Numbers are generally used for specifying amounts and in mathematics: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. You have undoubtedly encountered them in many forms. Let’s first review cardinal numbers:
|10||ten||101||one hundred one|
|11||eleven||102||one hundred two|
|19||nineteen||100,000||one hundred thousand|
|20||twenty||111,111||one hundred eleven thousand one hundred eleven|
Careful! English names for certain large numbers differ from those in other languages:
When numbers are used in equations, there are specific mathematical terms to be used. In addition, numbers are combined by either the word plus or the word and: five plus three, ten and nine.
- In subtraction, the equation requires using the word minus (–): ten minus four.
- In multiplication, the equation requires using the word times (×): six times three.
- In division, the equation requires the phrase divided by (÷ or /): twenty divided by five.
- If an equation has an equal sign (=) in it, it is stated as equals or is: two plus two equals four, six minus three is three.
- If a number is a decimal, the decimal is expressed by the word point: 6.5 is said as “six point five”; 10.7 is said as “ten point seven.”
The ordinal numbers are those that show a rank in a group or series. Most ordinals are formed by adding -th to the end of the number: tenth, twentieth, sixty-seventh, hundredth, and so on. But five ordinal numbers have special spellings which should be memorized:
- 1 = first
- 2 = second
- 3 = third
- 5 = fifth
- 12 = twelfth
Some example sentences with ordinal numbers:
- We have three daughters, but Denise was our first.
- The second seating for dinner is at 8:30 P.M.
- She was born on the twenty-fifth of June.
Dates are expressed in two ways: May fifth or the fifth of May. When giving a date as a number, it is most common to give the month before the day: 9/11 = September eleventh, 6/12 = June twelfth. In many other languages, the day precedes the month. This can cause confusion, because to some people 6/12 means “the sixth of December.” To English speakers it most commonly means “June twelfth.” To avoid such confusion, it is wise to give dates in this form: June 12, 2005.
Ordinals are also used to express fractions other than ½:
- ½ = one-half (not an ordinal)
- ¼ = one-fourth (Note: One-fourth is sometimes expressed as “one-quarter” or “a quarter.”)
- ⅓ = one-third
- 3/10 = three-tenths
- 14/25 = fourteen twenty-fifths (Notice the plural formation of the ordinal when the accompanying number is greater than one.)
Years that precede 2000 are expressed in two parts: 1850 is said as “eighteen fifty,”
1066 is said as “ten sixty-six.” The years that follow 1999 are said another way:
|2001||two thousand one, or twenty oh one|
|2002||two thousand two, or twenty oh two|
|2010||two thousand ten, or twenty ten|
|2022||two thousand twenty-two, or twenty twenty-two|
When saying on what date an event occurred, the word on is optional:
- The boy was born on May first.
- The boy was born May first.