Writing Numbers

Quick tips for writing numbers in English…

A tourist writing down numbers on the bridge in front of Big Ben.

Did you know that in English, when we are talking about a definite number of hundreds, thousands and millions, we use the singular form of the words: i.e. HUNDRED, THOUSAND and MILLION.
For example: Three hundred people applied for the job.
The King Ranch is an eight hundred and twenty-five thousand acre ranch in Texas.
During the reign of Queen Victoria there were four hundred million people living in the British Empire.
When the number is indefinite, however, we make it plural and add the word of. For example: There are millions of stars in the sky.
Hundreds of people take to the streets during Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Thousands of people in the south-west are unemployed at present.

 

Some other rules for writing numbers:

  • Don’t mix written numbers and numerical digits in the same document.
    For example: “They cost 10 euros here but only five in the other shop”.
    This is wrong! Either write both the numbers out in full, or put them both as figures (digits).
  • When writing about the time of day, spell out the number when it is followed by o’clock, but use figures when it is followed by am or pm.
    For example: Four o’clock in the afternoon, or 4pm.
  • When starting a sentence with a number, it should be written out in full.
    For example: Thirty five people were waiting at the bus stop.
  • Use Cardinal numbers when talking about an amount:
    For example: There are twenty people in my class at school.
  • But use Ordinal numbers when talking about the position in a series:
    For example: Out of the twenty people in my class, I came fifth in the exam.

 

Related Content:

Rules for Writing Numbers
Word Reference – Writing Numbers.
 

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