Numbers
Numbers
“I have often admired the mystical way of Pythagoras, and the secret magic of numbers.”
(Religio Medici)
Everyone speaking English needs to say numbers. Saying numbers usually requires practice. Being skilled in saying numbers makes it easier for students of management to perform more accurately in their future everyday work (e.g. in meetings, negotiations, presentations, on the telephone, etc.). This material should help you review things you have already learned about numbers. Furthermore, it adds some relevant information on how to say or write more complex numerical expressions.
1Cardinal numbers (základné číslovky)
1

one


20

twenty


100

a hundred / one hundred

2

two


21

twentyone


101

a hundred and one

3

three


22

twentytwo


110

a hundred and ten

4

four


25

twentyfive


112

a hundred and twelve

5

five


30

thirty


195

a hundred and ninetyfive

6

six


33

thirtythree


199

a hundred and ninetynine

7

seven


37

thirtyseven


200

two hundred

8

eight


40

forty


256

two hundred and fiftysix

9

nine


44

fortyfour


300

three hundred

10

ten


48

fortyeight


389

three hundred and eightynine

11

eleven


50

fifty


400

four hundred

12

twelve


56

fiftysix


405

four hundred and five

13

thirteen


60

sixty


500

five hundred

14

fourteen


69

sixtynine


600

six hundred

15

fifteen


70

seventy


672

six hundred and seventytwo

16

sixteen


75

seventyfive


700

seven hundred

17

seventeen


80

eighty


800

eight hundred

18

eighteen


83

eightythree


900

nine hundred

19

nineteen


90

ninety


999

nine hundred and ninetynine

Notice that in British English we use and before the tens in a number.
In American English and is normally omitted.
 British English  American English 
110

a hundred and ten

a hundred ten

526

five hundred and twentysix

five hundred twentysix

831

eight hundred and thirtyone

eight hundred thirtyone

Exercise
Practise saying these numbers.
a

556


d

341


g

669


j

432

b

97


e

748


h

82


k

333

c

823


f

111


i

905


l

90

2Large numbers
When writing numbers greater than 999 we use a comma (,):
1,201

a thousand two hundred and one

14,225

fourteen thousand two hundred and twentyfive

25,000

twentyfive thousand

Note that commas are not used in dates (the year 2005). For more information see point 9.
1,000


a thousand / one thousand

5,836


five thousand eight hundred and thirty six

10,000


ten thousand

12,000


twelve thousand

100,000


a hundred thousand / one hundred thousand

254,789


two hundred and fiftyfour thousand, seven hundred and eightynine (BrE)
two hundred fiftyfour thousand, seven hundred eightynine (AmE)

1,000,000


a million / one million

3,000,000


three million

500,000,000


five hundred million / half a billion

1,000,000,000


a billion / one billion / a thousand million

2,000,000,000


two billion

3,270,000,000


three billion, two hundred and seventy million

1,000,000,000,000


a trillion / a million million

In the singular, the words hundred, thousand, million or billion are preceded by a or one (for example we can say a thousand or one thousand). One is a more formal expression and a greater stress is usually put on this word by speakers than on the word a.
These days, financial statements are usually prepared on a computer. Excel spreadsheets can be set to insert commas in large numbers but sometimes commas are not used. That means that the number 75,684 appears as 75684 or 75 684. In many scientific books and papers commas are not normally used but instead spaces are left (2 500 000 – two million, five hundred thousand).
Exercise
Practise saying and writing numbers a – l.


26,000,000


 

8,000,000,000,000


 

1,262


 

5,004


 

2,473


 

3,630,005





6,000,000,000


 

2,224,000


 

1,066


 

10,000,001


 

64,975


 

9,897,123



In imprecise numbers, hundreds, thousands, millions or billions take a plural form.
Compare:
The coat cost nine hundred pounds.

The coat cost hundreds of pounds.


The antique clock cost thousands of pounds.

The cruiser Queen Mary 2 cost hundreds of millions.

I can give you hundreds of examples.

The article the and the preposition of occur in millions of English sentences.

The company is selling thousands a week.

Some execs earn millions of dollars a year.

