Six million and six cars

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Aimee J., Mar 12, 2018.

  1. Aimee J.

    Aimee J. Banned

    French - France
    Why is it correct to say “six million” but it is incorrect to say “six car”?
     
  2. Chasint Senior Member

    English - England
    Because 'million' describes the type of six that we are discussing.

    It used to be common for people to say "six millions" and some still do. These days this usage has almost died out.

    You can see why because we used to have to say, "six millions of cars." It's quicker to say "six million cars"

    P.S.

    There is another reason. We can talk about a six-centimetre pencil. No-one says "a six-centimetres pencil", although they would talk about a distance of six centimetres.

    Similarly we would talk about a "Six-million pound/dollar debt."

    EDIT

    As someone points out below, a two word phrase is not correct or incorrect on its own.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2018
  3. ain'ttranslationfun? Senior Member

    US English
    A little more context would help us to help you, Aimee J.... :)
     
  4. dojibear Senior Member

    Fresno CA
    English - Northeast US
    A two word phrase is not "correct" or "incorrect". Please use it in a sentence.
     
  5. elroy

    elroy Sharp-heeled Mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Just because. ;)

    Seriously, just learn it as an exception.
     
  6. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    Singapore
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    The plural form is old usage, as Chasint has mentioned. From Google's Ngrams:
    [​IMG]
     
  7. ain'ttranslationfun? Senior Member

    US English
    If you are citing a very specific figure, as in "six million and six cars" instead of rounding off to "six million cars" [or even "about/some six million cars" (etc.)]: that's the way we write the number
    "6,000,006".
    Hope this helps.
     
  8. Aimee J.

    Aimee J. Banned

    French - France
    What could be the possible reason that the singular form ‘million’ became more widely used?

    In the sentence:

    “The Nazis murdered six million Jews.”

    Why do we say million and not millions?
     
  9. elroy

    elroy Sharp-heeled Mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    The question is clearly about "six cars" versus "six million" of something. The question is why we don't say "six millions" even though we do say "six cars." "Six millions" is a common non-native mistake, as in other languages the plural is in fact used. I would say non-natives should simply learn this as an exception.
     
  10. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    Singapore
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Chasint has suggested we use 'million' like an adjective or pre-modifier, where we do not use the plural form. When we use it as a noun, the plural is normal.

    I paid several millions for it.
    I paid millions of pounds for it.
    I paid two million pounds for it.
     
  11. Chasint Senior Member

    English - England
    That's not what the OP means. It's"six million "versus "six cars". :)

    The title is confusing because the quote marks have been left out. Have a look at the actual question.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
  12. Chasint Senior Member

    English - England
    We talk about a "ten foot wall" not a ten feet wall.

    In English we can use a series of nouns as a way to form adjectives. It is very common. None of the nouns are pluralised.

    E.g.

    I climbed over a brick wall :tick: I climbed over a bricks wall :cross:
     
  13. Alex Gadd Member

    English - British
    Compound nouns are not pluralized. If you say, for example, "I earn six million", what you are actually saying is, "I earn six million (pounds/euros/etc)"
     
  14. RM1(SS)

    RM1(SS) Senior Member

    Connecticut
    English - US (Midwest)
    I disagree -- it should be "I paid several million [pounds] for it," as Alex points out.
     
  15. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    Singapore
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I'm find with either version, but it would be 'two million' only for me.
     
  16. ain'ttranslationfun? Senior Member

    US English
    :D! Lucky you!

    Seriously, "Six million." is fine as a reply to "How much did you pay for that Michaelangelo cartoon?" We know you don't mean six million centimes...
     
  17. Aimee J.

    Aimee J. Banned

    French - France
    Should someone say "I have one thousand pound/pounds in the bank"?
     
  18. heypresto

    heypresto Senior Member

    South East England
    English - England
    "I have one thousand pound in the bank." :cross:
    "I have one thousand pounds in the bank." :tick:
     

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