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English number words include numerals and various words derived from them, as well as a large number of words borrowed from other languages.
|4||four||14||fourteen||40||forty (no "u")|
|5||five||15||fifteen (note "f", not "v")||50||fifty (note "f", not "v")|
|8||eight||18||eighteen (only one "t")||80||eighty (only one "t")|
|9||nine||19||nineteen||90||ninety (note the "e")|
If a number is in the range 21 to 99, and the second digit is not zero, one typically writes the number as two words separated by a hyphen.
In English, the hundreds are perfectly regular, except that the word hundred remains in its singular form regardless of the number preceding it.
So too are the thousands, with the number of thousands followed by the word "thousand"
|100,000||one hundred thousand or one lakh (Indian English)|
|999,000||nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand (British English)|
nine hundred ninety-nine thousand (American English)
|10,000,000||ten million or one crore (Indian English)|
In American usage, four-digit numbers with non-zero hundreds are often named using multiples of "hundred" and combined with tens and ones: "One thousand one", "Eleven hundred three", "Twelve hundred twenty-five", "Four thousand forty-two", or "Ninety-nine hundred ninety-nine." In British usage, this style is common for multiples of 100 between 1,000 and 2,000 (e.g. 1,500 as "fifteen hundred") but not for higher numbers.
Americans may pronounce four-digit numbers with non-zero tens and ones as pairs of two-digit numbers without saying "hundred" and inserting "oh" for zero tens: "twenty-six fifty-nine" or "forty-one oh five". This usage probably evolved from the distinctive usage for years; "nineteen-eighty-one". It is avoided for numbers less than 2500 if the context may mean confusion with time of day: "ten ten" or "twelve oh four".
Intermediate numbers are read differently depending on their use. Their typical naming occurs when the numbers are used for counting. Another way is for when they are used as labels. The second column method is used much more often in American English than British English. The third column is used in British English, but rarely in American English (although the use of the second and third columns is not necessarily directly interchangeable between the two regional variants). In other words, British English and American English can seemingly agree, but it depends on a specific situation (in this example, bus numbers).
|Common British vernacular||Common American vernacular||Common British vernacular|
|"How many marbles do you have?"||"What is your house number?"||"Which bus goes to the high street?"|
|101||"A hundred and one."||"One-oh-one."|
Here, "oh" is used for the digit zero.
|109||"A hundred and nine."||"One-oh-nine."||"One-oh-nine."|
|110||"A hundred and ten."||"One-ten."||"One-one-oh."|
|117||"A hundred and seventeen."||"One-seventeen."||"One-one-seven."|
|120||"A hundred and twenty."||"One-twenty."||"One-two-oh", "One-two-zero."|
|152||"A hundred and fifty-two."||"One-fifty-two."||"One-five-two."|
|208||"Two hundred and eight."||"Two-oh-eight."||"Two-oh-eight."|
|334||"Three hundred and thirty-four."||"Three-thirty-four."||"Three-three-four."|
Note: When writing a cheque (or check), the number 100 is always written "one hundred". It is never "a hundred".
Note that in American English, many students are taught not to use the word and anywhere in the whole part of a number, so it is not used before the tens and ones. It is instead used as a verbal delimiter when dealing with compound numbers. Thus, instead of "three hundred and seventy-three", one would say "three hundred seventy-three". For details, see American and British English differences.
For numbers above a million, there are two different systems for naming numbers in English (for the use of prefixes such as kilo- for a thousand, mega- for a million, milli- for a thousandth, etc. see SI units):
|Short scale||Long scale||Indian|
(or South Asian) English
|1,000,000||106||one million||one million||ten lakh|
a thousand million
a thousand million
|one hundred crore|
a thousand billion
a million million
|one lakh crore|
a thousand trillion
a thousand billion
|ten crore crore|
a thousand quadrillion
a million billion
|ten thousand crore crore|
a thousand quintillion
a thousand trillion
|one crore crore crore|
The numbers past a trillion, in ascending powers of ten, are as follows: quadrillion, quintillion, sextillion, septillion, octillion, nonillion, decillion, undecillion, duodecillion, tredecillion, quattuordecillion, and quindecillion (that's 10 to the 48th, or a one followed by 48 zeros). The highest number listed on Robert Munafo's table, is a milli-millillion. That's 10 to the 3000003rd.
