Numbers, Years, Length, Dates in English!


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0 is called nought in British English and zero in American English.

When saying numbers one figure at a time, 0 is often called ‘oh’ as in the letter ‘O’

  • My phone number is oh two oh one two three oh nine six.


In measurements, 0 is called zero.

  • It’s zero degrees outside.


In sports, 0 is often called nil.

  • Arsenal won the match 3- 0 (three nil).


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Use ‘a’ before consonants (a book) and ‘an’ before vowel sonds (an eagle).

Using ‘one’ is more formal than ‘a’ and ‘an’.

  • I paid a thousand pounds for this car. (informal)
  • I paid one thousand pounds for this car. (formal)

‘a’ and ‘an’ can only be used at the beginning of a number.

  • two thousand a hundred – incorrect
  • two thousand one hundred – correct


COMPOUND NUMBERS (21, 32, 43, 55 – 99)


Use hyphens (-) when writing compound numbers.

  • twenty-one
  • thirty-two
  • fifty-five
  • ninety-nine


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In British English, use ‘and’ before tens.

  • 513 five hundred and thirteen
  • 749 seven hundred and forty-nine
  • 2, 892 two thousand, eight hundred and ninety-two



Commas are used to divide large numbers into groups of three figures so that they are easier to read.

  • 1, 342, 795
  • 23, 015, 340

Spaces may be used the same way.

  • 1 342 795
  • 23 015 340



In informal English, ‘hundred’ is used with round numbers between 1,100 and 1,900.

  • I paid twelve hundred pounds for this car. (1,200 informal)
  • I paid one thousand, two hundred pounds for this car. (1,200 formal)
  • He earns fifteen hundred pounds a month. (1,500 informal)
  • He earns one thousand, five hundred pounds per month. (1,500 formal)


‘Hundreds’ is also used when referring to the first decade of a century or the whole century.

  • In the nineteen-hundreds. (1900-1909 or 1900-1999)
  • In the 1900s.
  • In the eighteen-hundreds (1800-1809 or 1800-1899)
  • In the 1800s.


DECADES ’20s, ’30s, ’40s

When referring to decades the following forms may be used.

  • My father was born in the fifties.
  • My father was born in the 1950s.
  • My father was born in the ’50s.
  • My sister is in her late twenties.
  • My sister is in her late 20s.


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Ordinal numbers are used with dates, floors, positions in competitions, centuries, kings and queens etc.

  • I was born on the first of May. I was born on May the first. (spoken)
  • I was born on 1 May. (written)
  • I live on the fourth floor.
  • She came third in the competition.
  • Shakespeare died in the seventeenth century.
  • Shakespeare died in the 17th century.
  • Henry VIII had six wives.
  • Henry the Eighth had six wives.



Use hyphens (-) and singular form (no ’s ending) in noun-noun combinations with measurements .

  • a two-mile walk
  • a three-day course
  • a ten-minute speech
  • a twenty-litre can
  • five twenty-litre cans
  • a four-person tent
  • two four-person tents
  • a sixty-kilogram dog
  • three sixty-kilogram dogs
  • a six-foot tall man




  • 1/6 (written)
  • one sixth (spoken)
  • 2/6 (written)
  • two sixths (spoken)
  • ¾ hour (written)
  • three quarters of an hour



  • 254/782 (written)
  • two hundred and fifty-four over seven hundred and eighty-two (spoken)
  • 310/3456 (written)
  • three hundred and ten over three thousand, four hundred and fifty-six



  • 0.134 (written)
  • nought point one three four (spoken)
  • 6.8 (written)
  • six point seven (spoken)


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