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I am trying to understand the rules for writing numbers in words under the UK rules (with "and"). I understand how to write small numbers (up to a few thousands), but I am not sure when to use "and" when the number is bigger. I tried Wikipedia, but the rules are not clear. Here are a few numbers I'm reasonably sure of:

  • 102: one hundred and two
  • 120: one hundred and twenty
  • 1002: one thousand and two
  • 1203: one thousand two hundred and three

(though I'm not sure whether I should add a comma after "thousand" in this last one).

Here are some bigger numbers. Is it okay to have multiple "and"s like this? Should some "and"s be commas instead, or just be omitted altogether?

  • 102003: one hundred and two thousand and three
  • 102304: one hundred and two thousand three hundred and four

Here are some numbers bigger than one million (I use a space to separate digits for easier reading):

  • 1 000 002: one million and two
  • 1 000 020: one million and twenty
  • 1 000 200: one million two hundred
  • 1 002 000: one million two thousand
  • 1 002 003: one million two thousand and three
  • 1 023 045: one million twenty-three thousand and forty-five
  • 1 203 450: one million two hundred and three thousand four hundred and fifty

And some bigger ones still:

  • 100 000 300 : one hundred million three hundred
  • 102 000 003 : one hundred and two million and three
  • 102 304 567 : one hundred and two million three hundred and four thousand five hundred and sixty-seven
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What are you trying to say?!! Don't replace the existing "and" with a comma in any example, at least not in formal writing. However, it is becoming increasingly common to separate "X hundred", "Y thousand", "Z million" and so on.. using commas. I prefer to remain a bit conservative in this respect, so no commas anywhere. Otherwise, there is no such strict rule, but proper use of "and" is necessary as already used. –  Fr0zenFyr Jun 20 '12 at 2:47
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Using commas also causes ambiguity. Is "one thousand, one hundred" one number or 2? –  mgb Jun 20 '12 at 3:16
    
In the UK (and possibly other British speaking countries) it is very common to write 1200 as twelve hundred, 2500 as twenty five hundred etc. –  Nieszka Jun 20 '12 at 6:10

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

A common rule is to write out numbers from one to nine (sometimes 10), and use numerals after that. This is also matter of style, and for example the Guardian style guide says:

Spell out from one to nine; numerals from 10 to 999,999; thereafter use m or bn for sums of money, quantities or inanimate objects in copy, eg £10m, 5bn tonnes of coal, 30m doses of vaccine; but million or billion for people or animals, eg 1 million people, 25 million rabbits, the world population is 7 billion, etc; spell trillion in full at first mention, then tn; in headlines use m, bn or tn

You should also use commas to separate the numerals into groups of three. So 1,002 rather than 1002.

But assuming you want to write any number in full, use as many ands as makes it clear, and use commas to list the separate groups of number.

  • 102: one hundred and two
  • 120: one hundred and twenty
  • 1,002: one thousand and two
  • 1,203: one thousand, two hundred and three
  • 102,003: one hundred and two thousand and three
  • 102,304: one hundred and two thousand, three hundred and four
  • 1,000,002: one million and two
  • 1,000,020: one million and twenty
  • 1,000,200: one million, two hundred
  • 1,002,000: one million, two thousand
  • 1,002,003: one million, two thousand and three
  • 1,023,045: one million, twenty-three thousand and forty-five
  • 1,203,450: one million, two hundred and three thousand, four hundred and fifty
  • 100,000,300 : one hundred million, three hundred
  • 102,000,003 : one hundred and two million and three
  • 102,304,567 : one hundred and two million, three hundred and four thousand, five hundred and sixty-seven

Although it is also common to say a instead of an initial one.

  • 102: a hundred and two

And sometimes just hundreds are used instead of numbers:

  • 2,502: twenty-five hundred and two

Years are different and have their own rules.

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Thank you for your answer. –  user372737 Jun 23 '12 at 2:39

As a matter of usage, one should write any numeric value that is less than or equal to nine as a number. A numeric format is used for values that are greater than or equal* to 10.

One uniform exception to this is when writing a check. In that case, one does write the amount in words. This is equally true for American English and British English. The first line of a check is "Pay to the order of" or "Make payable to", followed by a person or organization name. The next line is "In the amount of" and should have the value written out in full, excluding any fractional amount. So for an amount less than 1000, call it XYZ Pounds Sterling
X hundred and Y-ty Z if Y = {2...9}
or
X hundred and YZ-teen if Y = 1
or
X hundred and Z if Y = 0 where each digit X, Y and Z are written as words.

For integer values greater than or equal to 1000, separation with "and" is appropriate. I have not seen commas used. So 99,999 (or 99999) would be
Ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine

Note that this is applicable for writing numbers, which was the inquiry in the question. For speaking purposes, I am not certain.

*Decimal, fractional and other non-integer values deserve a question of their own.

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The currency is called Pounds Sterling. In the UK, it's normal to drop the and in 999, by pronouncing it as "nine hundred ninety nine". That would normally be pronounced as nine hundred and ninety nine. So 99,999 (or 99999) would be Ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine. –  Tristan Jun 20 '12 at 17:23
    
@Tristan Thank you for clarifying! I will edit accordingly. –  Feral Oink Jun 23 '12 at 20:05
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Sorry FO, but I made a mistake in my comment. For some reason, the word and, was left out. I meant to write that, in the UK, it's NOT normal to drop the and in 999, by pronouncing it as "nine hundred ninety nine". That would normally be pronounced as nine hundred and ninety nine. –  Tristan Jun 25 '12 at 12:03

Only use AND to denote change or fractions of currency. Otherwise one hundred and twenty five is 100.25 not 125.00

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