Rliberni's Blog – Radical language

May 5, 2009

10 things to remember when expressing numbers in English.

Filed under: Improving English language skills — rliberni @ 5:39 pm

 Although numbers often seem the same from language to language, expressing them can be quite different (how to say 80 and 90 in French, or the 7.30p.m. in German being ‘half before’ the hour rather than ‘half after’ as in English, for example).

Here are some number conventions in English which will help you to express the concepts correctly.



1.      We always put ‘and’ before the final number, so 5,614 (five thousand, six hundred and fourteen) 33,754 (33 thousand, 7 hundred and 54)

2.      hundred, thousand, million and billion remain singular ( 6 hundred, 2 million, 5 billion etc.. not  3 millions or 8 thousands)

3.      0 is usually ‘nought’ in British English (American English uses zero) so, 0.76 would be “nought, point seven, six

4.      Decimals are ‘point’ not ‘comma’, 3.54 is three, point, five, four

5.      After the decimal point we say the numbers individually: 2.99 is two, point nine, nine (not ninety nine)

6.      zero is expressed as no, none, not any (They had no children, there weren’t any tickets available)

7.      ¾ is three quarters, 2/3– two thirds, 6/8, six eighths etc…

8.      ratios use ‘to’ 2:4 is two to four

9.      number ranges are expressed using between … and or from ….to (there are between 10 and 20 students in every class,  student ages range from 20 to 35)

10.  the symbol + (plus) can be used to mean ‘more’ (he’s lived there for 12+ years)

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