How do you read the multiplication table?

EnglishBug

Senior Member
Chinese
In my native language, we recite the multiplication table like this: "one one equals one, one two equals two, ... five six thirty, five seven thirty-five, ...". I'm just curious how to recite the multiplication table in English.
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hi EnglishBug

    I think I was primarily taught it as:
    Once two is two
    Two twos are four
    Three twos are six
    Four twos are eight

    etc

    But I also seem to remember:
    One times two is two
    Two times two is four
    Three times two is six


    My memory is rather hazy: it was, unfortunately, a very long time ago!:D:eek:
     

    Rana_pipiens

    Senior Member
    USA / English
    Kids would be likely to say is ("Two times three is six.") unless the teacher directed them to say equals. Or to start out saying equals and change to is within a couple of numbers.

    The equation "2 x 3 = 6" could also be read as,
    "Two multiplied by three is equal to six."
    However, all those extra syllables aren't likely to be used for reciting an entire multiplication table.:eek:
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Hi EnglishBug

    I think I was primarily taught it as:
    Once two is two
    Two twos are four
    Three twos are six
    Four twos are eight

    etc

    My memory is rather hazy: it was, unfortunately, a very long time ago!
    My memory is holding up well. Definitely this way of reciting them.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    My memory is holding up well. Definitely this way of reciting them.
    We all remember things well from when we were young and our brain was about empty. But as it fills up you need to push out some things to make room for the new stuff. The old stuff is there for good; so the new stuff pushes other new stuff out. So you end up forgetting things you read just an hour earlier.

    Eleven times ten is one-ten
    Eleven times eleven is one-twenty-one
    Eleven times twelve is one-thirty-two
    Twelve times twelve is one-forty-four

    (They only teach to the ten times table nowadays in the USA, so this is added for the youngins who ain't had our advantages. :))
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I can't say I have any clear recollections of 60+ years ago. These days I count myself lucky to know who's in bed with me when I wake up. Luckily it's always the same fellow. As an adult I say "three fours are twelve". I would think that as small kids we said "Three times two makes six" because we called them " the 'times' tables", " We're doing the six times table now!" We called multiplication 'times'- "we're learning how to do 'times' sums". We chanted the tables every morning and got tested, both written and oral. These days they talk about numeracy, not 'sums', and they seem to use the proper terms.

    Hermione
     
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    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I can't say I have any clear recollections of 60+ years ago. These days I count myself lucky to know who's in bed with me when I wake up. Luckily it's always the same fellow. As an adult I say "three fours are twelve". I would think that as small kids we said "Three times two makes six" because we called them " the 'times' tables", " We're doing the six times table now!" We called multiplication 'times'- "we're learning how to do 'times' sums". We chanted the tables every morning and got tested, both written and oral. These days they talk about numeracy, not 'sums', and they seem to use the proper terms.

    Hermione
    I learnt my "times" tables too (I somehow missed the 9 times table and have difficulty to this day - perhaps I should attend remedial numeracy classes!).
    I wonder if they still teach the "twelve times" table since the currency went decimal a little while ago. The 12 times table always seemed useful in the days of pounds, shillings and pence :)
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I learnt my "times" tables too (I somehow missed the 9 times table and have difficulty to this day - perhaps I should attend remedial numeracy classes!).
    I wonder if they still teach the "twelve times" table since the currency went decimal a little while ago. The 12 times table always seemed useful in the days of pounds, shillings and pence :)
    It was useful for commerce too (and probably still is useful). Even today many items are sold by the dozen or the gross (in the USA). So it was useful to know that six dozen (or a half-gross) was equal to seventy-two; or that a quarter gross (three dozen) equals thirty-six, etc.
     

