Questions relating to the use of numbers or numerals in speaking or writing English.

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35
votes
8answers
37k views

Plurals of acronyms, letters, numbers — use an apostrophe or not?

When I was in high school back in the 1970s, I was taught that to make a plural of an acronym, a letter, or a number, one should add an apostrophe and "s". Like I would have written this sentence, ...
2
votes
1answer
45 views

Can you place a cardinal number after a noun?

Is it possible to express a number of something by placing the cardinal after the noun? I know the concept of postpositives, like snow galore etc. but does this apply to cardinals? E.g. you can say ...
4
votes
5answers
16k views

Why is “a 100% increase” the same amount as “a two-fold increase”?

and is such interpretation the norm? When something went from 4 units to 8 units, most authoritative sources seem to agree with the use of "a two-fold increase", even though what was actually ...
5
votes
2answers
163 views

What is is called when you count the letters in an acronym, name or word with an ordinal multiplier?

In English, we frequently look at an acronym and name multiple repeated letters using an ordinal multiplier. For example: Automobile Association of America - AAA is read as Triple-A. Abdominal ...
-1
votes
6answers
147 views

How to pronounce number, say 1024, in programming world? [closed]

This is a 1024-byte length string. How to pronounce the sentence above? This is a one-thousand-and-twenty-four byte length string. or This is a one-oh-two-four byte length string.
9
votes
2answers
5k views

Why is “one” pronounced as “wan”, not “oh-ne”?

Why is one pronounced as "wan", not "oh-ne"? Why are the spelling and pronunciation of one so strange? In French, one is written as un, and pronounced as "oe" (with nasal sound). The sound is similar ...
0
votes
3answers
96 views

Formatting numbers in a book about mathematics

Would anyone be kind enough to point me to a reliable source (preferably on line) where I can find definitive answers to how to format numbers consistently within a book about maths aimed at popular ...
1
vote
3answers
115 views

Need help simplyfying sentences containing economic information

I am not very knowledgeable about economics and am trying to reword these two sentences: In 1964 the CDC 6600 cost around $7 million USD, though some sources site prices of up to $10 million. ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Is it improper English to read the number 1100 as “eleven hundred”?

For numbers between 1000 and 9999 is it proper English for the word "hundred" to be used? For example is it necessarily wrong to say "eleven hundred" when referring to 1100?
0
votes
3answers
235 views

“More than one” is to “plural” as “less than one” is to what?

We call the quantity of more than one (singular) plural. Is there any general word similar to this for a quantity less than one (singular)?
1
vote
5answers
313 views

A phrase for “several” multiples of ten

Like how $x000 can be referred to as "several thousand dollars", and $x00 can be referred to as "several hundred dollars", and $x "several dollars", what about $x0? I've looked at this similar ...
14
votes
2answers
415 views

Why has the word “thrice” fallen out of common usage?

I'm an American living in America, but my workplace has a lot of immigrants from India here. They all use "thrice" very commonly, which is wonderful to my ears! Thrice is such a delightful word. ...
0
votes
2answers
56 views

Number usage in a series [closed]

Is it right to say that the percentage decreases by 10% each time, like in this example: Around 30% of politicians throughout the world are women. A significant 30% is represented in Scandinavian ...
36
votes
3answers
11k views

What is the plural form of “zero”?

I tried looking on Google, but there are some fairly contradictory results. I thought I'd ask you guys so we could get an authoritative answer on the subject!
18
votes
6answers
5k views

“Firstly” or “first”?

Which is more correct? How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. First, thy eyes gaze deep into my soul. Second,... or There are four reasons why all should hail the Hypno-Toad. Firstly, ...
6
votes
3answers
5k views

Usage of “and” and comma when writing numbers UK style

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" ...
2
votes
1answer
165 views

What is the word for the set of words “million”, “billion”, “trillion”?

I am writing a program and I like to name things well. I have to say if a value is in the thousands, millions, billions, or trillions. My question is what do we call the set of number names that are ...
1
vote
1answer
91 views

Is it proper to say “I earned -1 points today” when I lost 1 point?

