Q. Sorry if I’ve overlooked a CMOS (or Q&A) answer to this question. I’m reviewing an organization’s bylaws, which contain several instances of a number spelled out followed by the number as a numeral in parentheses: e.g., “two (2).” I think parenthetical numerals are pointless redundancies. Does CMOS have a rule or preference related to this?

A. CMOS doesn’t cover this, but we agree with you, as does legal scholar and grammarian Bryan Garner: “The repetition of numbers by spelling them out and then using numerals typifies legalese and should never be used outside legal drafting. . . . Even in modern legal documents it’s largely uncalled for—the convention harks back to the days of legal scribes, who doubled words and numerals to prevent fraudulent alterations (words controlled over numerals).” See Garner’s Modern English Usage (Oxford, 2022), under “Numerals (G).”

Garner’s parenthetical observation that “words controlled over numerals” is interesting. In “two (3),” for example, the mistake would almost certainly be with the 3 and not the two (it’s easy to press a 1 or a 3 when a 2 is intended). That parenthetical numeral is subject not only to “fraudulent alterations” but to typos.