# 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.

## 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:

 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 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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