    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    I (U.S., Midwest) learned the table up to 12x12, and it went like this:

    One times one is one.
    ...
    Six times five is thirty.
    Six times six is thirty-six.
    Six times seven is forty-two.
    ...
    Twelve times twelve is a hundred and forty-four.​
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    I think I was primarily taught it as:
    Once two is two
    Two twos are four
    Three twos are six
    Same here, except for the first line, where the numbers were inverted. So it went:

    Three ones are three
    Two threes are six
    Three threes are nine


    I also remember:

    one into three is equal to three
    two into three is equal to six
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    I (U.S., Midwest) learned the table up to 12x12, and it went like this:

    One times one is one.
    ...
    Six times five is thirty.
    Six times six is thirty-six.
    Six times seven is forty-two.
    ...
    Twelve times twelve is a hundred and forty-four.​
    That's how we said it (Midwest, early '60s) but we only learned up to the tens.

    I somehow missed the 9 times table and have difficulty to this day - perhaps I should attend remedial numeracy classes!
    7 x 8 was the one I always had trouble with. As often as not I'd end up doing 6 x 8 + 8 or 7 x 7 + 7.
     

    English nerd

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    [This question, and a number of the following posts, have been added to a previous thread on the same topic. Please read down from the top. DonnyB - moderator].

    To express this:
    "4×3=12" we say "four times three is 12", but can it be:

    "Four threes are 12."(or is)

    Is the use of "four threes natural"? I am actually teaching a little kid,so this question popped up in my mind.......:oops:

    Thank you:)
     
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    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    Same here, except for the first line, where the numbers were inverted. So it went:
    Three ones are three
    Two threes are six
    Three threes are nine
    Just realised, after seeing another thread on the same topic, that my earlier post wasn't fully accurate. All the lines were "inverted", with the number that the table was for coming first.

    Three ones are three
    Three twos are six
    Three threes are nine
    Three fours are twelve...
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Where I grew up, we used 'x' and '=', which are part of multiplication. Orally we said "times" for 'x' and "equals" or "is" for '='. We even called the multiplication table "the times table".

    1x1=1 ("one times one is one")
    3x4=12 ("three times four is twelve")

    We never chanted multiplication tables out loud. (EDIT) Even in the 1950s that method of memorization was considered outdated pedagogy.
     
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    Edinburgher

    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    So what's more common:
    It depends on how juvenile you are. Once past primary school, the "times" version is likely to be more common, and should use "is", not "are", because the implied subject is "the result of <performing this operation> is ...".

    The version without "times" should use "are", not "is", provided the first number isn't "one": One three is three. Two threes are six.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    We never chanted multiplication tables out loud. Even in the 1950s "rote memorization" was considered outdated pedagogy.
    Strange, isn't it, the fashionable dogma in education? I've always found instant recall of multiplication a valuable skill. Very useful when working as a barman - these days bar staff seem incapable of mentally calculating the price of a few drinks. Having learnt the tables by rote as a young child didn't stunt my abilityy to go on to A-level maths at secondary school.

    My daughter is a primary teacher, and tells me that multiplication tables are back in fashion. Her mental arithmetic is atrocious - the product of what was fashionable in the 1980s and 1990s.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    We called it the "times" table. My class was the last of the classes that was taught the 11 times table and the 12 times table. Later classes went from one to 10 times tables.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    In AmE, is "four threes are twelve" or something of this sort used? Or is it just used in Indian and British English?
    To me "four threes" is four groups of three. You can add (3+3+3+3=12) or multiply (4x3=12) to get 12, but they aren't 12 until you add or multiply them. So the phrase "four threes are twelve" is not one I've heard.

    Strange, isn't it, the fashionable dogma in education? I've always found instant recall of multiplication a valuable skill.
    My daughter is a primary teacher, and tells me that multiplication tables are back in fashion. Her mental arithmetic is atrocious - the product of what was fashionable in the 1980s and 1990s.
    Yes, the "new math" of the 1980s and 1990s was terrible. I completely agree that memorizing multiplication tables is valuable. To this day I say to myself "nine times six is 54".

    In post #20 I mis-spoke. I should have said that we memorized the tables -- we just didn't do it by reciting them out loud.
     

    Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    That wouldn’t make sense in New York either. Three into six is the same as six divided by three.
    That's Indianism. Indians use "into" to express multiplication/to mean multiplied by! Be careful while dealing with Indians. 99.9% Indian teachers don't know "into" is used to express division in standard English, not multiplication.:p:eek:
     
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