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

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123
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14answers
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 ...
0
votes
0answers
31 views

Why are figures 1-9 written as numbers, but after 9 written in alphabet form? [duplicate]

I have tried to research this .. could anyone answer why figures 1-9 are written as digits/numbers and then from 9 onwards they are typed in alphabetical form?
11
votes
2answers
11k views

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

I've noticed that people coming from 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
17 views

Proper use of number of

Is it right to say "The service is secured under numbers of protocols" or it is better to say "The service is secured under number of protocols"?
18
votes
6answers
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
1answer
38 views

“It's 20 meters thick” versus “It's a 20-meter-thick layer.”

I know that both of these expressions are correct, but I'd like to be able to explain exactly why the first one is correct. Of course compound adjectives are hyphenated (second expression), but in the ...
1
vote
1answer
30 views

How should I write long numbers in comma separated lists or parenthetical phrases?

In writing out a sentence with a parenthetical number, it occurred to me that it is a bit difficult to read. Is there a better way? (Yes, this is a bit of a contrived example and yes, I realize it ...
-1
votes
0answers
9 views

Is there a distinction between “N% more”, “N% as”, and “N% of”? [closed]

When talking about percentage changes, people often use "FOO is 50% more than BAR" or "FOO is 50% more popular than BAR". This is correct usage. When talking about percentage ratios, the correct term ...
0
votes
2answers
44 views

What do you call this fraction?

Is this how you write these fractions in words? 5/21 is five twenty-ones, 1/21 is one twenty-one. Can someone please clear this for me? I know 1/4 is one-quarter or one-fourth and 2/5 is two-fifths ...
0
votes
0answers
73 views

Is it easier/faster to recognise digits or written words? [migrated]

Does anyone know of any evidence to indicate whether it is faster and/or easier for a native English speaker to recognise digits (1, 2, 3, 4) vs. full written English word equivalents (one, two, ...
24
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
17 views

Which is correct, in each number, or on each number or for each number?

Which is correct, in each number, or on each number or for each number? I need to ask questions mentioning that each number has a different instruction. Any help that includes sentence examples will ...
-1
votes
2answers
65 views

1st percentile, 2nd percentile… But how to say “2.5th” percentile?

It is necessary for me to write about the 2.5th and 97.5th percentiles of a data set. What is the correct way of writing this? This post talks about "zeroth", "n-th" and even "epsilonth" as ...
-1
votes
2answers
548 views

When are Roman Numeral suffixes appropriate for number abbreviations?

This question was asked and closed last year as general reference. However, it did not attract the caliber of answer I expected it to. I suggested the following content as an edit, but it was rejected ...
31
votes
4answers
5k views

I've said it once, I've said it twice, I've said it a thousand times: English doesn't make sense

I had a student moaning at me because I insisted he say twice and not "two times". And he asked "But why?" to which I replied, "Because that's how you say it!" However on reflection, his question was ...
0
votes
1answer
311 views

Reading zero as O (fifteenth letter in English) [duplicate]

I’ve observed that people read the digit zero as oh as though it were the letter O. For example, in a telephone number where 0800 is oh eight hundred. Why? Where was this decided, or can anyone ...
8
votes
10answers
14k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
1
vote
4answers
3k 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 ?
0
votes
4answers
819 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Is it proper to use ordinal suffixes on fractions?

I know in more formal writing, spelling out fractions is preferred (e.g. two-thirds), and in math no suffix is used, but I frequently see ordinal suffixes being used on fractions (e.g. 2/3rds), even ...
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 ...
6
votes
3answers
9k 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
481 views

Why are decimals read as fractions by some cultures?

I find it very strange that the top results on Google for "how to read decimal" give me a very strange way to read them - as fractions. I have learnt to read the digits individually and it makes a ...
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. ...
11
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
794 views

What do you call a fraction that cannot be written as a finite decimal?

