Numbers in English

English Vocabulary

There are two main types of numbers:

Cardinal Numbers - 1 (one), 2 (two) etc. (Used mainly for counting)

Ordinal Numbers - 1st (first), 2nd (second) etc. (Used mainly for putting things in a sequence)

Cardinal Numbers

Cardinal numbers are normally used when you:

Notice how we divide the year into two parts. This is the form for year up to 1999. For the year 2000 and on, we say two thousand (2000), two thousand and one (2001), two thousand and two (2002) etc.

Ordinal Numbers

You can normally create Ordinal numbers by adding -TH to the end of a Cardinal Number.

Ordinal numbers are normally used when you:

Cardinal Numbers

* Instead of saying One Hundred, you can say A hundred.

e.g. (127) one hundred and twenty-seven OR (127) a hundred and twenty-seven.

The same rule applies for one thousand (a thousand) and one million (a million)

Notice that you need to use a hyphen (-) when you write the numbers between 21 and 99.

With long numbers, we usually divide them into groups of three which are divided by a comma. e.g. 5000000 (5 million) is normally written as 5,000,000

List of all numbers from 1 to 100

Ordinal Numbers

The Number 0

We normally say 'zero' for the number '0'.

BUT when we give our telephone number, we often say O like the name of the letter O.

e.g. 505-1023 = five-O-five, one-O-two-three

Fractions and Decimals

We use ordinal numbers (at the end position) to talk about fractions.

Notice that for 1/4, you can say a quarter OR a fourth.

IF we have a whole number with a fraction, we use the word AND between the two parts.
e.g. 2 3/5 = two and a three-fifths

For parts of whole numbers, we use a decimal point (and NOT a comma).
e.g. 2 1/2 (two and a half) = 2.5 (two point five)

If there is more than one number after the decimal point, we say each number individually.
e.g. 3,456.789 = three thousand, four hundred and fifty-six point seven eight nine.

The exception to this rule is when we are talking about dollars and cents (or pound and pence)
e.g. $21.95 = twenty-one dollars, ninety-five (cents). Saying the word cents at the end is optional.

Next Activities

Try our interactive game about the numbers from 1-100 in English or our Numbers Spelling Game.

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