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

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13
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4answers
32k views

What is the origin of the counting prefixes: uni-, bi-/di-, tri-, quad-, etc.?

Many English words use the prefixes uni-, bi-/di-, tri-, quad- and so on to mean one, two, three, and four. For example: A unicycle has one wheel, a bicycle two, and a tricycle three. I presume ...
9
votes
5answers
7k views

How do I pronounce “ratio 1:1”?

How do I pronounce "ratio 1:1"? Should I pronounce it "ratio 1 to 1"?
7
votes
4answers
11k 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
2answers
5k 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 ...
-3
votes
2answers
2k views

Do we say and write 21 / 31 / 41 item or itemS?

I've been wondering, since these example numbers end with 1, isn't it natural to use the following noun in its singular form? From what I've been seeing around on the web this does not seem to be the ...
5
votes
2answers
5k views

“20th century” vs. “20ᵗʰ century” [closed]

When writing twentieth century using an ordinal numeral, should the th part be in superscript? 20th century 20th century
0
votes
0answers
70 views

How would you phrase questions that require an “interrogative ordinal” which is absent in English? [duplicate]

Duplicate of: How should I phrase a question that must be answered with an ordinal number (e.g., the third prime)? How to phrase an asking sentence that must be answered with an ordinal number? ...
8
votes
3answers
7k views

How to pronounce “twenty” correctly?

Well, I usually say "twenny" instead of "twenty" (not "twendy" even). I recently noticed that I never heard the same from any native english speakers during any talks I ever had with them. Recently I ...
6
votes
3answers
12k views

Smaller vs. less vs. lesser

I am confused as to some of the vocabulary that can be used to compare numbers and quantities, and would very much appreciate some clarification. I suppose it is safe to say that 1 is smaller than ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

1st hour, 2nd hour, 3rd hour… But how to say “zero”-th hour?

E.g. in School we have 5-7 or 8 hours every day (Math, History, Biology, Chemistry, English etc.). The first hour starts at 8:00 A.M. But every Thursday we have an hour that stars at 7:10 A.M. In ...
6
votes
3answers
7k views

Can “another” be used with plural nouns provided periods or measurements don’t count?

Merriam-Webster says about another the following: being one more in addition to one or more of the same kind —http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/another However, I come across such ...
4
votes
1answer
67 views

Pluralizing Numbered Items

In US legal practice, we often refer to numbered items: Interrogatory No. 1, Request for Admission No. 3, U.S. Patent No. 5,555,555. What part of the item should be pluralized? That is, should one ...
4
votes
3answers
995 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.
4
votes
3answers
279 views

Numbers and units

I'm looking for a single word to describe the combination of a number and unit. For example, “6 watts” or “2.5 kilometers”. Measurement is the closest I’ve come, but sounds cumbersome. Does anyone ...
3
votes
2answers
476 views

Verb agreement with nouns modified by numbers [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it “5-6 weeks are a lot of time” or “5-6 weeks is a lot of time”? I am writing about a baseball player who has 33 at-bats in his career. ...
3
votes
4answers
7k views

'2-3' or 'two to three' proper use

In the following sentence is the use of '2-3' appropriate for a PowerPoint presentation or should it be 'two to three'? Research shows that a deaf child tends to produce signs 2-3 months earlier ...
1
vote
4answers
14k views

How to write dollar amounts in a narrative

What's the best way to write dollar amounts in a narrative (such as a novel), particularly if the amounts are large and/or fractional? I would use this: "The national debt just hit 14.6 trillion ...
0
votes
3answers
2k views

many hours is? or are?

Time, distance, weight are treated as singular, like "3 hours is too long." Then, in this instance, "How many hours of sleep is/are needed to keep fit?" Is "is" correct?
0
votes
3answers
2k views

When do the “-uple”s end? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How to form single, double, triple… and uni-, bi-, tri-… words? There's single, double, triple, quadruple... — what's next? Is there an end to the ...
-1
votes
2answers
667 views

When are Roman Numeral suffixes appropriate for number abbreviations?

This question was asked and closed last year as general reference. However, it did not attract the caliber of answer I expected it to. I suggested the following content as an edit, but it was rejected ...
33
votes
4answers
5k views

I've said it once, I've said it twice, I've said it a thousand times: English doesn't make sense

I had a student moaning at me because I insisted he say twice and not "two times". And he asked "But why?" to which I replied, "Because that's how you say it!" However on reflection, his question was ...
49
votes
3answers
36k 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!
9
votes
2answers
7k 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" ...
13
votes
2answers
15k views

Why is 1 hand-written without a serif and 7 without a dash? [closed]

I've noticed that people coming from English-speaking countries tend to write "1" without the upstroke and "7" without a dash: which differs from the way the numbers are usually written in ...
3
votes
5answers
1k views

What is the term for groups of numerals within a large number?

