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Let's say there is some number like 12345. In Konglish (Korean English), I can label 3 as the hundred's position number and 5 as the one's position number. I don't think this is correct English. How can I label each number according to its position correctly?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

You would say place instead of position, and you would drop the number entirely:

3 is in the hundreds' place

5 is in the ones' place

You could go on in the same way with all the other places: '1' is in the ten thousands' place, or in the number 7.86, 8 is in the tenths' place.

Another alternative is use the word "digit":

3 is the hundreds' digit.

5 is the ones' digit.

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2  
And the same with decimals: In 3.14159, the 4 is in the hundredths place. –  GEdgar Jul 26 '11 at 14:29
    
@GEdgar: I think if you talked about the "hundredths place" to most British people they'd either assume you meant "the hundreds place" or look at you blankly. My reading suggests that Americans are more likely than we are to talk about tenths and hundredths. –  Colin Fine Jul 26 '11 at 14:35
2  
@Colin - no, it seems in perfectly ordinary usage here, among English and Scottish folk. Most common usage is in hundredths of a second. –  Rory Alsop Jul 26 '11 at 15:39
    
@Rory: I wasn't clear. Yes, we talk about "hundredths" as independent fractions, but I don't think "the hundredths place" would be nearly as familiar. And the habit I've seen in my reading which seems strange to me is reading "3.14" as "three and fourteen hundredths": I've never heard that here, but I have read it in American novels - though it might just be a particular author that writes like that. –  Colin Fine Jul 27 '11 at 10:09
    
@Colin: That's how I always heard it said, and how I say it myself. –  Daniel Jul 27 '11 at 17:10

The term for this is "ordinality". The ordinal number of 2 in 12345 is "second" because the sequence is read from left to right.

http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Ordinality

The terms ones digit, tens digi, hundreds digit, thousands digit, etc... are also correct (probably more so for what you want), though the meaning is different.

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One more alternative would be to say

The thousands digit is 2

The tens digit is 4

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When I learned math in elementary school, we used to talk about the numbers in the way you have described: ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, etc.

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