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I hear from indian colleagues

my TeamViewer password is six, nine, double-eight (to say 6988)


my telephonenumber is three, five, four, triple-nine, six, double-eight, two, one (to say 3549996882)

My queestion is: using

double N


Triple M

is it correct?

I would like to know if it is common in the US and UK too.

marked as duplicate by TimLymington, Mitch, AndyT, bookmanu, jimm101 Sep 20 '18 at 17:48

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  • 1
    It's colloquial, but if it's clear and understandable, there's nothing wrong with doing it. I generally will not do this, simply to avoid misunderstanding; the exception is that sequences ending in 00 or 000 will often be phrased "...hundred" or "...thousand". – Jeff Zeitlin Sep 18 '18 at 14:23
  • thanks. If the scope of the comunication is tell a number for sure it is right, but what i mean is this colloquial form used also in US and UK? – user193655 Sep 18 '18 at 14:35
  • 1
    Yes; I'm in the US, and it's common - but I personally don't do it except as noted above. – Jeff Zeitlin Sep 18 '18 at 14:43
  • Your question doesn't make any sense. Correct does not mean that something is not slang. Slang does not mean incorrect. Slang is s specialized vocabulary of expressions like twenty-three skidoo. Correct and slang have nothing to do with one another, so you've committed a category error here that renders your question unanswerable in its current state of confusion. – tchrist Sep 18 '18 at 14:54
  • @tchrist i accepted your comment and modified my question – user193655 Sep 18 '18 at 15:11

It's not uncommon to use double, triple, and so forth to indicate a repeated character. This may be frowned upon in some environments where consistency and accuracy are highly valued, when each digit tends to be read individually, for example in financial trading, in aviation, or in military operations. This is also far less common among Americans than Britons— for numbers, at least; we do not have such hangups when it comes to letters (the NCAA is most often the en see double A or en see two A, and the AAA is invariably triple A).

The YouTube channel Numberphile covered this a few years ago in a video entitled British Numbers confuse Americans. In the first example, a British person saying the phone extension 8844 aloud might say double eight double four, whereas an American might say eighty-eight forty-four, and each sounds distinctly foreign to the other. This would go even more so for a number like 8448, which would commonly be read aloud as eighty-four forty-eight in the U.S.; eight double four eight would be unexpected to the point of being slightly disorienting.

This goes even more so for numbers or codes that have a conventional formatting pattern. A North American phone number is usually divided up as nnn-nnn-nnnn. A French phone number, also ten digits, is on the other hand nn-nn-nn-nn-nn. Use one pattern in the other locale and you will wrong-foot your conversation partner. Indian phone numbers seem to use longer sequences of numbers, so perhaps there is no expectation that reading it should follow a certain cadence.

Americans also tend to read numbers ending in 00 as hundred and 000 as thousand; thus, American Airlines' phone number 817-967-2000 will commonly be read as eight one seven, nine six seven, two thousand, although I'd wager you'll encounter two zero zero zero or two oh oh oh long before you find someone who says two triple zero.

In my personal experience, double and triple in the US is most commonly encountered for certain ZIP (postal) codes. When a television show invites you to join the studio audience, the announcer might read off an address to write in Brentwood, Los Angeles, nine double oh four nine.


Yes, this is reasonably common in the UK and from the comments above in the US.

My old area code used to start with 0113, which would be pronounced "oh-double one-three."

Using "double" or "triple" can make it more clear that you're not repeating yourself unintentionally, particularly if the discussion is taking place where it's difficult to hear clearly, a busy road or poor quality phone connection.

Needless to say, as with many things this sort of usage has fallen out of fashion now that phone numbers or often passed by text messaging services or contact card exchange.

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