%) of the remaining balance thirty (30) days after the date of this Agreement, and the entire remaining balance sixty (60) days after the date of this Agreement.

When you use both words AND figures in this way, it is absolutely clear and leaves one less thing to be litigated later. Thank you to Kim for asking the question to allow me to clarify.

Numbers–Words Or Figures?

A quick post this week about numbers. Here are a few rules:

  • Generally, spell out numbers one through ten and use figures for numbers over ten.
    • We had three printers on my floor.
    • There were 14 secretaries in the firm.
  • When you have numbers both below ten and above ten, use figures for all of them.
    • There were 4 paralegals working with the 20 associates.
  • You can use figures for numbers one through ten when you want to make sure there is quick comprehension.
    • Lines 1 through 3 on page 8 of the deposition should be highlighted.
    • Candidate number 3 would be the best fit.
  • Figures should always be used for statistical material, i.e., clock time, money, sports scores, academic grades, percentages, etc.
    • The gum was on sale for $1 per pack.
    • The Patriots won 4-2.
  • Use words for fractions and nontechnicalornonemphatic references to age, periods of time, and measurements.
    • My granddaughter just turned seven years old.
    • The cost for the apartment was one-half of her monthly salary.
  • Numbers in millions or higher should be the figure and the word representing the designation.
    • There were at least 20 million people in the stadium.

These are the simple rules regarding numbers. If you have other questions about numbers or questions about other proofreading topics, please let me know at proofthatblog@gmail.com.

Grammar Giggles – Employer: Show Us What YOU’VE Got!

This one comes from Twitter. It seems to me that if you’re going to have a job application that asks people to proofread their answers, the least you could do is proofread the instructions.

Job Application

More Underlining and Italics

17324196_sIn a continuation of last week’s article Should We Use Italics or Underline?, we will talk about titles of literary or artistic works.

  • Do underline or italicize complete works (books, newsletters, magazines, newspapers, movie titles, etc.).
    • The latest issue of @Law magazine just arrived in my mailbox. OR
    • The latest issue of @Law magazine just arrived in my mailbox.
  • As an alternative, complete works may be in all caps; however, if the complete works are being prepared for publication, they must be underlined or italicized to show the publisher that it must appear in italics in the final version.
  • Do not underline or italicize the word “magazine” unless it is part of the title of the magazine.
  • Do italicize or underline when referring to the name of a publication that is the same as the name of the company, but do not underline or italicize when making reference to the company and not the publication.
    • Fortune included a list of the Fortune 100 this month.
  • Do not italicize or underline the name of a publication when it is an organizational name.
    • The Arizona Attorney Editorial Board is responsible for the content of the Arizona Attorney magazine.
  • Do italicize or underline titles of books, newspapers, and magazines that are published in electronic form.
  • Do not italicize or underline titles of video games or other games.
  • Do not italicize or underline titles of computer software.
  • General guidelines:
    • With a unit of two or more words that you want to emphasize, underline or italicize that unit:
      • She definitely thought the grass was always greener when she left her job last month.
    • Traditionally, the punctuation after an italicized word was also italicized. Now, however, the new guideline is to treat the punctuation the same as the main part of the text, not the same as the italicized word right in front of it.
      • Her favorite magazine was Motor Trend; however, she could be spotted from time to time reading Cosmopolitan.
    • However, if the punctuation is part of the italicized element, it will remain italicized.
      • Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? plays at the amphitheater next Saturday.
    • When underlining, do not underline the punctuation unless it is part of the underlined element.
    • When using run-in headings, do not italicize or underline the punctuation that follows the heading.
    • When you have an italicized or underlined element or word being emphasized with a possessive or plural ending added, do not italicize or underline the ending.
      • the Encyclopedia Brittanica‘s index
      • there were too many whereases in the brief
    • The new guidelines are that parentheses either before or after an italicized or underlined element are not italicized or underlined, they are treated in the same way as the main text.

This reminds me of underlining or italics with case citations. When using et seq. or et al., since the period is part of the word, it is italicized or underlined. Any punctuation following that period (as in the second example) is not italicized or underlined.

That’s a lot about italics and underlining. Is there something you have a question about? Add a comment and we can learn together in another post on Proof That proofreading blog.

Grammar Giggles – Please Read The Sign Please

Another sign furnished by my granddaughter from the mail room at her apartment complex. Not only do they ask you super politely to not use this door by saying please twice, but they ask you to used the other door all while they are able to spell inconvenience correctly.

Used other door

Should We Use Italics or Underline?

17324138_sIn legal documents, it seems that italic type is used more frequently than underlining—likely because The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citations has changed the treatment of cases cited from underlining to italics as long as it meets court rule requirements. Well, that, and the fact that computers made the use of italics much easier. I think italics looks better than underlining, but that is personal preference. Here are some rules for italics and underlining.

  • Use italics for special emphasis:
    • When you are referring to a word by using “the term” or “the word,” that word should be in italics.
      • The word secretary originally meant the keeper of secrets.
    • Referring to letters as letters should be italicized or underlined if they are not capitalized. In this case, underlining may be preferable since the letter is so short that italics may not be readily apparent. Do not underline or italicize the pluralization of the letters, however.
      • He was looking for the value of x when y= 100.
      • He was looking for the value of x when y = 100. (This is also correct.)
      • She was reviewing the document to make sure she had dotted her i’s and crossed her t’s.
      • She was reviewing the document to make sure she had dotted her i’s and crossed her t’s.
    • Use all capital letters sparingly for emphasis. As you know, in email, all caps is considered screaming so it is not appropriate in business writing.
  • Use italics in formal definitions:
    • When you are defining a word in your writing, the word being defined is generally italicized.
      • A pilcrow is an alteration of a Middle English word and is a noun describing “a paragraph mark.”
    • An informal definition does not require special punctuation (but titles of TV series do).
      • I spent the weekend watching one episode after another, or binge-watching, Downton Abbey.
  • Use italics with foreign expressions:
    • Italicize foreign expressions that are not part of the English language.
      • We learned to say Buongiorno (or “good morning”) to the shopkeepers in Italy.
    • Once a foreign expression has become established as part of the English language, it is not italicized.
      • She ordered her pie à la mode.

We will continue this discussion next week with literary titles and artistic works and some basic guidelines.