Suppose I play a game where I can lose points as well as gain them. Usually I'll say: I earned 10 points today, hooray! But what if I lost points and still want to use "optimistic" verb? I ...
3
votes
4answers
790 views

Is there a prefix for “infinite”?

I was looking for a prefix I could prepend to a word to mean an infinite amount of the thing the word describes. I eventually found someone with the same question, and since there were no answers, I ...
12
votes
3answers
10k views

“Amount” vs. “number” vs. “quantity”

For what values of x does one write the number of x, the amount of x, or the quantity of x?
4
votes
3answers
481 views

“Amount of boxes” vs “number of boxes” in non discrete graph

I have a graph where I show number of boxes that a machine can service per minute. The data may not always give a whole number (for example, a machine may be able to service 2.3 boxes / per minute). ...
4
votes
4answers
476 views

Is there a verb that fits in the pattern: quarter, third, halve (divide), [???], double, triple, quadruple. . .?

If these were nouns, I would assume "single" fits in between: 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, 1, 2, 3, 4 . . . quarter, third, half, single or one, double, triple, quadruple . . . Note that each word has a ...
3
votes
2answers
110 views

“Second” et “Deuxième”

Hello and happy new year ! Sorry for my english, I'm french and not very fluent in english. I tried to do my best and progress. I'm currently searching the english for "deuxième". In french, they ...
2
votes
3answers
195 views

Word meaning “to convert into a numerical form”?

Let's say that one possesses some data or information that one wishes to map to some kind of numerical representation. I can't seem to come up with a word or phrase that describes it well. As an ...
6
votes
2answers
197 views

After 13 years in the 21st century, what conclusion have we come to regarding the short forms of the names of the years?

Do you remember the other Year 2000 problem, regarding the nicknames of the years? If 1999 was "ninety-nine," then what would we call 2001? At the time, answers such as "one", "oh-one", "two-oh-one" ...
10
votes
2answers
364 views

Is “-th” still a productive suffix in English?

The main question here is whether using -(e)th to create ordinals out of cardinals1 is still considered a productive suffix in English. Is it? If so, then does it matter whether we are in a formal ...
1
vote
2answers
137 views

Term for writing a number as “five” vs “5”?

What I mean is, if I said "Write the number _ ", then you would write "5", "27", etc. Whereas if I said instead "Write the number _ ", then you would write "five", "twenty-seven", etc. I'm not just ...
1
vote
2answers
132 views

Starting a quote with a number

I know you cannot start a sentence with a number written digitally (how do I say this?). For example I could not write: 2013 is almost over! Can a quotation begin with a number, though? For ...
0
votes
1answer
390 views

Differences between Amount, Count, Number and Quantity [duplicate]

My programming peers suggest to use the term count with discrete things: count of words, count of sentences and so on. Then again my instructor suggest me to use the term "number" for the discrete ...
0
votes
3answers
99 views

Meaning of “I have three books and CDs”

I have three books and CDs. Does this mean I have three books and three CDs? Or are there three items in total? Are both possible? I am asking for a native speaker's opinion.
60
votes
5answers
3k views

When does thousand turn into thousands?

My boyfriend and I are arguing whether thousands of miles means 1000+ or 2000+ miles. The first argument is that 1000+ is over 1000 and therefore 'thousands of miles' by rounding up. The other ...
0
votes
0answers
16 views

Ordinal form of zero (“0”) [duplicate]

The ordinal form of zero doesn’t always make sense, but is used in math and computing. But how do we say and write it? Is it said zeroth, zeroith, or something else? In writing, is it 0th?
3
votes
3answers
756 views

Is it a good idea to begin a sentence with a number or a variable name?

Is it acceptable to have the following sentences in formal writing? 2.5 years have already been completed. or n shows the number of something.
5
votes
2answers
349 views

Why “Many and many A year ago”, not “Many, many years ago? Are they same?