The googolplex has often been nominated as the largest named number in the world. If a googol is ten to the one hundredth, then a googolplex is one followed by a googol of zeroes.
Although British English has traditionally followed the long-scale numbering system, the short-scale usage has become increasingly common in recent years. For example, the UK Government and BBC websites use the newer short-scale values exclusively.
The terms arab, kharab, padm and shankh are more commonly found in old sections of Indian Mathematics.
Here are some approximate composite large numbers in American English:
|1,200,000||1.2 million||one point two million|
|3,000,000||3 million||three million|
|250,000,000||250 million||two hundred fifty million|
|6,400,000,000||6.4 billion||six point four billion|
|23,380,000,000||23.38 billion||twenty-three point three eight billion|
Often, large numbers are written with (preferably non-breaking) half-spaces or thin spaces separating the thousands (and, sometimes, with normal spaces or apostrophes) instead of commas—to ensure that confusion is not caused in countries where a decimal comma is used. Thus, a million is often written 1 000 000.
A few numbers have special names (in addition to their regular names):
Combinations of numbers in most sports scores are read as in the following examples:
Naming conventions of Tennis scores (and related sports) are different than other sports.
A few numbers have specialised multiplicative numbers expresses how many times some event happens (adverbs):
Compare these specialist multiplicative numbers to express how many times some thing exists (adjectives):
Other examples are given in the Specialist Numbers.
The name of a negative number is the name of the corresponding positive number preceded by "minus" or (American English) "negative". Thus -5.2 is "minus five point two" or "negative five point two". For temperatures, Americans colloquially say "below" —short for "below zero"— so a temperature of -5 ° is "five below".
Ordinal numbers refer to a position in a series. Common ordinals include:
|0th||zeroth or noughth (see below)||10th||tenth|
|2nd||second||12th||twelfth (note "f", not "v")||20th||twentieth|
|8th||eighth (only one "t")||18th||eighteenth||80th||eightieth|
|9th||ninth (no "e")||19th||nineteenth||90th||ninetieth|
Ordinal numbers such as 21st, 33rd, etc., are formed by combining a cardinal ten with an ordinal unit.
Higher ordinals are not often written in words, unless they are round numbers (thousandth, millionth, billionth). They are written using digits and letters as described below. Here are some rules that should be borne in mind.
|If the units digit is:||0||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9|
|write this after the number||th||st||nd||rd||th||th||th||th||th||th|
These ordinal abbreviations are actually hybrid contractions of a numeral and a word. 1st is "1" + "st" from "first". Similarly, "nd" is used for "second" and "rd" for "third". In the legal field and in some older publications, the ordinal abbreviation for "second" and "third" is simply "d".
NB: The practice of using "d" to denote "second" and "third" is still often followed in the numeric designations of units in the US armed forces, for example, 533d Squadron.
Any ordinal name that doesn't end in "first", "second", or "third", ends in "th".
There are a number of ways to read years. The following table offers a list of valid pronunciations and alternate pronunciations for any given year of the Gregorian calendar.
