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

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4
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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) ...
27
votes
5answers
8k views

How can I write out 1.5?

I would like to write out (1.5) in words and also (5.0). How would I do that?
7
votes
5answers
4k views

Why are Roman numerals still used?

Why are Roman numerals still used today primarily on clocks and film titles?
25
votes
1answer
1k views

What are these symbols called in the English language?

You see these all the time in movies, usually when some poor guy has been wrongly imprisoned and begins counting the days since his incarceration, but what are these markings called? I used to know, ...
7
votes
4answers
4k 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?
18
votes
1answer
353 views

When and why did the number reading order change [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: 19th century English texts occasionally use germanic-style number words, such as “four-and-twenty”. When did this fall out of use? In Arabic and even in ...
7
votes
3answers
8k views

What follows next in the sequence “unary, binary, ternary…”?

I looked on Oxford's online dictionary and was able to find the names identifying orders of a given degree: primary secondary tertiary quaternary quinary senary septenary octonary nonary denary -- ...
2
votes
0answers
351 views

How do you say this in English? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Framing a question to which the answer is an ordinal number How to phrase an asking sentence that must be answered with an ordinal number (e.g., the third prime) ? It ...
3
votes
0answers
223 views

Why do we say “odd” when describing numbers? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Where did the “odd” in “N odd years” come from? When we speak about numbers, we usually associate "odd" with it. For example, "We have 70-odd ...
4
votes
3answers
422 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). ...
12
votes
4answers
11k 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
936 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, ...
3
votes
3answers
466 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?
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 ...
18
votes
2answers
1k views

Plurality of numbers between -1 and 1

If I recall correctly, the Académie française states that, for French, quantities comprised within [-1,1] are singular, and anything else is plural. This means, for instance, that we should say (in ...
-4
votes
2answers
857 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
228 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

Framing a question to which you reply with “I am the third born in my family” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Framing a question to which the answer is an ordinal number would it be if i asked what is your relative position terms of birth order in your family
11
votes
6answers
6k 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! ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

When you have 5 instead of 4, what's the word instead of “quadrant”?

...or, to phrase it differently, like one of those silly SAT questions... please help me fill in this blank: 4 is to 5 as "quadrant" is to ???? (Does that make sense?)
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 ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Reading out numbers in English

What are the accepted guidelines for reading out numbers in English? For example, should 1351 be read out as "one thousand and three hundred and fifty one", or should the "and"s be removed ...
11
votes
1answer
634 views

Fractions as phrasal (compound) adjectives

Is there a difference between a written-out fraction that serves as a noun: He gave me one half of his sandwich. and a written-out fraction serving as an adjective: I gave her a one-half ...
0
votes
2answers
120 views

Why “proximate” refers to centesimal? [closed]

I mean, when I read "proximate" I think about "proximity".. why does it refers exactly to the 3rd digit in a number?
5
votes
4answers
6k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
465 views

Is there a system for creating words for ordinal numbers?

I'm not sure if "sequential" is the right word, but what is the system for creating a sequence of numbers like this: primary (as in 1st in choice or importance) secondary (as in 2nd in choice or ...
8
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
12
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6answers
6k views

What does the term “86'd” relate to?

What does it mean when someone or something is referred to as being "86'd"?
5
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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 ...
2
votes
2answers
5k views

When to spell out numbers [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why do English writers avoid explicit numerals? Based on my previous question regarding spelling out monetary amounts, is there a rule of thumb when a number should be ...
1
vote
4answers
5k 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
859 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 ...
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 ...
11
votes
2answers
579 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
864 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 ...
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 ...
11
votes
3answers
7k 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?
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1answer
1k views

How do I determine subject and subject complement in “A side-effect is the spread of commercialese to other domains.”?

Consider this example: Commercialese is an instrument of art, designed to enrich and invigorate our language—surely you will all agree with this—, and we should encourage newcomers to learn ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

How much exactly is increased when it is “increased by 1.1”?

I saw it in a text book, and a similar problem that also appeared in the book is "3 times faster", which is already asked. Simply speaking, the book says: Unfortunately, it increases the CPI by ...
8
votes
3answers
4k views

“A million and a half” vs. “one and a half million”

Every so often, I come across the phrase "a million and a half X" - which always strikes me as strange: it suggests 1000000.5 of the thing. I was taught to use instead "one and a half million" to be ...
14
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
20
votes
5answers
2k views

What method of counting puts Twelfth Night on January 6th?

I know English has (or at least had) some strange usages of eve and night, but I still can’t figure out how December 25th and 12 can be combined to come up with January 6th. (This stems from my ...
41
votes
3answers
9k 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
2k views

How can I form a word like “quadruple” for any number I want?

I'm not sure what these are called, but how can I form a word like "quadruple" for any number I want? Like 5× as much is quintuple, what is 31× as much or 147× as much? I want to know how they are ...
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 ...
31
votes
3answers
6k 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
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5answers
3k views

How do I pronounce “ratio 1:1”?

How do I pronounce "ratio 1:1"? Should I pronounce it "ratio 1 to 1"?
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'?
19
votes
3answers
18k 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?
15
votes
3answers
701 views

Billion and other large numbers

Traditionally a billion in American English means 109 (1,000,000,000, a thousand million) while in British English it means 1012 (a million million) with milliard meaning 109. Is this still the case ...