Why does the US law sometimes mention numbers in both digits and letters?

E.g. https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CFR-2012-title8-vol1/pdf/CFR-2012-title8-vol1-sec316-5.pdf:

Absences from the United States for continuous periods of between six (6) months and one (1) year during the periods for which continuous residence is required under §316.2 (a)(3) and (a)(6) shall disrupt the continuity of such residence for purposes of this part unless the applicant can establish otherwise to the satisfaction of the Service.

Typically people don't write the same info twice.

  • Um.... Why not?
    – Greendrake
    Jun 20, 2020 at 9:36
  • 1
    @Greendrake typically people don't write the same info twice. Jun 20, 2020 at 9:37
  • @FranckDernoncourt exactly (correct). I (myself, ego) am replying (responding) to your (thy) one (1) comment (message) regarding Greendrake's question (inquiry). If (in the case that) you (yourself) need me (myself, ego), I (myself, ego) will be at (located in or present with respect to) the bar (tavern, pub, public house, watering hole, dive) drinking (taking by mouth) a beer (ale, malted liquor, mild barley beverage, grain-based fermented alcoholic beverage). Take care (caution). Your (thy) friend (pal, amigo, chum), Nov 30, 2022 at 20:19

1 Answer 1


This is very common in all sorts of legal documents, not just the United States Code. Another familiar example where this is seen is on checks.

It serves as a sort of "redundancy check", to help catch errors where either the words or the numerals could have been incorrectly transcribed. Of course, one could ask why similar redundancy isn't used to avoid errors in other contexts; there doesn't seem to be a good answer for this besides "tradition".

Some people feel the practice is obsolete and should be abandoned, e.g. https://www.butlersnow.com/2020/04/five-5-reasons-to-stop-writing-numbers-like-this/.

  • Compare "null and void" in formal texts.
    – o.m.
    Jun 20, 2020 at 17:36

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .