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Is there such a fraction in English as: "1/1024th" and if so, how is it pronounced? I can't image we say: "One thousand and twenty fourth" Maybe the correct way is to write it without the "th" and say something like: "a probability of one divided by one thousand and twenty four".

closed as primarily opinion-based by Jason Bassford, tchrist Mar 24 at 16:14

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  • 2
    As a fraction, I can't imagine anything other than "one one-thousand-and-twenty-fourth", because that is how fractions are read. As a probability (or proportion), I would say "one in one thousand and twenty four". – user323578 Mar 20 at 8:39
  • A probability would be more likely to be expressed as a percentage, I think — even approximately, like 0.1%. Fractions are standard ordinals (except for half and quarter, and even there "fourth" is not unheard of). – Andrew Leach Mar 20 at 8:41
  • 1
    I would say "one [pause] thousand and twenty fourth" or "a thousand and twenty fourth". I'm from Southern England. – Tim Foster Mar 20 at 10:41
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    Side note: I might hear "one ten-twenty-fourth" as a shorthand, a habit perhaps traced to reading clock time or years, where we don't say "two thousand nineteen" but "twenty-nineteen." – TaliesinMerlin Mar 20 at 13:11
  • I would say "one one-thousand-and-twenty-fourth." I'm Canadian. – Jason Bassford Mar 20 at 15:59
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Notice there's a general difference between BrE and AmE in speaking numbers, specifically with saying the word "and":

In American English, many students are taught not to use the word and anywhere in the whole part of a number, so it is not used before the tens and ones. It is instead used as a verbal delimiter when dealing with compound numbers. Thus, instead of "three hundred and seventy-three," "three hundred seventy-three" would be said. Despite this rule, some Americans use the and in reading numbers containing tens and ones as an alternative variant. English numerals

You can also see some comparisons at mathisfun.com

US
1,101 one thousand, one hundred one
UK
one thousand, one hundred and one
US
15,016 fifteen thousand, sixteen
UK
fifteen thousand, and sixteen
(No hundreds? Don't write them! but the and is still needed in the UK)

It should really say BrE instead of UK, because the "and" is used more widely across the world than just the UK.

When reading a fraction the first number (numerator) is stated as a cardinal number, one, two, twenty-seven.

The second number (denominator) can be stated as either a cardinal number or an ordinal number. Here are a number of alternatives (don't forget the "and" difference between BrE and AmE generally)

1/1024 or 1/1024th (assuming this notation even makes sense, which I'm not sure it does) can be said (and this is not exhaustive):

  • One one thousand and twenty fourth - ordinal
  • One in one thousand and twenty four - cardinal
  • One part in one thousand and twenty four - cardinal
  • One over one thousand and twenty four - cardinal

If you are talking probability you'll probably want to go for the second one.

  • The probability of that is one in one thousand and twenty four

You can also say:

  • That has a one one thousand and twenty fourth chance of happening

just as you'd say:

  • That has a one twelfth chance of happening.

However I think the "[cardinal] in [cardinal]" construction would be more ideal and clear.

Statements where very large numbers are stated as ordinals can be unnecessarily more difficult to say.

  • 128/5,353,958

One hundred and twenty-eight (five million three hundred and fifty three thousand, nine hundred and fifty eighths).

Again, don't forget the "and" difference, and notice the:

-th suffix
Used to form ordinal numbers: millionth.
American Heritage Dictionary

Only appears on the last number.

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I believe that the way you would approach the pronunciation of such a fraction would depend on the context in which it was being used.

If used purely as a fraction in a Mathematical context, "one one-thousand-and-twenty-fourth" would be appropriate. Unfortunately, the denominator is rather long and the expression may sound confusing.

So I would suggest you express the fraction like so:

one over one-thousand-and-twenty-four

With the "over" indicating that division is the mode of mathematical operation being used.

Alternatively, if the fraction was being used as odds in the context of Probability, you could express it as:

one in one-thousand-and-twenty-four

or as a percentage:

0.0977% (rounded to 3 significant figures)

If expressing an exact value is not necessary, you could round the denominator to a thousand. Thus becoming:

approximately one one-thousandth

  • @David Toh Thanks for your answer. Is it consistent for both N. American and European English? – Baz Mar 20 at 9:14
  • @Baz As in English and American English? I do believe it is consistent. – David Toh Mar 20 at 9:17
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Using "one part in" is often useful to avoid ambiguity. Here you could say "one part in a thousand and twenty four" (British - Americans would drop the "and").

In this specific case it may actually be more instructive to say "one part in two to the ten" (or even "... power of ten") as you've almost certainly got to this fraction from a 10-bit value of some sort. You could also use "one over two to the ten" (or "one over one oh two four").

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