Numbers “I have often admired the mystical way of Pythagoras, and the secret magic of numbers.”




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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

twenty-one




101

a hundred and one

3

three




22

twenty-two




110

a hundred and ten

4

four




25

twenty-five




112

a hundred and twelve

5

five




30

thirty




195

a hundred and ninety-five

6

six




33

thirty-three




199

a hundred and ninety-nine

7

seven




37

thirty-seven




200

two hundred

8

eight




40

forty




256

two hundred and fifty-six

9

nine




44

forty-four




300

three hundred

10

ten




48

forty-eight




389

three hundred and eighty-nine

11

eleven




50

fifty




400

four hundred

12

twelve




56

fifty-six




405

four hundred and five

13

thirteen




60

sixty




500

five hundred

14

fourteen




69

sixty-nine




600

six hundred

15

fifteen




70

seventy




672

six hundred and seventy-two

16

sixteen




75

seventy-five




700

seven hundred

17

seventeen




80

eighty




800

eight hundred

18

eighteen




83

eighty-three




900

nine hundred

19

nineteen




90

ninety




999

nine hundred and ninety-nine

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 twenty-six

five hundred twenty-six

831

eight hundred and thirty-one

eight hundred thirty-one



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 twenty-five

25,000

twenty-five 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 fifty-four thousand, seven hundred and eighty-nine (BrE)

two hundred fifty-four thousand, seven hundred eighty-nine (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:



0.7

nought point seven (BrE)

zero point seven (AmE)



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

–3C

three degrees below zero (or minus three degrees)







+5C

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

ninety-eight crowns fifty OR ninety-eight 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 sixty-five OR four pounds and sixty-five 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.




  • one-cent coins

=

pennies

  • ten-cent coins

=

dimes



















  • five-cent coins

=

nickels

  • a twenty-five cent coin

=

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 twenty-five.




Twenty and five equals twenty-five.

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




102

ten squared

103

ten cubed

104

ten to the power (of) four

106

ten to the power (of) six

The preposition ‘of’ is optional.







√25

the square root of 25


9Ordinal numbers (radové číslovky)




1st

first




11th

eleventh




21st

twenty-first

2nd

second




12th

twelfth




30th

thirtieth

3rd

third




13th

thirteenth




40th

fortieth

4th

fourth




14th

fourteenth




50th

fiftieth

5th

fifth




15th

fifteenth




60th

sixtieth

6th

sixth




16th

sixteenth




70th

seventieth

7th

seventh




17th

seventeenth




80th

eightieth

8th

eighth




18th

eighteenth




90th

ninetieth

9th

ninth




19th

nineteenth










10th

tenth




20th

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

21/2

two and a half

13/4

one and three quarters


Complete the table.


1/3

a third

5/8

five eighths













3/5




2/3
















1/8




5/6
















61/2




23/4





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 ninety-seven 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:


  1. 31 December 2005 ………………………………………………………………….

  2. 6 January 2006 ……………………………………………………………………..

  3. 25 February 1987 …………………………………………………………………..

  4. 1 August 2004 ……………………………………………………………………...

  5. 11 September 2001 …………………………………………………………………

  6. 1 May 2002 ………………………………………………………………………...

  7. 30 June 2003 ……………………………………………………………………….

  8. 1 November 1999 ………………………………………………………………….

  9. 4 August 1998 ……………………………………………………………………..

  10. Your birthday: _____________________________________________________


13Centuries

Note how the names of centuries relate to the years in them.




1501 – 1600

the 16th century













1601 – 1700

the 17th century













1701 – 1800

the 18th century













1801 – 1900

the 19th century













1901 – 2000

the 20th century





14Numbers as nouns and adjectives

Note that numbers can also function as nouns in both singular and plural.




        • a football eleven

        • the eighties




          • a five-pound note

          • an eight-month waiting list







          • a ten dollar note

          • a twenty pound price cut







          • a five-foot deep hole







          • a six-mile walk

          • a ten-minute walk to work







          • a two-month old baby

          • an eleven degree fall in temperature







          • a six-foot tall man

          • a five pence stamp







          • a twelve week term

          • four four-hour lessons


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 blue-collar workers?’




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










English for Managers I




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