I was amused with the introductory part of the New York Times’ article(September 13) by Dick Cavett called “As comics say, ‘These kids today! I tell ya!’” that begins: “Many and many a year ago, ...
103
votes
13answers
4k views

Why do English writers avoid explicit numerals?

The junction has a stop sign on each of the four entrances. The junction has a stop sign on each of the 4 entrances. The first is preferred, for some reason, by many English texts. Why? I ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

“Thousands of thousands” vs. “Thousands upon thousands”

Is "thousands of thousands" grammatically correct? Why does it seem that "thousands upon thousands" sounds better, even though the former is closer to the logical truth? Is there any difference at ...
2
votes
1answer
334 views

Capitalising when starting sentence with digits

This might be more a typography related question than actual language question, but I didn’t know where else to turn. First of, I am perfectly aware that it’s generally considered bad form—regardless ...
-2
votes
1answer
113 views

Onety-one or Elebenty-Leben [duplicate]

Why is 11 (eleven) not pronounced onety-one or elebenty-leben, and why is it considered the ghetto way of saying eleven?
2
votes
3answers
103 views

Does ‘the mighty’ take a verb in plural form as in “the mighty are rendered helpless”?

There was the following sentence in the article of Time magazine’s November 25 issue under the title, “John F. Kennedy's Assassination and the Conspiracy Industry.” “This whiplash convergence of ...
16
votes
12answers
7k views

How do you correctly say large numbers

I saw a post on The daily What which links to a video where a person counts from 1 to 100,000. Is he saying a large portion of the numbers wrong? Back in high school my algebra teacher was extremely ...
7
votes
1answer
119 views

German way of saying numbers found in Dickens [duplicate]

Reading "Great Expectations", I noticed that numbers (I don't remember if this refers to all numbers, but I'm sure it was used when age was concerned) were given in the German way, namely, for ...
1
vote
3answers
375 views

The reasons are two. Correct?

I stumbled upon this phrase in this video's description. A few words about this masterpiece: Brahms began composing this piece in 1854 and finished it in 1876. The reasons for delaying ...
4
votes
1answer
108 views

Toll Booths 1,2 and 5

Suppose I have a collection of numbered items, say toll booths that are numbered from 1 to 10. Consider three sentences: Toll booth 4 is closed today. Toll booth 1, toll booth 2, and toll ...
1
vote
2answers
175 views

How to punctuate a range of hyphenated numbers? [duplicate]

What is the best way to punctuate a range of hyphenated numbers, e.g., sections 12-3 through 12-7? EDIT: Just to reply to those who marked this as a duplicate, I really fail to see how the post that ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

19th century English texts occasionally use Germanic-style number words, such as “four-and-twenty”. When did this fall out of use?

19th century English texts occasionally use Germanic-style number words, such as "four-and-twenty", but the same text would also have the modern "twenty-four" in places (see e.g. Conan-Doyle for ...
0
votes
3answers
825 views

Writing numbers that are less than two digits in length [duplicate]

I was told that numbers under two digits should be written out alphabetically (e.g. one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine), and that anything two digits or over should be written out ...
5
votes
2answers
142 views

How to say: “this number has not been rounded”?

Let's say I count some items and the result is exactly 1000. How do I convey the fact that the actual count was 1000, and that I didn't round the number? It should fit into a sentence like "Overall, ...
6
votes
4answers
9k views

How to use “tens of” and “hundreds of”?

If I'm not mistaken, tens of means 10 to 99 and hundreds of means 100 to 999. Is this correct? I found in some dictionaries that tens of is actually not correct. I also found that hundreds of could ...
41
votes
3answers
11k views

Why do eleven and twelve get unique words and not end in “-teen”?

In short, why is it not oneteen and twoteen, and we start at thirteen in English? In another thread, I supposed that despite that fact that people have ten fingers, amounts of items leading up to and ...
7
votes
4answers
5k views

“Lower number” vs. “smaller number”

Is −9 a smaller number than −8? And is −9 a lower number than −8? What is the difference between lower and smaller here?