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In "The Red-Headed League", one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, a character named Jabez Wilson remarks, "It was a pretty expensive joke for them, for it cost them two and thirty pounds." This [singles place]-and-[tens] place construction occurs frequently in these stories, and is employed by the uneducated and tradesmen such as Mr Wilson as well as by the better educated, better heeled Holmes and Watson. As far as I can tell, however, no one today employs this construction; doing so would sound extremely strange. Around what time did this usage disappear from common parlance, and why? It seems to me that it is more efficient to say, "thirty-two" than it is to say, "two and thirty"; but if this is really the explanation, why did such a construction ever enjoy currency to begin with?

marked as duplicate by StoneyB, Community Jul 24 '16 at 19:24

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