I googled "500,000 in English" then I got five hundred thousand.

I wonder, if we say...five dogs then why five hundred thousand?

Actually, in my view, it should've been called as: five hundreds thousands

What's the reason behind all this?

  • 2
    Five hundred thousands is grammatical, and you will sometimes find that kind of usage (particularly) in literary contexts. It's just that English speakers don't normally say it. Language is what it is, not what somebody thinks it should be. In most langauges the grammar of numbers is distinct from other parts of the grammar. – Colin Fine Jul 8 '20 at 9:49
  • Is five hundreds thousands not true? – user385019 Jul 8 '20 at 9:50
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    What do you mean by "not true"? Or do you mean "not correct"? "I have a dog" is not true but it is correct. "I has kitchen" is true but it is not correct. "I has a dog" is neither true nor correct. "I am typing this" is both true and correct. – RegDwigнt Jul 8 '20 at 9:58
  • Is five hundreds thousands not correct? No. (and true and correct mean different things.) In basic terms, "[two/five/etc.] hundred thousand" is either a noun or an adjective "A/One hundred thousand" (compound noun)" is the number "100,000". It is singular or plural: "Fifty thousand times two equals one hundred thousand" Adjectives do not have a plural, so they will always be singular: Five hundred thousand soldiers attacked the town. – Greybeard Jul 8 '20 at 10:07
  • Why is "five hundreds thousands" not correct to be said...(when used as a noun!) – user385019 Jul 8 '20 at 10:12

If you're going straight by the grammatical terms, then both are technically correct, just depending on the case in which you are using it.

If you are referring to individual thousands, and multiples of that, then you could refer to it as five hundred thousands.

However, when we talk in everyday language, when we say five hundred thousand we are not referring to five hundred individual thousands, but rather the number five hundred thousand on its own. Therefore, you'll here that more commonly.

They both are referring to the same number, it just depends on whether you're taking a multiple of one term or an individual other term.

  • Supporting references, please? – Edwin Ashworth Jul 8 '20 at 14:28
  • We had a talk about a similar topic in my high school english class. This is similar to what the teachers and students came to a consensus on. – amogh7joshi Jul 8 '20 at 14:40
  • Please look at the Help Center for advice on how to write a good answer on ELU. Guests and contributors should not be expected to gauge the authoritativeness of an answer. Answers without linked and attributed references can come across as, and sometimes are, mere opinion. // In this case, note that Colin has already said much the same as the above, but, not adding a reference (perhaps because he thought the question needed to show signs of research), he did not graduate to an 'answer'. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 8 '20 at 14:46
  • Ok, that makes sense. (I couldn't make a comment because I do not have the reputation for that). But thanks for letting me know. – amogh7joshi Jul 8 '20 at 14:56
  • @Artificial On the other hand, we say I have thousands of dollars, meaning an unspecified amount of money that's a multiple of 1,000. In the same sense, we could say (although we don't), I have five-hundred thousands of dollars, which would mean an unspecified amount of money that's a multiple of 500,000 (i.e., millions). However, in the context of the question, the actual amount is specified, so that would not be correct in either a logical or idiomatic sense. (Even though the grammar itself remains sound.) – Jason Bassford Jul 8 '20 at 15:09

When the quantity is specified as in five hundred thousand then the phrase is an exact number and numbers are always written in the singular. For instance five hundred and ten thousand six hundred and two.

We do use the plural form but only when speaking in terms of orders of magnitude, not exact numbers, and then we insert "of" between the order of magnitude and the units being discussed. For example "Hundreds of thousands of people are suffering from Covid-19 but millions of people are probably carrying the virus without displaying serious symptoms". The second phrase of people can be omitted giving "...millions are probably carrying..." but if the unit is present it is always preceded by "of".

A similar example would be "Hundreds of cars park here every day. But if we were being more exact we would say "More than a hundred cars park here every day". Note that the "hundred" is an exact number even though the actual number of cars is not and that there is no "of" before "cars".

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