During the night 400,000 bats can eat tons of insects.
3Decimal points
Unlike the Slovak language, English uses a decimal point (.) for decimals (desatinné čísla).
Compare:
12,001

twelve thousand and one

12.001

twelve point oh oh one

4The figure 0 (zero)
The figure 0 is usually called nought [no:t] in British English, and zero [zi:rƏu] in American English.
4a The figure 0 in decimals
Before a decimal point we say either nought or zero:
After a decimal point we say oh [Əu]:
0.02

nought point oh two

0.006

nought point oh oh six

4b The figure 0 in some situations
a

Hotel room numbers

I’m on the top floor, room 901.

(nine oh one)

b

Bus numbers

You can take the bus No. 802.

(eight oh two)

c

Flight numbers

IB 340

(three four oh)




BA 401

(four oh one)


d

Years

1905

(nineteen oh five)


e

Car registration numbers

BA 307 DM



f

Bank account numbers

0200834061


g

Temperature

–3C

three degrees below zero (or minus three degrees)



+5C

five degrees above zero (or plus five degrees)

4c The figure 0 in sport
Zero scores in team games are called nil [nil]. We say it e.g. in football scores.
Artmedia Bratislava – Glasgow Rangers: 0 – 0 (nil all)

Juventus Turin – Bayern Munich: 2 – 1 (two one to Juventus)

A: ‘What’s the score?’

B: ‘3 – 0’. (three nil)

Spain won the match 1 – 0 (one nil).

In tennis the word love is used. It is said that this expression comes from the French word l’oeuf that means ‘the egg’ – the figure 0 looks like an egg.
Forty – love; Agassi to serve.

The score is 15 – 0 (fifteen love).

5Telephone numbers
We say each figure separately pausing after groups of three or four. When the same digit comes twice we usually say double. Numbers of area codes are grouped together.
035 442 368

oh three five / double four two / three six eight

0421 2 5349 1122

oh four two one / two / five three four nine / double one double two

043 553 877

oh four three / double five three / eight double seven

041 643 999

oh four one / six four three / nine double nine
 Exercise 1
What’s your phone number? _____________________________
Practise saying it as quickly as possible.
Exercise 2
Write these numbers in full. Show breaks ( / ) between groups.


(0181) 645 744




 

(0033) 135 786 390




 

(0043) 718 578 88




 

(0192) 553 449




 

(00420) 654 27 389


6Decimals
In English all the digits after a decimal point are read separately.
a

10.66

ten point six six (NOT ten point sixty six)




b

0.328





c

6.55





d

3.14159





e

0.002


Prices
If the number after the decimal point is a unit of money, it is read like a normal number.
a

€12.70

twelve euros seventy OR twelve euros and seventy cents




b

£8.30

eight pounds thirty




c

SKK 98.50

ninetyeight crowns fifty OR ninetyeight Slovak crowns fifty




d

$46.90





e

SFr14.25


British money
There are 100 pence in a pound. Sums of money are named as follows:
1 p

one penny (informal one p OR a penny)



5 p

five pence (informal five p)



£4.65

four pounds sixtyfive OR four pounds and sixtyfive pence

American money
There are 100 cents (¢) in a dollar. Sums of money are named very much as in British English. However, some coins have special names.

=

pennies
 
=

dimes






 
=

nickels
 
=

a quarter

7Calculating
+

plus / and / add

–

minus / subtract / deduct / take away

or *

times / multiplied by

or /

divided by

=

equals / is

20 + 5 = 25

Twenty plus five is twentyfive.


Twenty and five equals twentyfive.

20 – 4 = 16

Twenty minus four is sixteen.


Twenty take away four equals sixteen.

5 x 4 = 20

Five times four equals twenty.


Five multiplied by four is twenty.

10 : 3 = 3.333

Ten divided by three is three point three recurring.

8Square, cube and root
10^{2}

ten squared

10^{3}

ten cubed

10^{4}

ten to the power (of) four

10^{6}

ten to the power (of) six

The preposition ‘of’ is optional.



