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 the most correct form for spelling out that number in full text? What is the rule for adding (or leaving out) the and? When does one use hyphens? Does the context matter, e.g. writing out the amount on a check vs. a news article?

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Three hundred and forty-two

Leaving out 'and' is more common in US English. Either is acceptable, but including 'and' is more correct.

Hyphenate all compound numbers between twenty-one and ninety-nine.

  • Agreed. These are the same rules I know. – Noldorin Jan 30 '11 at 19:51
  • 2
    I don't agree with "more correct". "And" is never omitted in the UK, and is usually omitted in the US. – Colin Fine Jan 31 '11 at 18:35
  • Absolutely not: Saying "and" in the middle of a denotes a decimal point. Three hundred and forty-two means 300.42. – Joe C Jan 16 '14 at 4:33
  • You're on your own there Joe C. To denote a decimal point you would say 'point' i.e. three hundred point forty-two. – Ian Stanway May 19 '15 at 16:39
  • Obviously, there are conflicting 'rules', and one would have to carry out a lot of research before being justified in saying either variant is incorrect. But one should find out what one's audience thinks the 'and' means, and/or define terms locally. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 19 '16 at 20:10

I was always taught, in American English, to use "and" only with compound numbers such as "three and three-quarters." Wikipedia also mentions this:

Note that in American English, many students are taught not to use the word and anywhere in the whole part of a number, so it is not used before the tens and ones. It is instead used as a verbal delimiter when dealing with compound numbers. Thus, instead of "three hundred and seventy-three", one would say "three hundred seventy-three". For details, see American and British English differences.

And as ElendilTheTall said, hyphenate numbers between twenty-one and ninety-nine as well as fractions.

  • Yes this is the rule I was taught as well. – Joe C Jan 16 '14 at 4:31

This is a common mistake made by Microshaft. There is no such thing as American English, there is English and there is wrong. 'And' is correct three hundred and forty-two = 342 three hundred point forty-two = 300.42 always the 'and'in numbers. Personally, I'm with the above = Hyphenate all compound numbers between twenty-one and ninety-nine.

  • 2
    Numbers following a decimal point should always be spoken as individual integers. 300.42 is "Three hundred point four two" not "Three hundred point forty two"". This is because numbers to the right of the decimal point 'grow' in the opposite direction from those to the left. Placing a 2 next to a 4 immediately to the left of a decimal point gives you "twenty-four" but placing a 2 next to a 4 immediately to the right of a decimal point gives you "point four two". – BoldBen Apr 5 '17 at 22:36
  • @BoldBen - I don't understand the point about numbers 'growing' in different directions.. – CowperKettle Jul 13 '17 at 6:33
  • @CowperKettle Starting from the decimal point numbers get longer to the left as they include more powers of 10. EG 9, 89, 789, 6789. Each number to the left of the decimal point makes the number longer by a multiple of a higher power of 10 so the leftmost digit is the most significant, but numbers get longer to the right as they include the inverses of higher powers of ten. For example 0.5 0.56, 0.567. This means that as the number gets longer in a leftward direction the extra number is the least significant. 0.16 is "point one six" not "point sixteen". – BoldBen Jul 14 '17 at 9:52

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