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

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6
votes
5answers
651 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

Is it correct to omit number suffix on dates?

If I have a date written: Saturday 16 December is it correct ? Or does the grammar oblige me to add the number suffix to 16 making 16th as in: Saturday 16th December ?
12
votes
0answers
395 views

How can I properly ask this question? [duplicate]

I want to ask a question so that I can get the answer which gives the position of the President. So the answer I want to get is: Barack Hussein Obama is the 44th President of the United States. ...
6
votes
3answers
49k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
274 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
972 views

What is the formal way of expressing 1990s?

How do you express the last decade of 20th century in formal written English? "1990s"? If the century is known from the context, can you simply say "the nineties"? As in: "The involvement of US in ...
16
votes
5answers
3k views

What do you do when a sentence ends with a decimal?

In a sentence like "The answer is 0.8." the period looks awkward after "0.8". Is there a rule for a situation like this? Sometimes I put a space before the period like this: "The answer is 0.8 ." ...
26
votes
4answers
8k views

Is two-thirds plural?

Is 2/3 always, sometimes or never plural? E.g. 1a) 2/3 of the pizza were eaten. 1b) 2/3 of the pizza was eaten. 2a) 2/3 of the visitors were men. 2b) 2/3 of the visitors was men. I ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

What is an appropriate word for a third-tier item (primary, secondary, …)? [closed]

If a first-tier item is called primary, and a second-tier item is called secondary, what can third, and greater, -tier items be called?
3
votes
3answers
9k views

Should it be “mid 80s” or “mid-80s”?

When discussing temperatures or decades, should it be hyphenated? I understood that two-word adjectives need to be hyphenated, but why does MS Word think this should be, too?
0
votes
1answer
62 views

Can a number be given the attribute 'physical'?

This question initially arose while translating a technical document from German. The original text was 'physikalische Heizzonenummer', literally 'physical heating-zone-number'. My immediate reaction ...
15
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
285 views

What is the practice of pricing goods at numbers such as 3.95, 69.90, 198 called? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the term for pricing items just below a significant value (e.g. $19,995) It is common on price tags to use $3.95 instead of $4.00 to make items appear cheaper. ...
17
votes
13answers
10k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
8k views

Correct way to write a range of dollar figures

What is the best way to express the range from $4.5 billion to $5.2 billion? Is the following correct? ... between $4.5 and $5.2 billion...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Writing large percentages

So, I have a reason to display percentages in the thousands and greater 1000%, 20000%, etc should they be written with or without thousand separators? 1,000%, 20,000%, etc I have been Googling and ...
1
vote
4answers
313 views

How to label a digit according to its position in a number

Let's say there is some number like 12345. In Konglish (Korean English), I can label 3 as the hundred's position number and 5 as the one's position number. I don't think this is correct English. How ...
4
votes
3answers
802 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
243 views

“Nine out of 10”

Most style guides call for spelling out numbers less than 10, and using numerals for those 10 and over. While reading a magazine today, I saw the phrase nine out of 10, and it struck me as wrong even ...
1
vote
2answers
245 views

What is the correct way to express the ordinal form of a large number?

If I want to express... The 1114th person ...with the number in words, would it be best to do... The one thousand, one hundred and fourteenth person ...or hyphenated... The ...
3
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
22
votes
5answers
4k views

Why is the unit of measure placed before the value for currencies? Are there other measures where the unit precedes value?

$1,000 is pronounced as "one thousand dollars". Reading from left to right, it seems like it would make more sense to write the value as: 1,000$. This way the pronunciation of the value follows the ...
4
votes
1answer
512 views

Etymology of million vs. millennium

Why is it that a period of one thousand years is a millennium, but one million is a thousand thousands?
3
votes
3answers
7k 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
1k views

Hyphenating spelled-out fractions with large numerators and/or denominators

I find myself in the awkward position of needing to systematically spell out fractions where the numerator, the denominator, or both have three or more digits, and I'm not sure about the hyphenation. ...
3
votes
4answers
5k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
595 views

How will I ask this particular question? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: 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? How to ask a question to get a ...
2
votes
2answers
254 views

Is it safe to use the British standard for numbering in a novel with a worldwide audience? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Billion and other large numbers Where I am from (Barbados) I grew up knowing a Billion to = 1000 000 000 000, not 1000 000 000, and it was some years before I learned to ...
7
votes
8answers
5k 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?
-2
votes
2answers
5k views

Period before or after short form for inches

When writing a sentence that contains the short version of inches as a double quote, (e.g. the box measured 14") does the period come before, or after the quotation mark?
4
votes
4answers
12k 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
17k 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
7k views

Why are Roman numerals still used?

Why are Roman numerals still used today primarily on clocks and film titles?
26
votes
1answer
2k 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, ...
8
votes
5answers
8k 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
422 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
13k 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 -- ...
3
votes
0answers
482 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
230 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
612 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). ...
13
votes
4answers
22k 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 ...
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, ...
3
votes
3answers
750 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?
7
votes
10answers
10k 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 ...
19
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
1k 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
396 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
2k 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
10k 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! ...
3
votes
1answer
4k 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?)