I am writing software in which I would like to be able to return the groups of numerals within a large number. For example, given a number 123,456,789, my software would return 123 then 456 then 789. ...
15
votes
5answers
8k views

Why does the gorilla weigh exactly 800 pounds? [closed]

It is common in American English to refer to a powerful person or organization as an 800 pound gorilla. The expression makes sense -- a gorilla of that size would certainly be intimidating -- but ...
15
votes
6answers
14k views

Why are numbers sometimes spelled out and then numerals specified as well? [closed]

I'm referring to the peculiar habit I sometimes see in formal documents, where a number is given numerically after it's spelled out. It seems quite redundant: I need five (5) kumquats, stat! ...
14
votes
7answers
4k 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 ...
11
votes
5answers
2k views

Is there a word for numbers between 10 and 99?

I'd like to find such a word instead of saying "greater than 10 but less than 100".
9
votes
8answers
6k views

Is “Four times more” grammatically correct? And, if so, what precisely does it mean?

I have 10 beans. Jim has four times more. Is this a valid sentence? And, if so, does it mean Jim has 40 or 50 beans?
8
votes
5answers
15k 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 ...
7
votes
8answers
55k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
69k views

31th or 31st is correct? [closed]

I just realized that I’ve never needed to use 31th or 31st in my four years English study. So which one is correct, and what about other alternatives? 31th or 31st 101th or 101st 1001th or ...
6
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
793 views

How do I write consecutive numbers?

Today I wrote the sentence: The supplied definition defines 24 16-bit words per subframe, and ... I know the recipient will understand the terminology. I'm concerned about writing the phrase ...
4
votes
4answers
1k views

The problem is threefold?

The problems are threefold. The problem is threefold. Which is the right way to use the -fold suffix? Note - This question was previously asked by a user whose account has been suspended, ...
4
votes
2answers
362 views

Spelling of small numbers? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why do English writers avoid explicit numerals? In German, numbers below (and including) twelve are spelt out (eins, zwei, ...) while the numbers above twelve are ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

What word can I say if I want to give approximate number?

What to say if I want to tell approximate number of something. What should I say? E.g. I have (around/ about/ some) 5 books. Is there a rule for number approximation?
2
votes
1answer
516 views

Is it acceptable to use digit and word form of numbers in the same sentence/paragraph?

To illustrate, this reads a bit awkward: In a country with 75 billion SMBs, at least seven billion of them should advertise. What's the acceptable practice in such sentences ?
0
votes
2answers
1k views

“sufferings” is plural though it is uncountable,but how?

We know that there is no plural form of the "uncountable noun," but, for example, we write: His sufferings force us to retain pity for him. Is it possible to make an uncountable noun plural? If ...
-1
votes
1answer
217 views

How paragraph numbers are read

I'd be glad if someone could tell me how numbers like "2.3.4.5.6" are read (pronounced)? "Two dot three dot four..." or "two three four" or maybe "two point three point four"?
-3
votes
1answer
831 views

Saying dates in English [closed]

Are these dates correctly pronounced? Should it be 'dash' or 'hyphen'? Roman one, or '/aɪ/'? 27/I-1980, twenty-seven, slash, Roman one, dash/hypen, nineteen eighty 4/II-1936 Four slash Roman two ...
16
votes
6answers
3k views

911: nine one one vs. nine eleven [closed]

The US emergency telephone number 911 seems to be almost always pronounced as nine one one whereas the Porsche model is typically pronounced as nine eleven One reason I can think of for ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the correct term to describe 'primary', 'secondary', etc

What is the correct term to describe the words in the following sequence: primary, secondary, tertiary, quaternary, quinary, senary, septenary, octonary, nonary, denary, duodenary, etc. I am thinking ...
6
votes
2answers
260 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" ...
6
votes
4answers
344 views

Name for number format used in “Section 3.2.1”

Does that kind of numbering style have a common name or names? To be fair, it is really more of an "identifier" since it certainly not a scalar (one-dimensional) number. It isn't fair to call it a ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

Should I capitalise the first letter when a sentence starts with a number?

When starting a sentence with a number, should the first letter be capitalised? For example, 96% Real meat. or 96% real meat.
5
votes
4answers
7k views

How to correctly specify a range of temperatures in both Fahrenheit and Celsius?

Current icky wording: ... they do best in temperatures between 40 and 125 degrees F. ( 5 and 52 degrees C ) Using the "degree" symbol seems correct, but in a range should it be specified for ...
4
votes
1answer
451 views

What is the term for replacing a letter with a number in a word? [duplicate]

What is the term for replacing a letter with a number in a word, such as UNREAL being written as UNR34L? Quite often seen on licence plates, it is almost satirical misspelling, but the definition of ...
4
votes
2answers
636 views

How do you pronounce ¹⁄₁₂?

Could you let me know how to pronounce “1/12” properly ?