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

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13
votes
3answers
1k views

911: nine one one vs. nine eleven

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 ...
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 ...
10
votes
3answers
11k 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 -- ...
4
votes
2answers
77 views

1 % of (the) GDP - with or without the article?

What is the correct form? I have consistently encountered both forms. Definite article: required, optional or wrong?
4
votes
7answers
23k 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
65 views

“Day X” vs. “Xth day”

There are two possibilities to say that something happens on a particular day: The course of psychological support consisted of four 30-minute sessions led by a psychotherapist before and ...
0
votes
4answers
31k views

How to say the total amount?

I'm not sure if the saying of the total amount USD 23,428.32 is correct below (esp. the 'cent' part after the dot): Say U.S. dollars twenty-three thousand four hundred and twenty-eight and ...
1
vote
2answers
30 views

Cardinal or ordinal numbers when the word “number” is used

In the sentence "He was number three to finish the race", is the word "three" an ordinal or cardinal number? My gut reaction is that it's a cardinal number, but I'm having a hard time arguing for it. ...
4
votes
5answers
908 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
46 views

Is there a fraction prefix for “(one-)third”?

I am a mathematician, working with things called 1⁄k-regular polytopes, dubbed thus by Conway. For the case of k = 2, as in ½-regular, it is naturally pronounced and written half-regular. However, I ...
5
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
217 views

Does primary, secondary, tertiary, […] continue forever?

What follows next in the sequence "unary, binary, ternary..."? gives a lengthy list up to 12 for the sequence "primary, secondary, tertiary, [...]". Does this naming continue forever? If so, ...
3
votes
1answer
53 views

Why the oddity of speculative/non-specified large numbers

When there is a large number to describe, without knowing the specific number, we can report "millions," or "thousands," or "hundreds." Why do we then break that base-ten (seeming) pattern with ...
-1
votes
3answers
45 views

Comparing two numbers

I am wondering how can I express that A is greater than B for some number. For example, can I say "5 is greater than 3 for 2", or should I say "5 is 2 greater than 3"? Thank you so much!
1
vote
1answer
33 views

Use of the word “chance” to mean a number

In the Song I'm a Good Ol' Rebel the lyrics include the verse But I killed a chance of Yankees I'm unable to find a definition of chance that fits this usage. I presume it means a number but ...
34
votes
9answers
4k views

“1 in 10 are” or “1 in 10 is”?

Take the examples: "One in ten children are dyslexic." "One in ten children is dyslexic." "One in ten children has dyslexia." "One in ten children have dyslexia." The "one" is singular so 2 and 3 ...
3
votes
4answers
111 views

“One in a million” or “A million to one”?

Last week I took part in an English course, and the teacher was constantly saying a million to one (when he meant "an extremely small possibility"). Is this correct? Is it the same as one in a ...
0
votes
4answers
89 views

How to say fractions like “7/8” or “546/823”

I have come across the following three spoken variants for the fraction ⅞: Seven by eight Seven over eight Seven into eight I am also aware of seven-eighths but I don't want to use that as it ...
0
votes
1answer
246 views

how do I write “about four or five hundred US Dollars”

I proofread/edit transcribed witness evidence, and often witnesses will say something like "around four or five thousand dollars". If the evidence is all about figures, I would sometimes write this ...
1
vote
2answers
130 views

English words for specific positive integers (e.g. dozen, score, gross, myriad) [closed]

Dozen = 12 Score = 20 Gross = 144 Myriad = 10,000 Googol = 10¹⁰⁰ Googolplex = 10Googol Indian English: Lakh = 100,000 and Crore = 10,000,000. Ignoring all the numbers already listed on ...
17
votes
12answers
9k views

American vs. British English: meaning of “One hundred and fifty”

I've noticed that Americans do not say "and" when speaking numbers: for example, 150 would be pronounced "one hundred fifty". I and most other British-English speakers would pronounce it "one hundred ...
3
votes
1answer
581 views

Why do we use Roman numerals for some page numbers but Arabic ones for others?

Why is it that certain pages in English-language books are numbered using Roman numerals, but other pages are numbered using (so-called) Arabic ones? Has it always been this way? Or was the split ...
3
votes
3answers
3k views

Is it improper English to read the number 1100 as “eleven hundred”?

