# What is the correct way to express the ordinal form of a large number?

If I want to express...

The 1114th person

...with the number in words, would it be best to do...

The one thousand, one hundred and fourteenth person

...or hyphenated...

The one-thousand-one-hundred-and-fourteenth person

...or something else?

• If not closed as a duplicate, this will, at least, restart the debate about whether 'and' is necessary. Commented Jul 19, 2011 at 23:16
• – user10893
Commented Jul 19, 2011 at 23:39

Given that you're stepping into informal or discursive writing by spelling out a numeral (although I can think of lots of good examples when you'd want to do that, for instance, childrens' literature, poetry, speech-writing-- "wrong" only applies when you're talking about strict formal writing, and even there the point at which one flips into using digits varies by style-guide) I would say you can use either, depending on what tone you want this part of your writing to have.

If you go with the hyphens, the 'and' is not strictly necessary.

• I agree with @ickydog that the use of hypens and ordinals and numerals varies strongly with the formatting style you are writing within the parameters of. Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 17:44

First of all, I don't think this being the ordinal form affects the issue at all, it's the same if you are talking about "1426" or "1426th."

There are commonly used conventions about how to express numbers: http://www.writersblock.ca/tips/monthtip/tipaug96.htm

The most pertinent to this question being, "Spell out the whole numbers one through nine. Write other numbers using digits."

So, spelling such a long number out in words is "wrong" (or rather, unconventional) so talking about which form is the "least wrong" isn't all that fruitful.

• I wonder why "nine" is suggested as a cut-off, rather than e.g. "ten" or "twelve"? It seems that the numbers 10, 11, and 12, are more often used in ways similar to numbers one through nine (especially in places that use twelve-hour time) than in ways similar to larger arithmetic quantities. Commented Oct 15, 2012 at 18:08
• @supercat : I was taught "single digits in words" by my father (who wrote scientific academic papers). A friend of mine who amongst her varied employments was at one point a copy editor was taught "numbers up to twelve in words". The conclusion is that "it varies". Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 12:24