For example, the fraction ⅓ cannot be written, because it repeats infinitely (0.33333333... etc). Is there a particular word for numbers that cannot be written directly, but must be expressed as ...
23
votes
7answers
17k views

Should we use plural or singular for a fraction of a mile?

I have seen people say both 0.25 mile and 0.25 miles. Should we use plural or singular for a fraction of a mile?
6
votes
3answers
354 views

Should thin spaces be used between numerals and units

After starting to use the siunitx package for typesetting units (and the numerals before the units) in LaTeX, I noticed that it typesets a single space between a numeral and a unit (a space that is ...
2
votes
3answers
98 views

The first two of ten thousand have been delivered

Does this mean that the first literal two have been delivered? Or does it mean the first two thousand have been delivered?
7
votes
5answers
20k 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 ...
54
votes
4answers
19k 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
4answers
7k views

How do they express the time, in American and British English?

I don't know if this is a good question. But as far as I know, and as I do it, American English also say "after" other than "past" in expressing times. For example, a quarter after six instead of, a ...
0
votes
1answer
59 views

Using a hyphen when describing measures (e.g., a 300-meter asteroid) [duplicate]

Here's some examples. Please tell me which ones are right, and which ones are wrong, and why. "A 350-meter asteroid impacted the Moon." "A 350-meters asteroid impacted the Moon." "A 350 meter ...
0
votes
1answer
2k views

What comes after quadruple? [duplicate]

I know: Single Double Triple Quadruple But what comes next? Up to 10 would be fine.
4
votes
1answer
127 views

Is it technically correct to describe normal figures and text figures as upper case and lower case numbers?

There is a recent question on the Graphic Design SE asking: Why don't upper case numbers exist? There is also a heavily upvoted answer saying that upper and lower case numbers do exist, and that what ...
23
votes
3answers
4k views

What do we call the “rd” in “3ʳᵈ” and the “th” in “9ᵗʰ”?

Our numbers have a specific two-letter onomatopoeia combination that tells us how the number sounds. For example 9th 3rd 301st What do we call these special sounds? --EDIT-- As mentioned in the ...
5
votes
3answers
122 views

“I make a hundred k a year”

How much money does someone earn when he says I make a hundred k a year. I understand it as make = earn hundred = 100 k = kilo So my final sentence is I earn 100000 CUR a year. where CUR is ...
2
votes
1answer
202 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
22 views

Article before “two” with intervening adjective?

Consider the following sentence: (1) The project will include Alice, Bob, and an expected two new hires. This sounds correct to me; it means we are expecting to hire two new people and will put ...
2
votes
1answer
69 views

Thesis: spell out numbers or not?

I'm unsure if I should spell out numbers or not, in this specific case of the thesis: This is the area I'm concerned with and I tried both approaches: Setup 1 is a static setup with seven nodes in ...
6
votes
5answers
671 views

Do Americans leave the ordinal suffix out of dates?

Do Americans leave the ordinal suffix out of dates? By 'ordinal suffix' I mean '-th', '-nd', '-rd', e.g. 'April 17' instead of 'April 17th'. If they do, is there an explanation for this behavior?
4
votes
3answers
223 views

Prepositions before and after percentages

I'm commenting on several data of a graphic and I have a doubt question about the preposition that comes (or doesn't) before the percentage, and whether the determiner "the" has to appear before ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Should I capitalise the first letter when a sentence starts with a number?

When starting a sentence with a number, should the first letter be capitalised? For example, 96% Real meat. or 96% real meat.
16
votes
4answers
15k 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 -- ...
5
votes
3answers
771 views

Is there a word for opposite numbers?

Example: -100 and +100 - is there a way of describing the relationship between these numbers? Obviously, I've already come up with "opposite", is there anything else? This is for use in an email. ...
7
votes
4answers
9k 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
1answer
47 views

Age description and hyphenating

How would I say a toddler is 2 years and 7 months old correctly? Is this right: It is a two-year-seven-month-old toddler. Or do I need an “and” between? I personally think hyphenating here ...