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

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11
votes
2answers
7k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
248 views

Does primary, secondary, tertiary, […] continue forever?

What follows next in the sequence "unary, binary, ternary..."? gives a lengthy list up to 12 for the sequence "primary, secondary, tertiary, [...]". Does this naming continue forever? If so, ...
3
votes
1answer
61 views

Why the oddity of speculative/non-specified large numbers

When there is a large number to describe, without knowing the specific number, we can report "millions," or "thousands," or "hundreds." Why do we then break that base-ten (seeming) pattern with ...
-1
votes
3answers
55 views

Comparing two numbers

I am wondering how can I express that A is greater than B for some number. For example, can I say "5 is greater than 3 for 2", or should I say "5 is 2 greater than 3"? Thank you so much!
1
vote
1answer
59 views

Use of the word “chance” to mean a number

In the Song I'm a Good Ol' Rebel the lyrics include the verse But I killed a chance of Yankees I'm unable to find a definition of chance that fits this usage. I presume it means a number but ...
36
votes
8answers
5k views

“1 in 10 are” or “1 in 10 is”?

Take the examples: "One in ten children are dyslexic." "One in ten children is dyslexic." "One in ten children has dyslexia." "One in ten children have dyslexia." The "one" is singular so 2 and 3 ...
3
votes
4answers
657 views

“One in a million” or “A million to one”?

Last week I took part in an English course, and the teacher was constantly saying a million to one (when he meant "an extremely small possibility"). Is this correct? Is it the same as one in a ...
0
votes
4answers
358 views

How to say fractions like “7/8” or “546/823”

I have come across the following three spoken variants for the fraction ⅞: Seven by eight Seven over eight Seven into eight I am also aware of seven-eighths but I don't want to use that as it ...
0
votes
1answer
493 views

how do I write “about four or five hundred US Dollars”

I proofread/edit transcribed witness evidence, and often witnesses will say something like "around four or five thousand dollars". If the evidence is all about figures, I would sometimes write this ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

English words for specific positive integers (e.g. dozen, score, gross, myriad) [closed]

Dozen = 12 Score = 20 Gross = 144 Myriad = 10,000 Googol = 10¹⁰⁰ Googolplex = 10Googol Indian English: Lakh = 100,000 and Crore = 10,000,000. Ignoring all the numbers already listed on ...
3
votes
1answer
666 views

Why do we use Roman numerals for some page numbers but Arabic ones for others?

Why is it that certain pages in English-language books are numbered using Roman numerals, but other pages are numbered using (so-called) Arabic ones? Has it always been this way? Or was the split ...
3
votes
3answers
6k 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?
2
votes
3answers
62 views

How to resolve the ambiguity of “two day classes”

Two day classes will take place this week. Here, "day classes" is a compound. I don't want it to sound like it's just one class that goes on for two days.
1
vote
1answer
159 views

What is the correct way to express yearly quarters? Is using roman numerals correct?

While looking over a company's annual report, I realized that every business quarter was denoted using roman numerals. E.g. QI,2014 QII, 2014 etc. I am sure I am being petty and pedantic, ...
0
votes
1answer
73 views

Is there a word for 'within ten units of'?

Is there a word that can used like decade, but when talking about units not years? For example, everyone knows that: 2006 is within a decade of 1998 1989 is in the same decade as 1984 However, ...
2
votes
3answers
129 views

“Ten and several minutes”: Any more natural expression?

Heat the mixture for ten and several minutes. What is a more natural way to express this “ten and several” wording, which is literally translated from Japanese? A. for between ten and 20 ...
5
votes
1answer
138 views

When Things Used To be “Worth 'X' Millions”

I was reading Raymond Chandler's Farewell, My Lovely, and a character described a rich man as "Worth 20 millions". At least in AmE, we don't use "millions" in the plural anymore in this ...
20
votes
12answers
5k views

What is the name of the first decade in a century?

80s the "Eighties" 90s the "Nineties" 00s the ??? For that matter, what is the second decade called? The "tens" just doesn't sound right.
0
votes
2answers
53 views

“being wined and dined” — singular?

I want to say, "He loves being wined and dined, and he's not above demanding it." I don't know whether being can be treated as the referent of it, or I must take the whole verb phrase as a plural. I ...
1
vote
1answer
68 views

Should street numbers be written as cardinal or ordinal numbers [closed]

When writing a numerical street, do you use a cardinal number (220 Street) or ordinal number (220th Street)
0
votes
3answers
94 views

proper grammar of multiple numbers ordered sequentially specifying different things

I have a sentence submitted to me from someone else that says One case (8 - one lb. boxes) of... What is the proper grammar to say eight one pound boxes? I'm not sure what the best format is for ...
2
votes
3answers
193 views

Quiz Show Jeopardy: Are the 1910s called “nineteen-tens” or 'nineteen-teens'?

On the quiz show Jeopardy there is a question asking "The first modern crossword is published & Oreo cookies are introduced". The clip of the show can be seen on YouTube. The contestant who ...
3
votes
4answers
4k views

Is there a standard for speaking “1500” as “one thousand five hundred” versus “fifteen hundred”?

I was asked by a French colleague, and had no clear answer, whether it's more correct to say "One thousand five hundred" or "fifteen hundred" when speaking the number 1500. Putting aside how we say ...
5
votes
4answers
10k views

Is an apostrophe with a decade (e.g. 1920’s) generally considered “incorrect”?

