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

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6
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10answers
7k 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 ...
20
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7answers
10k 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?
103
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13answers
4k 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 ...
35
votes
8answers
37k views

Plurals of acronyms, letters, numbers — use an apostrophe or not?

When I was in high school back in the 1970s, I was taught that to make a plural of an acronym, a letter, or a number, one should add an apostrophe and "s". Like I would have written this sentence, ...
32
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 ...
9
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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 ...
8
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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 ...
2
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
12
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2answers
674 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
41
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3answers
11k 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
9k 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 ...
17
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5answers
2k 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 ...
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 ...
3
votes
0answers
579 views

Interrogative form of a sentence [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How should I phrase a question that must be answered with an ordinal number (e.g., the third prime)? How to ask a question to get a cardinal number answer Neil ...
3
votes
0answers
388 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
536 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
17k views

“X times as many as” or “X times more than”

Suppose John has 5 sweets. Is there any difference between the following two sentences? Jack has 3 times as many sweets as John. Jack has 3 times more sweets than John. I prefer the first ...
16
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12answers
7k 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 ...
12
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3answers
10k 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?
24
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3answers
5k 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 ...
12
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7answers
8k views

What does the term “86'd” relate to?

What does it mean when someone or something is referred to as being "86'd"?
8
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4answers
561 views

Transcribing long repeating phone numbers

I always have this problem of telling people my phone number which consists of a series of repeating numbers: 184 555 5555 (DO NOT CALL, this is just as an example) I can tell people it is: ...
4
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4answers
2k views

How to write decimal values in words

I have 1210.802 units in a mutual fund. How do I write it in words? "One thousand two hundred and ten..." How do I write the decimal units here?
3
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
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 ...
8
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10answers
6k views

Does “nineteen-hundreds” refer to 1900–1909 or 1900–1999?

The words "nineteen-hundreds" to me mean strictly 1900–1909. I've noticed several times that people, invariably North American, use these words to mean "the twentieth century", or 1900–1999, or ...
15
votes
2answers
511 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 ...
15
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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 ...
11
votes
1answer
730 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 ...
15
votes
11answers
6k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
364 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
1answer
5k views

One and a half minute/minutes [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Pluralization rule for “five-year-old children”, “20 pound note”, “10 mile run” Should we use plural or singular for a fraction of a ...
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4answers
22k 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 ...
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1answer
3k views

“Three-hundred forty-two” or “three-hundred and forty-two”? [closed]

So on this answer here: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/12699791/finding-the-word-version-of-a-number/12700097#comment17146082_12700097 We were having the argument whether it is “three hundred and ...
18
votes
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, ...
27
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5answers
10k 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?
12
votes
4answers
14k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
9k 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 -- ...
9
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5answers
4k views

How do I pronounce “ratio 1:1”?

How do I pronounce "ratio 1:1"? Should I pronounce it "ratio 1 to 1"?
3
votes
2answers
5k views

Reading out decimal numbers in English [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How to write decimal values in words How do you read numbers like these? 0.12 "oh point twelve", "zero point one two", "zero and twelve hundreds" And these ones? ...
-5
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 ...
15
votes
3answers
742 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 ...
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4answers
5k 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?
6
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3answers
5k 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" ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

Can “another” be used with plural nouns provided periods or measurements don’t count?

Merriam-Webster says about another the following: being one more in addition to one or more of the same kind —http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/another However, I come across such ...
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2answers
3k 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
249 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
368 views

Verb agreement with nouns modified by numbers [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it “5-6 weeks are a lot of time” or “5-6 weeks is a lot of time”? I am writing about a baseball player who has 33 at-bats in his career. ...
3
votes
3answers
756 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.