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

learn more… | top users | synonyms (2)

7
votes
2answers
3k 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" ...
7
votes
1answer
100 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 ...
6
votes
10answers
5k views

How to ask a question to get an ordinal number answer [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: How to phrase an asking sentence that must be answered with an ordinal number? Framing a question to which the answer is an ordinal number Given that I want to know ...
6
votes
5answers
868 views

“Give me one half of that” Vs. “give me half of that”

I can't remember when and where I had this discussion, but I remember being corrected when I was speaking by a stranger saying that it is never correct to say give me half of this; instead, the ...
6
votes
4answers
181 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
458 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
5k views

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

I've noticed that people coming from a 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
188 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
2answers
240 views

A quantity followed by a measurement (eg: 200 35mm circles)

If you have a quantity of items, where the items themselves are described with a measurement, how should you format this so it is unambiguous? For example, This diagram contains... two hundred ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Which syllable is stressed in the word “nineteen”?

The dictionaries list both possibilities to stress nineteen (or any other -teen, for that matter): ,nine-teen and nine-'teen. Are the two pronunciations completely interchangeable, a matter of ...
5
votes
3answers
30k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
351 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
684 views

36 thousands or 36 thousand?

I'm almost sure it's 36 thousands, since we're talking about 36 not 1. But I'm in doubt because 36 already indicates that it's more than 1, so maybe, just maybe, it could be 36 thousand?
5
votes
4answers
7k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
136 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, ...
5
votes
2answers
266 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, ...
5
votes
2answers
439 views

How to write negative currency in text?

Which version is grammatically correct (given that I hopefully provided at least one correct alternative)? [...] the company yielded a result to the amount of −€6.680 billion in 2008. or ...
5
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
113 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
104 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
4k 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" ...
4
votes
3answers
597 views

Why is there a “one” before “hundred”, “thousand”, etc. but not “ten”?

As the title says, why is there a "one" before "hundred", before "thousand", and so on, but not before "ten"? This seems shared between some languages, including Chinese (10 = 十 = ten, 100 = 一百 = one ...
4
votes
2answers
208 views

Including units of a measure in a range

When specifying a range of values that have a unit of measure associated with them, what is the best practice for where to include the unit of measure? 1lb - 20lb Or 1 - 20lb And how ...
4
votes
3answers
241 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
941 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, ...
4
votes
2answers
655 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
4
votes
4answers
7k views

Standard format for phone numbers? [closed]

I've recently noticed a wider variety in how phone numbers are presented, both in print and online, specifically with regard to spacing & punctuation. Examples: +1 (555) 123 4567 +1 (555) ...
4
votes
2answers
207 views

Can “number” in “number one” possibly be a Dutchism or a Germanism?

On a Dutch news site, someone claimed that the Dutch use of "nummer" (number) used in the meaning of "you are the number one", is actually an anglicism. It triggered my curiosity and I tried to find ...
4
votes
4answers
372 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 ...
4
votes
5answers
764 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
424 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
1answer
22k views

Difference between “zeros” and “zeroes” [duplicate]

Are there any differences between “zeros” and “zeroes”? Is any of them more correct, more often used, more modern? Are there differences e.g. between British English and American English in the usage ...
4
votes
4answers
690 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
2k views

Rule for adding “and” or hyphens between numbers that are spelled out fully in text

For example, take the number 342. It could be written out a number of different ways when spelled out fully. Three hundred forty two Three hundred and forty two Three hundred and forty-two What is ...
4
votes
2answers
305 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

When writing large numbers, should a comma be inserted?

I know that it is common to write the number 'ten thousand' as a numeral with a comma delimiting the 10 and the 000 like so: 10, 000 However, I have never seen a comma used for numbers less than ...
4
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

How to write decimal values in words

I have 1210.802 units in a mutual fund. How do I write it in words? "One thousand two hundred and ten..." How do I write the decimal units here?
4
votes
1answer
423 views

Does one hyphenate height when given in feet and inches?

In a work of fiction I'm writing, I'm using the colloquial phrase five-one to refer to someone's height. Should that be hyphenated as five-one, or should it just be written woth a space separating the ...
4
votes
1answer
92 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
642 views

How to compare quantities and values?

Which is the correct way to compare two values or quantities? Apart from 'greater than', or 'lower than', could you say something like '1 is close to 2, but far from 9'?
4
votes
2answers
138 views

At least two or more: Not always redundant?

At least two or more Is the “or more” bit above ever not redundant? Seems absolutely redundant to me, but it gets about 170 million Google hits, and many from government sites and university ...
3
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

How to write numbers in words

How do we translate 1210 into words: 1) one thousand, two hundred, and ten 2) one thousand, two hundred and ten or without the commas 3) one thousand two hundred and ten 4) one thousand two ...
3
votes
4answers
708 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 ...
3
votes
5answers
11k 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 ...
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 ...