|Year||Most common pronunciation method||Alternative methods|
|1 BC||(The year) One Before Christ (BC)||1 before the Common era (BCE)|
|1||(The year) One||Anno Domini (AD) 1|
1 of the Common era (CE)
In the year of Our Lord 1
Two hundred (and) thirty-five
Nine hundred (and) eleven
Nine hundred (and) ninety-nine
|1000||One thousand||Ten hundred|
|1004||One thousand (and) four||Ten oh-four|
|1010||Ten ten||One thousand (and) ten|
|1050||Ten fifty||One thousand (and) fifty|
One thousand, two hundred (and) twenty-five
|1900||Nineteen hundred||One thousand, nine hundred|
|1901||Nineteen oh-one||Nineteen hundred (and) one|
One thousand, nine hundred (and) one
Nineteen aught one
|1919||Nineteen nineteen||Nineteen hundred (and) nineteen|
One thousand, nine hundred (and) nineteen
|1999||Nineteen ninety-nine||Nineteen hundred (and) ninety-nine|
One thousand, nine hundred (and) ninety-nine
|2000||Two thousand||Twenty hundred|
|2001||Two thousand (and) one||Twenty oh-one|
Twenty hundred (and) one
|2009||Two thousand (and) nine||Twenty oh-nine|
Twenty hundred (and) nine
|2010||Two thousand (and) ten|
|Twenty hundred (and) ten|
In spoken English, ordinal numbers are also used to quantify the denominator of a fraction. Thus "fifth" can mean the element between fourth and sixth, or the fraction created by dividing the unit into five pieces. In this usage, the ordinal numbers can be pluralized: one seventh, two sevenths. The sole exception to this rule is division by two. The ordinal term "second" can only refer to location in a series; for fractions English speakers use the term 'half' (plural "halves").
|1/10 or 0.1||one tenth|
|2/10 or 0.2||two tenths|
|1/4||one quarter or (mainly American English) one fourth|
|3/10 or 0.3||three tenths|
|4/10 or 0.4||four tenths|
|6/10 or 0.6||six tenths|
|7/10 or 0.7||seven tenths|
|3/4||three quarters or three fourths|
|8/10 or 0.8||eight tenths|
|9/10 or 0.9||nine tenths|
Alternatively, and for greater numbers, one may say for 1/2 "one over two", for 5/8 "five over eight", and so on. This "over" form is also widely used in mathematics.
Numbers with a decimal point may be read as a cardinal number, then "and", then another cardinal number followed by an indication of the significance of the second cardinal number (not common in British English); or as a cardinal number, followed by "point", and then by the digits of the fractional part. The indication of significance takes the form of the denominator of the fraction indicating division by the smallest power of ten larger than the second cardinal. This is modified when the first cardinal is zero, in which case neither the zero nor the "and" is pronounced, but the zero is optional in the "point" form of the fraction.
In English the decimal point was originally printed in the center of the line (0·002), but with the advent of the typewriter it was placed at the bottom of the line, so that a single key could be used as a full stop/period and as a decimal point. In many non-English languages a full-stop/period at the bottom of the line is used as a thousands separator with a comma being used as the decimal point.
Fractions together with an integer are read as follows:
A space is required between the whole number and the fraction; however, if a special fraction character is used like "½", then the space can be done without, e.g.
With very little deviation, most grammatical texts rule that the numbers zero to nine inclusive should be "written out" – meaning instead of "1" and "2", one would write "one" and "two".
After "nine", one can head straight back into the 10, 11, 12, etc., although some write out the numbers until "twelve".
Another common usage is to write out any number that can be expressed as one or two words, and use figures otherwise.
Numbers at the beginning of a sentence should also be written out.
The above rules are not always used. In literature, larger numbers might be spelled out. On the other hand, digits might be more commonly used in technical or financial articles, where many figures are discussed. In particular, the two different forms should not be used for figures that serve the same purpose; for example, it is inelegant to write, "Between day twelve and day 15 of the study, the population doubled."
Colloquial English has a small vocabulary of empty numbers that can be employed when there is uncertainty as to the precise number to use, but it is desirable to define a general range: specifically, the terms "umpteen", "umpty", and "zillion". These are derived etymologically from the range affixes:
The prefix "ump-" is added to the first two suffixes to produce the empty numbers "umpteen" and "umpty": it is of uncertain origin. There is a noticeable absence of an empty number in the hundreds range.
Usage of empty numbers:
See also Placeholder name.
|Look up Appendix:English numerals in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|