For numbers between 1000 and 9999 is it proper English for the word "hundred" to be used? For example is it necessarily wrong to say "eleven hundred" when referring to 1100?
2
votes
3answers
51 views

How to resolve the ambiguity of “two day classes”

Two day classes will take place this week. Here, "day classes" is a compound. I don't want it to sound like it's just one class that goes on for two days.
1
vote
1answer
64 views

What is the correct way to express yearly quarters? Is using roman numerals correct?

While looking over a company's annual report, I realized that every business quarter was denoted using roman numerals. E.g. QI,2014 QII, 2014 etc. I am sure I am being petty and pedantic, ...
0
votes
1answer
68 views

Is there a word for 'within ten units of'?

Is there a word that can used like decade, but when talking about units not years? For example, everyone knows that: 2006 is within a decade of 1998 1989 is in the same decade as 1984 However, ...
2
votes
3answers
111 views

“Ten and several minutes”: Any more natural expression?

Heat the mixture for ten and several minutes. What is a more natural way to express this “ten and several” wording, which is literally translated from Japanese? A. for between ten and 20 ...
5
votes
1answer
135 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 ...
20
votes
12answers
4k views

What is the name of the first decade in a century?

80s the "Eighties" 90s the "Nineties" 00s the ??? For that matter, what is the second decade called? The "tens" just doesn't sound right.
0
votes
2answers
47 views

“being wined and dined” — singular?

I want to say, "He loves being wined and dined, and he's not above demanding it." I don't know whether being can be treated as the referent of it, or I must take the whole verb phrase as a plural. I ...
1
vote
1answer
43 views

Should street numbers be written as cardinal or ordinal numbers [closed]

When writing a numerical street, do you use a cardinal number (220 Street) or ordinal number (220th Street)
2
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?)
0
votes
3answers
67 views

proper grammar of multiple numbers ordered sequentially specifying different things

I have a sentence submitted to me from someone else that says One case (8 - one lb. boxes) of... What is the proper grammar to say eight one pound boxes? I'm not sure what the best format is for ...
2
votes
3answers
86 views

Quiz Show Jeopardy: Are the 1910s called “nineteen-tens” or 'nineteen-teens'?

On the quiz show Jeopardy there is a question asking "The first modern crossword is published & Oreo cookies are introduced". The clip of the show can be seen on YouTube. The contestant who ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there a standard for speaking “1500” as “one thousand five hundred” versus “fifteen hundred”?

I was asked by a French colleague, and had no clear answer, whether it's more correct to say "One thousand five hundred" or "fifteen hundred" when speaking the number 1500. Putting aside how we say ...
5
votes
4answers
7k 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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
97 views

1.1 = millions of dollars? [duplicate]

The question arises when, perhaps, taking about 1.1 million dollars. Could one say millions of dollars since it's greater than one. Just like we would say, "one dollar," but we would say, "1.1 ...
0
votes
0answers
53 views

Using hyphens in numbers (British English)

I heard that there is some recent rule which says that you shouldn't hyphenate numbers such as "twenty-two". Is this true?
6
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views
6
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
50 views

How do you 'say' the numbers in: “section 20.1234” in a government regulation? [closed]

How do you read section 20.1234 in a regulation by a government agency? For example, the law is 38 C.F.R. section 20.1234. How do you read 20.1234? Do you read it as "twenty one two three four" or ...
17
votes
13answers
9k 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
14k 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?
2
votes
1answer
1k views

Is there a word for numbers and letters, but not punctuation, etc?

Is there a word that would refer to a number or a letter, but not any other character (like a comma or an exclamation mark)?
3
votes
1answer
37 views

Which vs. What in regards to Continuous Numbers (like Temperature)?

As this question makes clear, "which" is used when there is a set number of choices available, while "what" is used when there is not a set number of choices available. Which term do we use, however, ...
3
votes
1answer
341 views

“Definite ninety-nine” - UK English meaning

I've been browsing through older lyrics of Judas Priest songs, namely Rocka Rolla, which has the following lines in a verse: Barroom fighter Ten pint a nighter Definite ninety-nine ...
0
votes
0answers
36 views

Should small numbers with a unit after them be spelt out or written in digits?

I heard it is better to write out numbers less than ten then to represent them using digits. Is this still true if there's a unit of measurement after the number? For example, in a research paper ...
18
votes
12answers
3k views

A word for converting numbers to (number / 1000) + K [duplicate]

Is there a word for the case where a number has been converted to something with a trailing ‘K’ (and possibly ‘M’ for millions, ‘B’ for billions, ...)? Example: 250,000 changes to 250K It will ...