I typically don’t use an apostrophe with plurals in any situation, but I always assumed that the use of an apostrophe in constructions like acronyms: Forty BA’s were given out to students this ...
-1
votes
2answers
276 views

1.1 = millions of dollars? [duplicate]

The question arises when, perhaps, taking about 1.1 million dollars. Could one say millions of dollars since it's greater than one. Just like we would say, "one dollar," but we would say, "1.1 ...
0
votes
0answers
69 views

Using hyphens in numbers (British English)

I heard that there is some recent rule which says that you shouldn't hyphenate numbers such as "twenty-two". Is this true?
6
votes
5answers
2k views

“Ten times fewer the number,” versus “one-tenth the number”?

Lately I've been hearing and reading statistics that are communicated in wording that, frankly, confuses me. Forgive me for not citing specific instances, but I can give a hypothetical statistic that ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views
6
votes
3answers
7k views

“Three quarters” vs. “three fourths”

To express a fraction of 3 out of 4, how and when would you use three quarters, and when would you use three fourths? To me, three quarters is what I would have used all the time — but I'm not a ...
2
votes
1answer
59 views

How do you 'say' the numbers in: “section 20.1234” in a government regulation? [closed]

How do you read section 20.1234 in a regulation by a government agency? For example, the law is 38 C.F.R. section 20.1234. How do you read 20.1234? Do you read it as "twenty one two three four" or ...
17
votes
13answers
11k 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 ...
19
votes
3answers
19k 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?
3
votes
1answer
67 views

Which vs. What in regards to Continuous Numbers (like Temperature)?

As this question makes clear, "which" is used when there is a set number of choices available, while "what" is used when there is not a set number of choices available. Which term do we use, however, ...
3
votes
1answer
678 views

“Definite ninety-nine” - UK English meaning

I've been browsing through older lyrics of Judas Priest songs, namely Rocka Rolla, which has the following lines in a verse: Barroom fighter Ten pint a nighter Definite ninety-nine ...
18
votes
12answers
3k views

A word for converting numbers to (number / 1000) + K [duplicate]

Is there a word for the case where a number has been converted to something with a trailing ‘K’ (and possibly ‘M’ for millions, ‘B’ for billions, ...)? Example: 250,000 changes to 250K It will ...
4
votes
2answers
47 views

Approximate values of amount modifiers [duplicate]

This is an area of English that I consistently have trouble with. Consider the following sentences. I have a couple of books on my desk. I have a bunch of books on my desk. I have a number of books ...
5
votes
5answers
948 views

Thrice or triple?

There is a fairly well known recipe for Triple Cooked Chips. It involves cooking chips three different ways / times. Is triple cooked correct or should it be called Thrice Cooked Chips as they have ...
5
votes
4answers
886 views

Specific numbers as pronouns

As "none" and "some" are pronouns, so can specific numbers function as pronouns: How many students failed? In "none failed," none is a pronoun. In "seven failed," seven is a pronoun. But in what ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

What do you call each individual component of a number: a “digit”, a “figure”, or “place”?

What are the individual 0, 1, 2, "letters" etc. in numbers called? I know the word "digits", I've seen "n-figure salary", and Google translation (from German "Stellen"), when used in a sentence, ...
23
votes
3answers
3k views

What do we call the “rd” in “3ʳᵈ” and the “th” in “9ᵗʰ”?

Our numbers have a specific two-letter onomatopoeia combination that tells us how the number sounds. For example 9th 3rd 301st What do we call these special sounds? --EDIT-- As mentioned in the ...
0
votes
1answer
144 views

can I say 'a 300-thousand city'

I am looking for a noun meaning 'having 300 thousand inhabitants' so that I could say for example 'a 300-thousand city' instead of 'a city in which 300 thousand people live' or 'a city inhabited by ...
0
votes
0answers
36 views

Oneteen, Twoteen, Threeteen, Fiveteen [duplicate]

I was wondering why we say eleven, twelve, thirteen and fifteen instead of oneteen, twoteen, threeteen and fiveteen? And where does "teen" come from? I would assume it derives from ten making me ...
4
votes
2answers
490 views

Page range abbreviation “pp.164–71” — a typo or a common shorthand? [closed]

I have to translate the following sentence into French: Scrapers and abrasives are used to prepare the surface of a workpiece before a finish (pp.164–71) is applied. I believe there is a mistake ...
8
votes
2answers
5k views

Using “the” before ordinal numbers

When learning English I was told that ordinal numbers should always be used with "the" before them. But I often see that this is not always so strict, for example I heard the phrase "April first" ...
1
vote
3answers
83 views

Late/early for numbers other than age/year

When referring to age or to periods in time, it is quite common to use expressions such as He is in his late twenties or The best music was produced in the early eighties I have recently ...
14
votes
7answers
3k views

Is it proper grammar to refer to four digit number in hundreds?

Sometimes you will hear people refer to four digit numbers in terms of hundreds. For example, sometimes people will say fifteen hundred when talking about the number 1500. Is this proper? What are ...
1
vote
1answer
812 views

When is it proper to abbreviate first to 1st?

When is it proper to use 1st instead of first? For example, is the correct sentence acceptable? Can you give more detail about why you 1st got involved? I tried finding some authoritative ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Indefinite article in the “An [adjective] [number] [plural noun]” construction

I wasn't sure how best to phrase the title of this question. I'm interested in constructions of the following form: An estimated 50 people died in the bombing. 'An estimated' could be ...
15
votes
2answers
29k views

“X times as many as” or “X times more than”

Suppose John has 5 sweets. Is there any difference between the following two sentences? Jack has 3 times as many sweets as John. Jack has 3 times more sweets than John. I prefer the first ...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

Usage of “second/third/fourth … last”

In German there is a pattern for counting items from the end of a list. The last item is "das letzte", the one before is "das vorletzte", the one before that is "das vorvorletzte" and for each other ...