Numbers for intermediate learners

If math describes how the world works, numbers are the alphabet that makes math possible. In this lesson, we will discover all about them.

How to Use "Numbers" in the English Language

What are Numbers?

Numbers are symbols or words that represent quantities or values of things. Numbers are used for counting, measuring, and comparing things. We have two kinds of numbers in English: Cardinal Numbers and Ordinal Numbers.

Cardinal Numbers

Generally, when we want to count people, items, etc. we use cardinal numbers. Check out the following examples:

I have one puppy called Aco.

Sarah can afford to buy one pair of shoes, two jackets and one scarf.


Usually, these cardinal numbers come before nouns.

Numbers Bigger Than Twenty

All numbers between twenty and one hundred are hyphenated. Take a look at the following examples:

There are thirty-six tables in this hall.

He wants to add sixty-five more guests.

Numbers Bigger Than One Hundred

When we want to state numbers above one hundred, we must use a hyphen between the words that come after 'and'. Look at the examples below:

There are one hundred and forty-nine people gathered in this corner.

My room number is one hundred and seventy-three.


We can read 100 with both 'a' and 'one. Take a look:

A hundred = One Hundred

Ordinal Numbers

Just as their name suggests, ordinal numbers refer to the order of items, people, etc. in a list. Check out the following examples:

The first class will begin on Monday.

He's your second uncle.

Take a look at the following table to see how they are formed:

First Nineth
Second Tenth
Third Twentieth
Fourth Thirtieth
Fifth Forty-first
Sixth Fifty-second
Seventh Sixty-third
Eighth Seventy-fourth


Please note that from 'fourth' onward, all numbers get a 'th' at the end.


We use these Ordinal numbers in different contexts. Some of them are below:

Now, take a look at some examples below:

Edward the seventh was a former British King.

My birthday is on August the eighth.

In the nineteenth century, Gothic literature was the dominant literary genre for novel.


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Cardinal Numbers

When we want to refer to quantity, we use numbers. These numbers are called 'cardinal numbers.'

Ordinal Numbers

Imagine that you are on a list and you want to know where you are standing. To refer to that number, we use 'ordinal numbers.'

Roman Numerals

The ancient numbers that are still being used, we all have definitely seen them, let's learn them properly now.

When to Spell Out Numbers

There are many types of ways to say a number but do you know when and where to use each of them? In this lesson, we will discover more about numbers.
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