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Reading and Writing Numbers

Reading and Writing Numbers

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1.1. CARDINAL AND ORDINAL NUMBERS.

The Cardinal numbers (one, two, three, and so on) are adjectives referring to

quantity, and the Ordinal numbers (first, second, third, and so on) refer to distribution.

1 One First (1st) 16 Sixteen Sixteenth (16th)

2 Two Second (2nd) 17 Seventeen Seventeenth (17th)

3 Three Third (3rd) 18 Eighteen Eighteenth (18th)

4 Four Fourth (4th) 19 Nineteen Nineteenth (19th)

5 Five Fifth (5th) 20 Twenty Twentieth (20th)

6 Six Sixth (6th) 21 Twenty-One Twenty-First (21st)

7 Seven Seventh (7th) 22 Twenty-Two Twenty-Second (22nd)

8 Eight Eighth (8th) 23 Twenty-Three Twenty-Third (23rd)

9 Nine Ninth (9th) 24 Twenty-Four Twenty-Fourth (24th)

10 Ten Tenth (10th) 25 Twenty-Five Twenty-Fifth (25th)

11 Eleven Eleventh (11th) 26 Twenty-Six Twenty-Sixth (26th)

12 Twelve Twelfth (12th) 27 Twenty-Seven Twenty-Seventh (27th)

13 Thirteen Thirteenth (13th) 28 Twenty-Eight Twenty-Eighth (28th)

14 Fourteen Fourteenth (14th) 29 Twenty-Nine Twenty-Ninth (29th)

15 Fifteen Fifteenth (15th) 30 Thirty Thirtieth (30th)

If a number is in the range 21 to 99, and the second digit is not zero, we should

write the number as two words separated by a hyphen:

25 twenty-five

57 fifty-seven

Axel Cotón Gutiérrez Pági na 1|7

READING AND WRITING NUMBERS.

89 eighty-nine

40 Forty Fortieth (40th) 80 Eighty Eightieth (80th)

50 Fifty Fiftieth (50th) 90 Ninety Ninetieth (90th)

60 Sixty Sixtieth (60th) 100 A/One Hundred Hundredth (100th)

70 Seventy Seventieth (70th) 1,000 A/One Thousand Thousandth (1,000th)

Numbers over 100 are generally written in figures. If you want to say them aloud

or want to write them in words rather than figures you put ‘and’ in front of the number

expressed by the last two figures. For example:

622 six hundred and twenty-two (AmE: six hundred twenty-two)

NOTE: The British use ‘and’ before tens and ones but the Americans usually leave the

‘and’ out.

10,000 Ten Thousand Ten Thousandth

100,000 A/One Hundred Thousand Hundred Thousandth

1,000,000 A/One Million Millionth

Numbers between 1000 and 1,000,000 are usually said or written in words as:

1,963 one thousand, nine hundred and sixty-three

READING AND WRITING NUMBERS.

NOTE: Notice that hundred, thousand, and so on is NOT followed by an ‘s’: two hundred

(NOT two hundreds).

hundreds. For example:

If the number 1963 is being used to identify something, it is said as ‘one nine six

three’. We always say each figure separately like this with telephone numbers. If a

telephone number contains a double number, we used the word ‘double’:

561 6603 five six one (pause) double six ‘oh’ three

(AmE: five six one (pause) six six ‘oh’ three)

Beyond a million, the names of the numbers differ depending where you live.

The places are grouped by thousands in America and France, by the millions in Great

Britain, Germany and Spain.

NAME AMERICA UK

Billion 1,000,000,000 1,000,000,000,000

Trillion 1 with 12 zeros 1 with 18 zeros

Quadrillion 1 with 15 zeros 1 with 24 zeros

1,412,605 one million four hundred twelve thousand six hundred and five

2,760,300 two million seven hundred sixty thousand three hundred

READING AND WRITING NUMBERS.

YEARS

We normally say a year in two parts. In the case of years ending in ‘00’, we say

the second part in ‘hundred’:

1706 seventeen hundred and six (or ‘seventeen oh six’)

1865 eighteen sixty-five

1900 nineteen hundred

There are two ways of saying years ending in ‘01’ to ‘09’ before 2000. For

example:

The year 2000 is read ‘two thousand’, 2006 ‘two thousand and six’ (AmE: two

thousand six).

Post-2010 dates are often said as normal (2010 would be ‘twenty ten’).

DATES

We can say dates either with the day before the month, or the month before the

day.

NOTE: Be careful! The second of December 2007 is written in British English like this:

2/12/07 and in American English like this: 12/2/07

READING AND WRITING NUMBERS.

FLIGHT NUMBERS

1248 twelve forty-eight

2503 twenty-five oh three

3050 three oh five oh (or ‘three zero five zero’, ‘thirty fifty)

TITLES

In names for kings and queens, ordinal numbers are written in Roman numbers.

In spoken English, the definite article is used before the ordinal number:

Edward VI - Eduard the Sixth

Henry VIII - Henry the Eighth

1.4. NUMBER 0.

The figure 0 is normally called nought in UK and zero in USA. When numbers are

said figure by figure, 0 is often called like the letter O Examples:

My telephone number is nine six seven double two oh four six oh (967 220460)

My telephone number is nine six seven double two oh treble/triple six (967 220666)

READING AND WRITING NUMBERS.

Zero scores in team-games are usually called nil in UK and zero in USA. In tennis,

table-tennis and similar games the word love is used (this is derived from the French

l’oeuf, meaning the egg, presumably because zero can be egg-shaped) Examples:

Nadal is winning forty-love

DECIMALS

Decimal Fractions are said with each figure separate. We use a full stop (called

“point”), not a comma, before the fraction. Each place value has a value that is one tenth

the value to the immediate left of it.

2.36 two point three six

0.5 nought point five (AmE: zero point five)

0.75 nought point seven five (AmE: zero point seven five)

Axel Cotón Gutiérrez Pági na 6|7

READING AND WRITING NUMBERS.

FRACTIONS

Simple fractions are expressed by using “ordinal numbers” (third, fourth, fifth...)

with some exceptions:

1/3 One third / a third

2/3 Two thirds

3/4 Three quarters

5/8 Five eighths

4/33 Four over thirty-three

PERCENTAGES.

37% thirty-seven per cent

REMEMBER: Use (,) and (.) in the opposite way –the points for the decimals and the

commas for thousands, millions, and so on.

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