# Numbers In The English Language

The words for numbers are some of the oldest and most conservative words in most languages. **The Numbers In The English Language** **can be traced back to the original Indo-European language**, but during the early Middle English period, English speakers began to borrow related number words from Greek, Latin and French.

The English Language has both cardinal numbers and ordinal numbers. Cardinal numbers describe quantity (one, two, three, etc.), and ordinal numbers describe position or rank in sequential order (first, second, third, etc.). More specifically, we use ordinal numbers when talking about order or placement in a sequence or series.

## Cardinal Numbers Table

1 one | 2 two | 3 three | 4 four | 5 five | 6 six | 7 seven | 8 eight | 9 nine | 10 ten |

11 eleven | 12 twelve | 13 thirteen | 14 fourteen | 15 fifteen | 16 sixteen | 17 seventeen | 18 eighteen | 19 nineteen | 20 twenty |

21 twenty- one | 22 twenty- two | 23 twenty- three | 24 twenty- four | 25 twenty- five | 26 twenty- six | 27 twenty- seven | 28 twenty- eight | 29 twenty- nine | 30 thirty |

31 thirty- one | 32 thirty- two | 33 thirty- three | 34 thirty- four | 35 thirty- five | 36 thirty- six | 37 thirty- seven | 38 thirty- eight | 39 thirty- nine | 40 forty |

41 forty- one | 42 forty- two | 43 forty- three | 44 forty- four | 45 forty- five | 46 forty- six | 47 forty- seven | 48 forty- eight | 49 forty- nine | 50 fifty |

51 fifty- one | 52 fifty- two | 53 fifty- three | 54 fifty- four | 55 fifty- five | 56 fifty- six | 57 fifty- seven | 58 fifty- eight | 59 fifty- nine | 60 sixty |

61 sixty- one | 62 sixty- two | 63 sixty- three | 64 sixty- four | 65 sixty- five | 66 sixty- six | 67 sixty- seven | 68 sixty- eight | 69 sixty- nine | 70 seventy |

71 seventy- one | 72 seventy- two | 73 seventy- three | 74 seventy- four | 75 seventy- five | 76 seventy- six | 77 seventy- seven | 78 seventy- eight | 79 seventy- nine | 80 eighty |

81 eighty- one | 82 eighty- two | 83 eighty- three | 84 eighty- four | 85 eighty- five | 86 eighty- six | 87 eighty- seven | 88 eighty- eight | 89 eighty- nine | 90 ninety |

91 ninety- one | 92 ninety- two | 93 ninety- three | 94 ninety- four | 95 ninety- five | 96 ninety- six | 97 ninety- seven | 98 ninety- eight | 99 ninety- nine | 100 one hundred |

Be careful with **billions** and **trillions** in English!

In American English, and now in British English, a **billion** has nine zeros (so, **one billion = one thousand million**).

Before, in British English one billion had twelve zeros (one million million). In American English, and now in British English, a **trillion** has twelve zeros (so, **one trillion = one million million**). Before, in ‘old’ British English one trillion had eighteen zeros (one million million million).

- million 1,000,000
- billion 1,000,000,000
- trillion 1,000,000,000,000

## Ordinal Numbers

We use the suffix -th to form most ordinal numbers, such as fourth, fifth, or tenth. The ordinal numbers for *one (first), two (second), and three (third) are exceptions.*

**1st**first**11th**eleventh**2nd**second**12th**twelfth**3rd**third**13th**thirteenth**4th**fourth**14th**fourteenth**5th**fifth**15th**fifteenth**6th**sixth**16th**sixteenth**7th**seventh**17th**seventeenth**8th**eighth**18th**eighteenth**9th**ninth**19th**nineteenth**10th**tenth**20th**twentieth

**31st**thirty-first**100th**one hundredth**511th**five hundred and eleventh

Look up in the dictionary.

## Days and Dates

### Seasons of the Year

Seasons **does not** begin with a capital letters.

- summer
- winter
- spring
- autumn / fall

**Fall** is used in United States, **autumn** in the rest of the world.

### Months of the Year

The months of the year in English begin with CAPITAL letters.

- January
- February
- March
- April
- May
- June
- July
- August
- September
- October
- November
- December

### Days of the Week

The days of the week in English begin with CAPITAL letters.

- Monday
- Tuesday
- Wednesday
- Thursday
- Friday
- Saturday
- Sunday

Saturday and Sunday are known as **the weekend**.

##### Capital Letters

In the English Language the first letter of the day or month is **always** in capital letters.

