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 completely? Note that I'm not talking about years as I asked it in a separate question.

  • 3
    Thirteen fifty-one if it is a year
    – mplungjan
    Mar 23, 2011 at 10:56
  • 1
    @mplungjan: I've already asked about the Pronunciation of years in English. Mar 23, 2011 at 12:11
  • 2
    ... and then there's also "thirteen hundred fifty-one". Mar 23, 2011 at 15:38
  • Guidelines? I wish I had seen them -- if there are any, I've missed them my entire life. I usually go with convenience and, as with @crowne, clarity.
    – jbelacqua
    Mar 31, 2011 at 17:52

4 Answers 4


I heard people saying and with hundred only.

From wikipedia I got this info

When saying or writing out numbers, the British insert an and before the tens and units, as in one hundred and sixty-two or two thousand and three. In America it is considered correct to drop the and, as in one hundred sixty-two or two thousand three.

So 1351 will be read out as "One thousand three hundred and fifty one" in British English.

  • 2
    In AmE, you're supposed to say "One thousand, three hundred, fifty-one" but most people actually say "One thousand, three hundred and fifty-one". They usually do not put 'and's all the way through though.
    – Mitch
    Mar 23, 2011 at 14:13
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    I certainly do not agree with this wikipedia quote. It may be correct to drop the and, but it is certainly not considered incorrect to retain it.
    – Jimi Oke
    Mar 23, 2011 at 16:01
  • 2
    It is much more common in practice to retain the and. Nobody but pedants considers it incorrect to retain it. (I think the reasoning behind the purported rule was to avoid a garden-path moment when someone says "two hundred and one tenth" meaning 200.1, but you don't get that benefit unless everyone follows the rule, and they don't.) Mar 23, 2011 at 16:55
  • 2
    Scrupulously using and only to mark the decimal point would also avoid ambiguity between 100.003 ("one hundred and three thousandths") and 0.0103 ("one hundred three thousandths"), for what it's worth. Mar 23, 2011 at 17:02
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    @FumbleFingers: I disagree about 'acceptable'. In the US, in school they say "you should not use 'and' in numbers". Also it is the directions on how to write out numbers on bank checks (because you would use 'and' to separate dollars from cents).
    – Mitch
    Jul 8, 2011 at 16:07

Think of it as a list of numbers with commas between them: One thousand, three hundred, and fifty one. Also, be careful not to put a plural 's' if the number is 200 or 2000 or greater. So you must say 'two hundred / thousand'. Same rule applies to millions and billions: 'Three million / billion.'

  • 2
    Also, 'and' would be used before the tens even when they come before thousands, millions etc. So for example 1351351 would be "One million, three hundred and fifty one thousand, three hundred and fifty one."
    – neil
    Mar 23, 2011 at 11:39

The quality/fidelity of the medium should also be taken into account.
Often when reading numbers over radio or a poor quality telephone line, the numbers are read out using only their digits, and 9 is often read as Niner, so that it can be more clearly distinguished apart from Five.

  • FOW-ER for 4 too.
    – Henry
    Mar 23, 2011 at 17:55
  • 2
    In any context where it would be acceptable to use niner, you would simply be reading a series of digits. It would never be acceptable if you mixed this usage with words like thousand or hundred. Jul 8, 2011 at 15:30

I think this depends on the number and also the situation you are reading the number in.

For instance a date I would read as thirteen fifty one, whereas 101 items in the basket I would read as One hundred and one.

1200 might be read as either twelve hundred or one thousand two hundred (depending on the situation and the culture as some countries use the first way and some the second).

It is more common to only use and with the hundred though, 1101 = one thousand one hundred and one rather than one thousand and one hundred and one

  • 2
    OP already commented that he's asked about dates separately. In non-date contexts it would be non-standard to say twelve hundred unless you were ordering a quantity of something packaged as, say, 100 items per box. Jul 8, 2011 at 15:37

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