How to read decimals

Discussion in 'English Only' started by aria_86, Jun 13, 2009.

  1. aria_86 New Member

    Argentina- Castellano
    Hi to everyone! Last week I came up with a doubt about how to read decimals.

    Up to what I know, anumber like this "10.890" is read: ten POINT eight hundred and ninety.

    HOWEVER, one person told me that I shouldnt read it with "POINT" as it is not correct... The book and the theory tell me that I should use it.... therefore I´m in ttwo minds which of the two options is the correct one, or if by using POINT I'm being colloquial and by omitting it I may be using a more "street-like" slang.

    Thanks in advance!!! :)
  2. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    What did this other person say you should be using? And was this person a native-English-speaker?

    To the best of my knowledge, the use of "point" is just fine. The only qualification that I would make is that I, personally, would say "ten point eight nine oh".
  3. aria_86 New Member

    Argentina- Castellano
    Thanks for your comment!!!

    No, it's not really a native speaker. It's simply someone who lived in the United States for a couple of years and told me that.

    That's why I wondered if by not using point it was a way to simplyfy the language for the everyday's usage of this one...

    Apparently I can say so... can't I??
  4. marget Senior Member

    I completely agree with dimcl.
  5. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    You still haven't told us what the alternative is. Is this person saying that you should ignore the decimal altogether? This wouldn't make sense as you would then be saying "ten, eight ninety".

    Your use of "point" is absolutely correct and I'm afraid that the person who told you otherwise is wrong.
  6. aria_86 New Member

    Argentina- Castellano
    thank you both!!!


  7. kalamazoo Senior Member

    US, English
    I also would say "point eight nine oh" or "point eight nine zero" instead of "eight hundred and ninety" which doesn't seem correct to me.
  8. aria_86 New Member

    Argentina- Castellano
    well DIMCL, the funny thing is that the person told me that nothing is said... This is, for the following number 9.10, one would say nine ten, which makes no sense to me, instead of nine point ten. So having realized that I'm not the only person that thinks that the use of "point" is incorrect I will continue using it...
  9. kalamazoo Senior Member

    US, English
    Maybe your friend was thinking of height, where we would say "5,10" but that is not a "point" but rather means five feet 10 inches.
  10. SwissPete

    SwissPete Senior Member

    94044 USA
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    It's OK to omit the "point" in come cases. If the context is clear that you are talking about money, then you can say "ten eighty nine" to mean 10 dollars and 89 cents.
  11. kalamazoo Senior Member

    US, English
    I think the rule is more likely that you don't say "point" when one number is in one unit (feet or dollars) and the following number is in a different unit (inches or cents). We wouldn't say "I owed him ten point five dollars" because we don't talk about decimal dollars as a rule.
  12. ms291052 Member

    English - USA
    Theoretically you're not supposed to pronounce the point but instead say 10.89 as "ten and eighty-nine (one) hundredths" and 9.1 as "Nine and one tenth," or at least so I was taught in school.

    That said, 99% of people just pronounce the "point" and then read off the following digits one by one: "ten point eight nine" and "nine point one".

    The notable exceptions are height and money as has been stated above.
  13. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    I think that is exclusively a US practice. It "fails" for numbers such as 3.141589. In the UK it was taught to us in italics just as in your following example.
    You do hear "three point one billion dollars" but for feet and inches, the point would be incorrect because the units aren't decimal.

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