Legal English – Peter’s Pills – Lesson 31 – Numbers

Legal English for Notaries - By Federnotizie




Let’s look at some ways to deal with numbers in English.

Writing numbers:

  • Numbers from 1 to 10 are often written as words, e.g.: three people; seven files;
  • Numbers from 11 on are almost always written al numbers, e.g.: 27 clients; 350 members.


  • Please note that you can never put “the” before a percentage, neither in written, not in spoken English. You cannot say “The 23% of the population”. It is only possible to say “23% of the population”;
  • A percentage is followed by a plural verb. For example, “45% of the lawyers are involved in Company Law” – because we mean “the lawyers are”; or “79% of the case were discussed by the group” – because we mean “the cases were”.


  • The Pound, Dollar or Euro sign comes before the amount, e.g.: £3.99; $5,000,000; €4,991.79;
  • Millions are often abbreviated to m, so we say £4m = 4 million pounds. $5.7m = 5.7 million dollars;
  • Often k is used to abbreviate thousands, so £45k is £45,000 pounds.


  • 9/11 is a historical date. It stands for 9/11/2001 Which in the USA means the September (9) the eleventh (11), two thousand and one (2001). The USA puts the month before the day;
  • In the UK, and almost all other English speaking countries, 9/11/2001 means the ninth (9) of November (11), two thousand and one (2001);
  • To avoid confusion write 7 January 2025, or if you prefer the American style, then write January 7, 2025. Don’t abbreviate the month;
  • Remember, we write 7 January 2025, but we say “the seventh of January” The year can be pronounced as two thousand and twenty-five, or as twenty twenty-five;
  • Adding “nd” (2nd), “rd” (3rd) or “th” (4th, 5th, 6th etc) to a date when writing is a bit old fashioned. It is good for your grandmother, but perhaps not so good for you to use.

Thank you very much and see you next time for more Peter’s Pills to improve your Legal English!

Read some entertaining and interesting aphorisms about numbers here: “Quotes About Numbers“.

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