# How do you read the multiplication table?

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#### EnglishBug

##### Senior Member
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.

• #### sdgraham

##### Senior Member
We say "two times three equals six."

If we said one, one, it would be 11.

#### Loob

##### Senior Member
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!

#### George French

##### Senior Member
My memory is rather hazy: it was, unfortunately, a very long time ago!
Loob, your memory is still good... That's how I remember it as well...

GF..

We don't forget that stuff.....

#### Rana_pipiens

##### Senior Member
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.

#### Andygc

##### Senior Member
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
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
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
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
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
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

##### Banned
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
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
[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.......

Thank you

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#### Barque

##### Banned
Is the use of "four threes" natural"?
It's common in Indian English.

Have you looked for earlier threads? I think there are several.

#### DonnyB

##### Sixties Mod
I used to say that when I was learning my "times tables" at Junior School, yes.

[cross-posted]

#### heypresto

##### Senior Member
Yes. Four threes are twelve, five threes are fifteen . . .

Multi-crossed.

#### Barque

##### Banned
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...

#### English nerd

##### Senior Member
So what's more common:

"Four times three is 12"
OR
"Four threes are 12."(or is)

#### dojibear

##### Senior Member
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
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.

#### heypresto

##### Senior Member
I think it might depend on which school you went to, in which country and at what time.

But 'Four threes is twelve' is definitely wrong.

#### Andygc

##### Senior Member
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.

#### Uncle Jack

##### Senior Member
I think I was primarily taught it as:
Once two is two
Two twos are four
Three twos are six
Four twos are eight
For me, it was definitely
One two is two​

I think I would have puzzled over "once two", and why it would not have been followed by "twice two is four".

#### Packard

##### Senior Member
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.

#### English nerd

##### Senior Member
In AmE, is "four threes are twelve" or something of this sort used? Or is it just used in Indian and British English?

#### Packard

##### Senior Member
In AmE, is "four threes are twelve" or something of this sort used? Or is it just used in Indian and British English?
I was taught, "four times three is twelve" or "four times three equals twelve".

#### English nerd

##### Senior Member
So it's not used in AmE, right?

#### RM1(SS)

##### Senior Member
Not that I've seen.

#### dojibear

##### Senior Member
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.

#### Forero

##### Senior Member
...
one into three is equal to three
two into three is equal to six
This sounds bizarre. Where I live, "into" is only used for division:

Two into three is one and a half.

#### Packard

##### Senior Member
This sounds bizarre. Where I live, "into" is only used for division:

Two into three is one and a half.
That wouldn’t make sense in New York either. Three into six is the same as six divided by three.

#### Englishmypassion

##### Senior Member
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.

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#### heypresto

##### Senior Member
Just remembered a nice (off-topic) line from the Simpsons:

Teacher: Do you know your times tables?
Bart: I know of them.

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