**January**correct –*january*incorrect**Thursday**correct –*thursday*incorrect

Though the first letter of the seasons **does not** begin with a capital letters.

*Spring*incorrect –**spring**correct

##### Time expressions for the past

The most common time expressions used for the past simple are: **yesterday, a week (month, year) ago, last (month, year, weekend, Monday) night, the day before yesterday, two days (months, years) ago**. The time expression appears either at the beginning or at the end of the sentence – never in the middle of the sentence.

##### Time expressions for the future

**When we know about the future, we normally use the present tense.**

Tomorrow; in (future year, month, week); on (future day); next (month, week, year, name of day); # days, months, weeks, years from now; this month, week, afternoon, year; someday

**Metrics of Time**

- Second
- Minute
- Hour
- Day
- Week
- Month
- Trimester
- Semester
- Year
- Decades
- Century
- Millennium
- Ages

**33 BC**- 15
**00**BCE = (15’00) Fifteen**hundred** - 2
**00**1 BCE = two**thousand**and one - 1999 BCE = (19’99) nineteen ninety nine
- 2021 BCE = (20’21) twenty twenty one

**Age**

**She’s in her 30s****He’s in his teens**

*Teen years 13-19*

**Mathematics**

**Addition:** sum, plus, and, with, add

**Subtraction:** minus, difference, lose, remove, take away, subtract

**Multiplication:** times, product, by, multiply, groups

**Division:** divide, quotient, of, divide

- comma (,)
- dot (.)
- plus (+)
- minus (-)
- times (x)
- equals (=)
- percentage (%)

**Asking For And Telling The Time**

**1) Say the hour first and then the minutes. (Hour + Minutes) **

- 6:25 – It’s six twenty-five
- 8:05 – It’s eight O-five (the O is said like the letter O)
- 9:11 – It’s nine eleven
- 2:34 – It’s two thirty-four

**2) Say the minutes first and then the hour. (Minutes + PAST / TO + Hour) **

For minutes 1-30 we use **PAST** after the minutes.

For minutes 31-59 we use **TO** after the minutes.

- 2:35 – It’s twenty-five
**to**three - 11:20 – It’s twenty
**past**eleven - 4:18 – It’s eighteen
**past**four - 8:51 – It’s nine
**to**nine - 2:59 – It’s one
**to**three

When it is **15 minutes past** the hour we normally say: (**a) quarter past**

- 7:15 – It’s (a) quarter past seven

When it is **15 minutes before** the hour we normally say: **a quarter to**

- 12:45 – It’s (a) quarter to one

When it is **30 minutes past** the hour we normally say: **half past**

- 3:30 – It’s half past three (but we can also say three-thirty)

**O’clock**

We use **o’clock** when there are NO minutes.

- 10:00 – It’s ten o’clock
- 5:00 – It’s five o’clock
- 1:00 – It’s one o’clock

Sometimes it is written as 9 o’clock (the number + o’clock)

**12:00**

For 12:00 there are four expressions in English.

- twelve o’clock
- midday = noon
- midnight

*Once a week**Twice a week**Three times a week*

#### Spelling numbers rules

There are few basic rules on how to spell numbers in the English Language. However, spelling out numbers vs. using figures (also called numerals) is largely a matter of writers’ preference. Again, consistency is the key.

**1.** Spell out all numbers beginning a sentence.

*Examples:**Twenty-three hundred sixty-one victims were hospitalized.*

Twenty twenty was quite a year.**Note**: The*Associated Press Stylebook*makes an exception for years.*Example:**2020 was quite a year.*

**2.** Hyphenate all written-out fractions and compound numbers from twenty-one through ninety-nine.

*Examples:**Forty-three people were injured in the train wreck.*

Twenty-seven of them were hospitalized.*Examples:**We recovered about two-thirds of the stolen cash.*

One-half is slightly less than five-eighths.**Note:**However, do not hyphenate terms like*a third*or*a half*.

**3.** With figures of four or more digits, use commas.

Count three spaces to the left to place the first comma. Continue placing commas after every three digits. *Important*: Do not include decimal points when doing the counting.

*Examples:**1,054 people*

$2,417,592.21**Note:**Some choose not to use commas with four-digit numbers, but this practice is not recommended.

