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

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18
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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
6k 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
253 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
92 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
864 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
538 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
594 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
144 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
320 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
215 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
411 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
196 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
147 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
708 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
102 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
4k 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
796 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.
6
votes
2answers
422 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, ...
108
votes
13answers
5k 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
4k 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
432 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
141 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
126 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
129 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
486 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
109 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
216 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
1k 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
150 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, ...
7
votes
4answers
11k 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 ...
44
votes
3answers
13k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
7k 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?
5
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
193 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
879 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

Potato or Potatoes

When considering a recipe which contains potatoes, which would be correct for the UK: 350g of potato 350g of potatoes
22
votes
3answers
27k views

Should there be a space before a percent sign?

Should there be a space before a percent sign or not? Should you write 20% or 20 %? I'm not sure if there is any consensus about this or not. Is one way more common than the other?
1
vote
1answer
156 views

A lot of numbers in a paragraph, how should I phrase them [closed]

The formal grammar demands that numbers be written out as words at the beginning of a sentence. I have a paragraph like the one below and I am not sure how best to re-phrase it so as to conform to the ...
4
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
155 views

Is there a term to describe the written format of a monetary quantity as symbol + numeral + unit?

I am trying to describe the desired formatting for numbers in a given document. For rounded monetary quantities over a million this would be dollar sign, arabic numeral, unit (e.g. 3,000,000 dollars ...
2
votes
3answers
306 views

“My latest five novels” or “my five latest novels”?

Is it okay to say "my latest five novels" when I want to express "five of my latest novels"? As far as I know, "five" is a postdeterminer, so it precedes an adjective (except for ...
-5
votes
2answers
142 views

Is it correct to say 'children 12 and under'? [closed]

I'm asking about whether or not this phrase is grammatically correct: 'children 12 and under'. I am also asking for a general analysis of constructions of this type.
-1
votes
2answers
676 views

Do I capitalize or write out 'first' if I write: “Her birthday was May First.”?

I'm writing a story in which a character's birthday (May 1st) is significant. A characters notes in conversation that, "Her birthday is May first." Should I write out 'first' or refer to it as '1st'? ...
0
votes
1answer
10k views

Why eleven is not called onety one [duplicate]

I want to know why eleven is not called "onety one"? Since eleven comes after ten, why is not "onety one"? and why ten is not called onety ?
2
votes
2answers
168 views

Using “and” with numbers [duplicate]

I'm a computer programmer and I'm working about this problem. I must say that I'm not very familiar with British English and I'd like to know when the word and is used in the numbers. The perfect ...
2
votes
1answer
64 views

Number of noun modified by coordinated PP: “the [X-sg] of [Y] and [Z] is”, or “the [X-pl] of [Y] and [Z] are”?

I've tried searching Google and StackExchange for this one, but I find it difficult to state the problem generally and therefore have had no luck so far; apologies if the answer is already out there ...
2
votes
4answers
591 views

Would it be correct to say that negative five is less than positive two? [closed]

I often have trouble speaking good English when negative numbers are involved. Would it be correct to say that negative five is less than positive two? If not, what expression is most appropriate? ...
0
votes
1answer
253 views

Reading dollar amounts

I have a question regarding reading dollar amounts. At this store, I saw some scrunchies on sale for $5 per dozen. Should I say, These scrunchies is a five dollar per dozen item. or is this ...