English-Ireland (top end)

**Introduction**

This thread is about how we say numbers in English and how we write them in words rather than digits. This post explains how to say whole numbers. The next post goes on to talk about decimal numbers. Further posts about numbers expressed as fractions and percentages may be added later.

It is work in progress and is based almost entirely on discussions in these forums.

There are significant differences between American English and British English. These are indicated clearly below. There are also significant regional and other variations.

Saying numbers is not as difficult as it may seem at first. Get the numbers from 1 to 999 right and the rest is easy. We read numbers in groups of up to three digits counting in threes from the decimal point leftwards - the groups we mark out with commas. We actually read the numbers from left to right, of course.

**How to read a three-digit number.**

001-099

It probably isn’t necessary to explain these.

*One*,

*two*,

*three*...

*nineteen*,

*twenty*,

*twenty-one*...

*ninety-nine*.

100-999

The numbers 100-199 begin with

*one hundred...*or*a hundred...*With large numbers it is usually

*one hundred ...*but in other contexts*a hundred ...*is more natural. See**a/one hundred**Numbers 200-999 begin with

*two/three/etc hundred...*What about those three dots after hundred? How do we say the 00-99?

Easy, just the same as in the 001-099 section.

How do we put them together – the hundreds and the 00-99 part?

*AE/BE difference.*

AE: Many put them together without any joining words. Others use a joining

*and*as in BE.103

*... one hundred three OR one hundred and three*119

*... one hundred nineteen*[numbers ending with thirteen through nineteen usually do not have a joining*and*]546

*... five hundred forty-six*[a joining*and*is used by a minority of AE speakers for spoken numbers, and more frequently in writing]

BE: We put them together with a joining

*and*.103

*... one hundred and three*119

*... one hundred and nineteen*546

*... five hundred and forty-six*

**Words used after each group of three digits.**

When saying large numbers we say them in groups of three, as above, following each with

*thousand*,*million*, as appropriate.ZZZ,WWW,QQQ,YYY,XXX<.>

Starting from the decimal point and moving left, the words used for the groups are:

ZZZ,WWW,QQQ,YYY,

**– these are units, no additional word is used.***XXX*ZZZ,WWW,QQQ,

**,XXX –***YYY**thousand*ZZZ,WWW,

**,YYY,XXX –***QQQ**million*ZZZ,

**,QQQ,YYY,XXX –***WWW**billion***,WWW,QQQ,YYY,XXX –**

*ZZZ**trillion*

And so on.

The word is always singular, not plural - twenty-three thousand, NOT twenty-three thousands.

The word is always singular, not plural - twenty-three thousand, NOT twenty-three thousands.

BE speakers (and perhaps others) who persist in the illusion that AE and BE have different billions should read Meaning of "Billion".

It’s long, but there is a summary in the first post.

It’s long, but there is a summary in the first post.

**Putting it together.**

To read a large number we start at the left and read the three-digit groups. The group at the left, of course, may have only one or two digits.

What do we say to join the groups?

Normally, we don’t use any joining word.

The exception is the last group.

If the last group after the thousands is 1-99 it is joined with

*and*.For example, 4,001 to 4,099:

*(four) thousand and one*to*(four) thousand and ninety-nine*.But 4,201:

*four thousand two hundred and one*– no*and*after*thousand*.

**Examples**

Optional AE style is given in

*[brackets in italic]*

1,234,567

AE: one million, two hundred

*[and]*thirty-four thousand, five hundred*[and]*sixty-sevenBE: one million, two hundred and thirty-four thousand, five hundred and sixty-seven

1,023,456

AE: one million, twenty-three thousand, four hundred

*[and]*fifty-sixBE: one million, twenty-three thousand, four hundred and fifty-six

1,023,000

AE: one million, twenty-three thousand

BE: one million, twenty-three thousand

1,234,056

AE: one million, two hundred thirty-four thousand

*[and]*fifty-sixBE: one million, two hundred and thirty-four thousand and fifty-six

oh vs. zero

*For more threads see:*

number

numbers

naught Vs Zeronumber

numbers

oh vs. zero

Cross-reference:

Need an xref to the dates topic summary.

Cross-reference:

Need an xref to the dates topic summary.

**Hyphens in numbers:**

**The usage of a dash (-) when writing numbers: thirty(-) four**

**thirty-nine hundred**

**spelling of numbers**

**second-largest vs. second largest**

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