**4.** It is not necessary to use a decimal point or a dollar sign when writing out sums of less than a dollar.

*Not Advised:**He had only $0.60.**Better:**He had only sixty cents.***OR**

He had only 60 cents.Do not add the word “dollars” to figures preceded by a dollar sign.*Note:*

**Incorrect:**I have $1,250 dollars in my checking account.**Correct:**I have $1,250 in my checking account.

**5.** For clarity, use *noon* and *midnight* rather than *12:00 PM* and *12:00 AM*.

**NOTE**:*AM*and*PM*are also written*A.M.*and*P.M.*,*a.m.*and*p.m.*, and*am*and*pm*. Some put a space between the time and*AM*or*PM*.*Examples:**8 AM*

3:09 P.M.

11:20 p.m.

- Others write times using no space before
*AM*or*PM*.*Example:**8AM*

3:09P.M.

11:20p.m.

- For the top of the hour, some write
*9:00 PM*, whereas others drop the*:00*and write*9 PM*(or*9 p.m., 9pm*, etc.). Using numerals for the time of day has become widely accepted.*Note.**Examples:**The flight leaves at 6:22 a.m.*

Please arrive by 12:30 sharp.

- However, some writers prefer to spell out the time, particularly when using
*o’clock.**Examples:**She takes the four thirty-five train.*

The baby wakes up at five o’clock in the morning.

**6.** Mixed fractions are often expressed in figures unless they begin a sentence.

*Examples:**We expect a 5 1/2 percent wage increase.*

Five and one-half percent was the expected wage increase.The simplest way to express large numbers is usually best.*Note:*

*Example:**twenty-three hundred*(simpler than*two thousand three hundred*)- Large round numbers are often spelled out, but be consistent within a sentence.
*Consistent:**You can earn from one million to five million dollars.**Inconsistent:**You can earn from one million dollars to 5 million dollars.**Inconsistent:**You can earn from $1 million to five million dollars.*

**7.** Write decimals using figures. As a courtesy to readers, many writers put a zero in front of the decimal point.

*Example:**A meter is about 1.1 times longer than a yard.*- As a courtesy to readers, many writers put a zero in front of the decimal point with numbers less than one.
*Examples:**The plant grew 0.79 inches last year.*

The plant grew only 0.07 inches this year.- (
**Note:**For clarity, when needing the symbols for inches or feet, we recommend using the double-prime [″] or the prime [′], respectively, rather than double or single quotation marks.)

- (

**8.** When writing out a number of three or more digits, the word *and* is not necessary.

However, use the word *and* to express any decimal points that may accompany these numbers.

*Examples:**five thousand two hundred eighty feet*

one thousand one hundred fifty-four dollars

one thousand one hundred fifty-four dollars and sixty-one cents*Simpler:**eleven hundred fifty-four dollars and sixty-one cents*When writing out numbers above 999, do not use commas.*Note:*

**Incorrect:**one thousand, one hundred fifty-four dollars, and sixty-one cents**Correct:**one thousand one hundred fifty-four dollars and sixty-one cents

**9.** When it’s important to ensure a number is not misinterpreted, some writers will indicate the number in both numerals and written out. The number in parentheses comes second.

**Examples:**

**Incorrect:**Add (73) seventy-three grams of sodium chloride to the beaker.**Incorrect:**Add (seventy-three) 73 grams of sodium chloride to the beaker.**Correct:**Add 73 (seventy-three) grams of sodium chloride to the beaker.**Correct:**Add seventy-three (73) grams of sodium chloride to the beaker.

**10.** The following examples are typical when using figures to express dates.

*Examples:**the 30th of June, 1934*

June 30, 1934 (no -th necessary)When spelling out decades, do not capitalize them.*Note:*

*Example:**During the eighties and nineties, the U.S. economy grew.*When expressing decades using figures, it is simpler to put an apostrophe before the incomplete numeral and no apostrophe between the number and the*Note:**s*.

**Preferred:**During the ’80s and ’90s, the U.S. economy grew.**Awkward:**During the 80s and 90s, the U.S. economy grew.- Though not as common, some writers place an apostrophe after the number:
*Example:**During the 80’s and 90’s, the U.S. economy grew.**Awkward:**During the ’80’s and ’90’s, the U.S. economy grew.*

**11.** You may also express decades in complete numerals. Again, it is cleaner to avoid an apostrophe between the year and the *s*.

*Example:**During the 1980s and 1990s, the U.S. economy grew.*Single-digit numbers are usually spelled out, but when they aren’t, you are just as likely to see*Note:**2s and 3s*as*2’s and 3’s*. With double digits and above, many (but not everyone) regard the apostrophe as superfluous:*I scored in the high 90s.*

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