I want to know why eleven is not called "onety one"? Since eleven comes after ten, why is not "onety one"? and why ten is not called onety ?

  • 3
    Because that would be too easy, the universe does not work that way...
    – terdon
    Jun 5, 2013 at 13:25
  • 4
    According to that logic you should start with the question "Why is ten not called onety"? Jun 5, 2013 at 13:27
  • @JoachimSauer agree with you, it can be
    – Rohit
    Jun 5, 2013 at 13:28
  • 3
    No it can't. It's called ten. Have you seen the question linked in the sidebar? english.stackexchange.com/questions/7281/…
    – Andrew Leach
    Jun 5, 2013 at 13:29
  • 1
    Ten is not called onety because you have ten fingers and not nine. That part is actually extremely logical and straightforward. Besides, what do you think "ty" actually means? You suggest that we say "one ten" every time we want to say "ten". Now that is illogical.
    – RegDwigнt
    Jun 5, 2013 at 14:23

1 Answer 1


I doubt you can find any reason why. This is a common feature of many languages, the first few numbers have their own "special" names, and the rest are built using a standard method like adding the -ty ending.

At least in Greek, English, French, Catalan and Spanish, the numbers 11 and 12 (and in the Latin ones, all the way up to 15) have special names. As far as I know this is the case of all Latin languages. Is it not so in your native tongue? Do you know of any language where the same rule makes the word for 11 and for 31?

  • An answer in the question @Andrew linked to explains that "eleven" and "twelve" actually derive from words meaning "1+10" and "2+10". Jun 5, 2013 at 13:35
  • 1
    @JoachimSauer yes, so they do but my point is that they don't follow the same rules as the other numbers and that seems to be a general feature of most if not all Indoeuropean languages.
    – terdon
    Jun 5, 2013 at 13:37

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