√25

the square root of 25

9Ordinal numbers (radové číslovky)
1^{st}

first


11^{th}

eleventh


21^{st}

twentyfirst

2^{nd}

second


12^{th}

twelfth


30^{th}

thirtieth

3^{rd}

third


13^{th}

thirteenth


40^{th}

fortieth

4^{th}

fourth


14^{th}

fourteenth


50^{th}

fiftieth

5^{th}

fifth


15^{th}

fifteenth


60^{th}

sixtieth

6^{th}

sixth


16^{th}

sixteenth


70^{th}

seventieth

7^{th}

seventh


17^{th}

seventeenth


80^{th}

eightieth

8^{th}

eighth


18^{th}

eighteenth


90^{th}

ninetieth

9^{th}

ninth


19^{th}

nineteenth




10^{th}

tenth


20^{th}

twentieth




The names of kings and queens are said with ordinal numbers.
Henry VIII

Henry the Eighth



Louis XIV

Louis the Fourteenth



Elizabeth II

Elizabeth the Second

10Fractions
Fractions are usually like ordinal numbers, however, there are some exceptions:
^{1}/_{2}

a half

^{1}/_{4}

a quarter

^{3}/_{4}

three quarters

2^{1}/_{2}

two and a half

1^{3}/_{4}

one and three quarters

Complete the table.
^{1}/_{3}

a third

^{5}/_{8}

five eighths





^{3}/_{5}


^{2}/_{3}






^{1}/_{8}


^{5}/_{6}






6^{1}/_{2}


2^{3}/_{4}


11Dates
In English we write 20 December but we say the twentieth of December or December the twentieth.
We can write the date using dots (.) or slashes (/): 20.12.05 or 20/12/05.
In British English the day of the month comes first and the month follows, so 21.12.05 is 21 December 2005. On the other hand, in American English, the month comes first, and the day second, so 12.01.05 is December 1, 2005.
12Years
We write 1997 and 2005 but say nineteen ninetyseven and two thousand and five or twenty oh five.
We write decades as the 1960s or 1980s or just the ‘80s and we say the nineteen sixties or the nineteen eighties or the eighties. Notice that there is no apostrophe before the s.
Practise saying the following dates:

31 December 2005 ………………………………………………………………….

6 January 2006 ……………………………………………………………………..

25 February 1987 …………………………………………………………………..

1 August 2004 ……………………………………………………………………...

11 September 2001 …………………………………………………………………

1 May 2002 ………………………………………………………………………...

30 June 2003 ……………………………………………………………………….

1 November 1999 ………………………………………………………………….

4 August 1998 ……………………………………………………………………..

Your birthday: _____________________________________________________

13Centuries
Note how the names of centuries relate to the years in them.
1501 – 1600

the 16^{th} century





1601 – 1700

the 17^{th} century





1701 – 1800

the 18^{th } century





1801 – 1900

the 19^{th }century





1901 – 2000

the 20^{th} century


14Numbers as nouns and adjectives
Note that numbers can also function as nouns in both singular and plural.
 
an eightmonth waiting list


  

  

  
a tenminute walk to work


  
an eleven degree fall in temperature


  

  
15Numbers in English Idioms
Idioms are fixed expressions whose meaning is not immediately obvious from looking at the individual words in the idiom. For example, the expression at the eleventh hour means almost too late, but we cannot deduce this by only looking at the words. Moreover, Slovak uses a little bit different phrase(s) (e.g. v hodine dvanástej, or o päť minút dvanásť) to express the same idea. In addition, while some idioms are fixed in their form, and can be neither changed nor varied, it is possible to make grammatical or vocabulary variations in many other idioms. This makes it difficult for learners of English to study and use idiomatic expressions in suitable situations accurately and appropriately.
Negotiators reached agreement at the eleventh hour, just in time to avoid bringing production to a complete standstill.
Idioms below are based on the fact that all of them contain a number or numbers. Read them and try to find some equivalents in Slovak. Learn them by heart.


Thanks a million!


 

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.


 

I’m in seventh heaven.


 

Danny:

Comenius University is the best university in the whole region.


John:

Yes, it’s second to none, isn’t it?


 

Mary:

Professor Komornik is the cleverest man I’ve ever met.


Kate:

Yes, he’s second to none, isn’t he?


 

The Browns wanted to move next month but their new house is being built very slowly. It happens this way nine times out of ten.


 

Martin is an adult now so he has to learn to stand on his own two feet.


 

The Queen is a very famous person, but she has always kept both feet on the ground.


 

As George is a very ambitious man, he will never settle for second best.


 

Living in France and working in the United Kingdom gives Frank Peters the best of both worlds – British salaries and a French lifestyle.


 

We were at sixes and sevens for about a week after we arrived in London.


 

‘Who do you think is to blame – the management or the bluecollar workers?’


‘It’s six of one and half a dozen of the other.’



English for Managers I
