Cardinal Numbers

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

Cardinal Numbers in English Language

What Are Cardinal Numbers?

Cardinal numbers are numbers used to represent the quantity or count of things, people, or objects. They are used for counting and measuring, and are the most basic type of numbers.

How to Say Numbers: 0-10

The following table shows how the cardinal numbers between 1 and 10 are expressed:

Numbers Wrtitten Form
0 zero
1 one
2 two
3 three
4 four
5 five
6 six
7 seven
8 eight
9 nine
10 ten

Number 0

The number 0 has many names:

  • zero

When we talk about the number itself or when we are reading percentages and decimals, we say zero.

Example How to Read
.02 point-zero-two
0.8% zero-point-eight percent
a number greater than or equal to 0. greater than or equal to zero.
  1. oh

'Oh' is another name for the number 0. It is used when saying phone numbers, years, addresses, temperatures, time, etc.

Example How to Read
Address 709 Main St seven-oh-nine Main Street
Time 4:05 four-oh-five
Phone number 555-4307 five-five-five-four-three-oh-seven
Temperature 306F three-oh-six Fahrenheit
  • nil

Nil is used in sports scores.

Germany sent Spain home after a 4-nil victory.

  • nought

Nought is the British English equivalent of zero. It is used instead of zero in several ways.

A million is 1 with 6 noughts after it.

  • love

'Love' is the name of the number zero in tennis scores.

How to Say Numbers: 11-20

cardinal numbers

Eleven, twelve, and twenty have individual forms. But other numbers from 14 to 19 have a similar pattern. Please note the peculiarities of spelling. Let's get to it:

cardinal number + teen

  • four + teen → fourteen
  • six + teen → sixteen
  • seven + teen → seventeen
  • nine + teen → nineteen

Exceptions in spelling:

  1. three + teen → thirteen
  2. five + teen → fifteen
  3. eight + teen → eighteen
Numbers Written Form
11 eleven
12 twelve
13 thirteen
14 fourteen
15 fifteen
16 sixteen
17 seventeen
18 eighteen
19 nineteen
20 twenty

How to Say Numbers: The Tens

The tens have special names which you should memorize, however, they have a pattern. Please note the exceptions in spelling. Let's get to it:

cardinal number + ty

  • six + ty → sixty
  • seven + ty → seventy
  • nine + ty → ninety

Exceptions in spelling:

  • three + ty → thirty
  • four + ty → forty
  • five + ty → fifty
  • eight + ty → eighty
Numbers Written Form
30 thirty
40 forty
50 fifty
60 sixty
70 seventy
80 eighty
90 ninety

How to Say Numbers: 21-99

After 20, use the tens (twenty, thirty, etc.) followed by numbers one through nine.
Hyphenate all compound numbers between twenty-one and ninety-nine.

Numbers Written Form
21 twenty-one
22 twenty-two
23 twenty-three
24 twenty-four
25 twenty-five
26 twenty-six
27 twenty-seven
28 twenty-eight
29 twenty-nine

Look at some more examples:

  • 33 → thirty-three
  • 98 → ninety-eight
  • 54 → fifty-four
  • 76 → seventy-six
  • 42 → forty-two

How to Say Numbers: Three-digit Numbers

For 100, we can either use the definite article 'a' or 'one'.

  • one hundred
  • a hundred

For three-digit numbers, use the following pattern:

numbers one through nine + hundred + (and) + cardinal numbers

Numbers Written Form
255 Two hundred fifty-five
813 Eight hundred thirteen
309 Three hundred and nine
476 Four hundred seventy-six
507 Five hundred seven
684 Six hundred eighty four
799 Seven hundred ninety-nine


Do not pluralize 'hundred,' 'thousand, etc.

300 → three hundred (Not 'three hundreds')

4,000 → four thousand (Not 'four thousands')

How to Say Numbers: Four-digit Numbers

Four-digit numbers are formed using any digits from 0-9, but the number should begin with digit 1 or a number greater than 1. To write numbers beyond 1,000 (one thousand) you can follow the same pattern as the three-digit numbers:


When writing four-digit numbers, we use a comma to separate the thousands place from the hundreds place. This is because the comma indicates the end of the first period (ones) and the beginning of the second period (thousands). For example, 3210 is written as 3,210.

Numbers Written Form
3,467 three thousand four hundred sixty-seven
7,843 seven thousand eight hundred forty-three
3,485 three thousand four hundred eighty-five
1,209 one thousand two hundred nine
4,581 four thousand five hundred eighty one
5,673 five thousand six hundred seventy-three

How to Say Numbers: Five-digit Numbers

In math, every digit in a number has a place value. Place value is the value of a digit in a number on the basis of its position in the number. Understanding the place value of digits in numbers helps in writing numbers in their expanded form.

Tens of thousands Thousands Hundreds Tens Ones
2 4 5 6 8

In 24568:

  • 2 is in ten thousands place and its place value is 20,000
  • 4 is in thousands place and its place value is 4,000
  • 5 is in hundreds place and its place value is 500
  • 6 is in tens place and its place value is 60
  • 8 is in ones place and its place value is 8

How to Say Numbers: Six-digits and Higher

The International numeral system is used worldwide in which we count in the order of ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, hundred thousands, millions, and so on. In this place value chart, the numbers are grouped into periods of ones, thousands, millions, and so on, and they are separated by a comma every 3 digits, starting from the right side.

places number of digits
Millions hundred millions 9
ten millions 8
millions 7
Thousands hundred thousands 6
ten thousands 5
thousands 4
Ones hundreds 3
tens 2
ones 1
  • 2,450,000 – two million four hundred fifty thousand
  • 27,805,234 - twenty-seven million eight hundred five thousands two hundred thirty-four
  • 934,700,000 – nine hundred thirty-four million seven hundred thousand
  • 589,432,420 - five hundred eighty-nine million four hundred thirty-two thousand four hundred twenty

Names of Large Numbers

  • Million
  • Billion
  • Trillion
  • Quadrillion
  • Quintillion
  • Sextillion
  • Septillion
  • Octillion
  • Nonillion
  • Decillion


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