English numerals

Arabic numerals set in Source Sans

English number words include numerals and various words derived from them, as well as a large number of words borrowed from other languages.

Cardinal numbers

Cardinal numbers refer to the size of a group. In English, these words are numerals.

0 zero (nought) 10 ten    
1 one 11 eleven    
2 two 12 twelve (a dozen) 20 twenty (a score)
3 three 13 thirteen 30 thirty
4 four 14 fourteen 40 forty (no "u")
5 five 15 fifteen (note "f", not "v") 50 fifty (note "f", not "v")
6 six 16 sixteen 60 sixty
7 seven 17 seventeen 70 seventy
8 eight 18 eighteen (only one "t") 80 eighty (only one "t")
9 nine 19 nineteen 90 ninety (note the "e")

If a number is in the range 21 to 99, and the second digit is not zero, the number is typically written as two words separated by a hyphen.

21 twenty-one
25 twenty-five
32 thirty-two
58 fifty-eight
64 sixty-four
79 seventy-nine
83 eighty-three
99 ninety-nine

In English, the hundreds are perfectly regular, except that the word hundred remains in its singular form regardless of the number preceding it.

100 one hundred
200 two hundred
900 nine hundred

So too are the thousands, with the number of thousands followed by the word "thousand".

1,000 one thousand
2,000 two thousand
10,000 ten thousand or (rarely used) a myriad, which usually means an indefinitely large number.
11,000 eleven thousand
20,000 twenty thousand
21,000 twenty-one thousand
30,000 thirty thousand
85,000 eighty-five thousand
100,000 one hundred thousand or one lakh (Indian English)
999,000 nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand (inclusively British English, Irish English, Australian English, and New Zealand English)
nine hundred ninety-nine thousand (American English)
1,000,000 one million
10,000,000 ten million or one crore (Indian English)

In American usage, four-digit numbers are often named using multiples of "hundred" and combined with tens and ones: "eleven hundred three", "twelve hundred twenty-five", "four thousand forty-two", or "ninety-nine hundred ninety-nine." In British usage, this style is common for multiples of 100 between 1,000 and 2,000 (e.g. 1,500 as "fifteen hundred") but not for higher numbers.

Americans may pronounce four-digit numbers with non-zero tens and ones as pairs of two-digit numbers without saying "hundred" and inserting "oh" for zero tens: "twenty-six fifty-nine" or "forty-one oh five". This usage probably evolved from the distinctive usage for years; "nineteen-eighty-one", or from four-digit numbers used in the American telephone numbering system which were originally two letters followed by a number followed by a four-digit number, later by a three-digit number followed by the four-digit number. It is avoided for numbers less than 2500 if the context may mean confusion with time of day: "ten ten" or "twelve oh four".

Intermediate numbers are read differently depending on their use. Their typical naming occurs when the numbers are used for counting. Another way is for when they are used as labels. The second column method is used much more often in American English than British English. The third column is used in British English but rarely in American English (although the use of the second and third columns is not necessarily directly interchangeable between the two regional variants). In other words, British English and American English can seemingly agree, but it depends on a specific situation (in this example, bus numbers).[citation needed]

Common British vernacular Common American vernacular Common British vernacular
"How many marbles do you have?" "What is your house number?" "Which bus goes to the High Street?"
101 "A hundred and one." "One-oh-one."
Here, "oh" is used for the digit zero.
109 "A hundred and nine." "One-oh-nine." "One-oh-nine."
110 "A hundred and ten." "One-ten." "One-one-oh."
117 "A hundred and seventeen." "One-seventeen." "One-one-seven."
120 "A hundred and twenty." "One-twenty." "One-two-oh", "One-two-zero."
152 "A hundred and fifty-two." "One-fifty-two." "One-five-two."
208 "Two hundred and eight." "Two-oh-eight." "Two-oh-eight."
394 "Three hundred and ninety-four." "Three-ninety-four." "Three-ninety-four." or "Three-nine-four."

Note: When a cheque (or check) is written, the number 100 is always written "one hundred". It is never "a hundred".

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.

Very large numbers

For numbers above a million, three main systems name numbers in English (for the use of prefixes such as kilo- for a thousand, mega- for a million, milli- for a thousandth, etc. see SI units):

  • the long scale (formerly used in British English but now less so) designates a system of numeric names in which a thousand million is called a milliard, and billion is used for a million million. This system is still used in several other European languages.
  • the short scale (always used in American English and almost invariably in British English) designates a system of numeric names in which a thousand million is called a billion, and the word milliard is not used.
  • the Indian numbering system, used widely in South Asia.

Many people have no direct experience of manipulating numbers this large, and many non-American readers may interpret billion as 1012 (even if they are young enough to have been taught otherwise at school); moreover, usage of the "long" billion is standard in some non-English speaking countries. For these reasons, defining the word may be advisable when writing for the public.

Number notation Power
Short scale Long scale Indian
(or South Asian) English
1,000,000 106 one million one million ten lakh
1,000,000,000 109 one billion
a thousand million
one milliard
a thousand million
one hundred crore
(one arab)
1,000,000,000,000 1012 one trillion
a thousand billion
one billion
a million million
one lakh crore
(ten kharab)
1,000,000,000,000,000 1015 one quadrillion
a thousand trillion
one billiard
a thousand billion
ten crore crore
(one padm)
1,000,000,000,000,000,000 1018 one quintillion
a thousand quadrillion
one trillion
a million billion
ten thousand crore crore
(ten shankh)
1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 1021 one sextillion
a thousand quintillion
one trilliard
a thousand trillion
one crore crore crore

The numbers past one trillion in the short scale system, in ascending powers of 1000, are as follows: quadrillion, quintillion, sextillion, septillion, octillion, nonillion, decillion, undecillion, duodecillion, tredecillion, quattuordecillion, quindecillion, sexdecillion, septendecillion, octodecillion, novemdecillion and vigintillion (which is 10 to the 63rd power, or a one followed by 63 zeros). The highest number in this series listed in modern dictionaries is centillion, which is 10 to the 303rd power.[1] The interim powers of one thousand between vigintillion and centillion do not have standardized names, nor do any higher powers, but there are many ad hoc extensions in use. The highest number listed in Robert Munafo's table of such unofficial names[2] is milli-millillion, which was coined as a name for 10 to the 3,000,003rd power.

The googolplex was often cited as the largest named number in English. If a googol is ten to the one hundredth power, then a googolplex is one followed by a googol of zeros (that is, ten to the power of a googol).[3] There is the coinage, of very little use, of ten to the googolplex power, of the word googolplexplex.

The terms arab, kharab, padm and shankh are more commonly found in old books on Indian mathematics.

Here are some approximate composite large numbers in American English:

Quantity Written Pronounced
1,200,000 1.2 million one point two million
3,000,000 3 million three million
250,000,000 250 million two hundred fifty million
6,400,000,000 6.4 billion six point four billion
23,380,000,000 23.38 billion twenty-three point three eight billion

Often, large numbers are written with (preferably non-breaking) half-spaces or thin spaces separating the thousands (and, sometimes, with normal spaces or apostrophes) instead of commas—to ensure that confusion is not caused in countries where a decimal comma is used. Thus, a million is often written 1 000 000.

In some areas, a point (. or ·) may also be used as a thousands separator, but then, the decimal separator must be a comma (,). In English the point (.) is used as the decimal separator, and the comma (,) as the thousands separator.