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Expressing Numbers in English

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Restaurant employee tallying receipts
Geri Lavrov/ Photographer's Choice RF/ Getty Images

When expressing large numbers (more than one hundred) read in groups of hundreds. The order is as follows: billion, million, thousand, hundred. Notice that hundred, thousand, etc. is NOT followed by an ‘s’.

Two hundred NOT two hundreds

NOTE: British English takes 'and' between 'hundred and ...' American English omits 'and'. In the examples below, this is represented: (AND)

Hundreds

350 – three hundred (AND) fifty 425 – four hundred (AND) twenty five

Thousands

15,560 – fifteen thousand five hundred (AND) sixty 786,450 – seven hundred (AND) six thousand four hundred (AND) fifty

Millions

2,450,000 – two million four hundred (AND) fifty thousands 234,700,000 – two hundred (AND) thirty-four million seven hundred thousand

Speaking About Numbers

Numbers are read in the following manner in English:

million, thousand, hundred

Example:

2,350,400 => two million three hundred (AND) fifty thousand four hundred

NOTE - Remember: Use ‘and’ only between hundreds in British English. American English leaves the ‘and’ out.

Decimals

Read decimals as the given number point XYZ

2.36=>two point three six

Percentages

Read percentages as the number followed by ‘percent’

37%=>thirty seven percent

Fractions

Read the top number as a cardinal number, followed by the ordinal number + ‘s’

3/8=>three eighths

NOTE: ¼ =>one quarter, 2/3 => two thirds, ½ one half

Expressions

Here are the descriptive names of a number of important numerical expressions:

Speed 100 mph (miles per hour)
Weight 80 kg (kilograms) OR 42 lbs (pounds)
telephone number 0171 895 7056
decimal .087
date 12/04/65
percentage 75%
temperature 28° C (celsius) OR 72° F (fahrenheit)
height 1 m 89 cm
price $60
fraction 8/13
score 2-1

Would you like to practice your understanding of numbers? Here are some listening exercises:

Basic Number Pronunciation
Beginning Level Numbers Quiz
Understanding Numbers 1 (beginner)
Understanding Numbers 2 (beginner)
Understanding Numbers 3 (intermediate)
Understanding Numbers 4 (intermediate)

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