# 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.

## When to Spell Out Numbers?

Some people have difficulty deciding whether to express numbers in **words or figures**. There are some general rules that we are going to discuss here. However, pay attention that __not__ all these rules are applicable in all contexts.

## Numbers 1-9

Small numbers (from one to nine) should be spelled out.

I have

It is generally recommended to write cardinal numbers up to ten in **words**, __except__ when telling the time.

We have

It's

## Numbers Above Ten

Numbers above ten are usually written using **numerals** rather than words.

I was only

I live in a small town

## Starting Sentences with Numbers

When a number __begins a sentence__, spell it out in words, regardless of its value.

~~18~~ bullets were fired.)

However, when the number at the beginning of the sentence denotes a **year**, you can use numerals.

### Tip!

Note that in __headlines__, you *can* begin a sentence with numbers.

## Ordinal Numbers

Ordinal Numbers should be written in words, __except__ when you are writing out **dates**.

I finished the match on the ~~3rd~~place.)

the ~~1st~~ officer)

She was born on July ~~fourth~~.

## Consecutive Numbers

Consecutive numbers can look slightly confusing to the reader. To avoid this confusion, always __spell out__ **one of the two numbers**. For example:

I adopted ~~5~~ 6-month-old kittens' or ~~five~~ ~~six~~-month-old kittens')

## Time And Date

You can use numerals to express time:

The train arrives at

But, some people spell out the time and use **o'clock**.

I got up at

When expressing dates, use figures.

the 21th of May, 2009

**Decades** can be expressed both in written forms and figures. When you want to write decades in figures, put an **apostrophe** __before__ the incomplete numeral and __no__ apostrophe between the number and the 's'.

During the ~~90s~~ or ~~90's~~)

You can also write out decades in complete numerals. But again, do __not__ put an apostrophe between the year and the 's'.

During the ~~1990's~~)

## Sums of Money

When you are writing out sums of *less than a dollar*, you do __not__ need to use a decimal point or a dollar sign.

I only had

When you use a dollar, euro, or pound symbol, do __not__ add the word 'dollar, euro, or pound' after the number.

She has $2,360 in her account.

When writing out a *three or more digit* number, it is __not__ necessary to use the word 'and'. But, you can use 'and' to express decimal points accompanying these numbers.

six thousand three hundred thirty dollars

two thousand three hundred sixty-two dollars

### Tip!

Americans sometimes read numbers such as 1300, 1400, and 3100 as thirteen hundred, fourteen hundred, or thirty-one hundred. This is just to shorten the words and is __not__ grammatically correct.

## Technical and Scientific Texts

In technical writing, it is recommended to express numbers used with measurements of **time or distance** using __figures__ rather than words.

2 years, 4 weeks, 6 meters, etc.

Normally, any number that expresses an important value must be written in __figures__. When the number is not very important it can be written in words.

The silicon trees are only

### Warning

Even in technical writing, do __not__ begin sentences with numerals. Either write the number in words or rephrase the sentence so that the sentence does __not__ start with a number.

## Decimals and Fractions

Write out fractions and use hyphens and the word 'and' to separate the numbers.

We will have a

Units of measurement should always be expressed as numerals.

The baby was only

One foot is equal to

To read the decimal numbers, __after the decimal point__, we should read out numbers **digit by digit**, not as a compound number.

1.25

One __point__ two five

0.52

zero __point__ five two

1.023

one __point__ zero two three

12.025

twelve __point__ zero two five

Remember that in English, a decimal point is used for decimal numbers and a comma is used to separate thousand:

12.236

twelve point two three six

12,236

twelve thousand and two hundred thirty six

### Tip

Informally, the capital letter **K** is sometimes used to express **one thousand**. There is no space between the numeral and the letter K.

I've just reached

## Roman Numerals

Roman numerals originated in ancient Rome and are still used for writing numbers. Numbers in this system are expressed by combinations of letters from the Latin alphabet.

### Tip!

We use Roman numerals to distinguish between kings and queens who have the same name as a predecessor.

Henry

Louis

## How To Write Numbers With Roman Numerals?

All the numbers in the Roman numeral system are made from only seven symbols. With these seven symbols, you can write every number you want.

Symbol | Meaning |
---|---|

I | 1 |

V | 5 |

X | 10 |

L | 50 |

C | 100 |

D | 500 |

M | 1000 |

Different arrangements of these seven symbols represent different numbers. For example:

We can put the symbols in descending order from left to right and add numbers together. If we add all of the numbers' values together, we get the represented number. For example:

XXVI is 10 + 10 + 5 + 1 = 26

XXXIII is 10 + 10 + 10 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 33

We can also put the symbol with a smaller value on the left side of the one with a larger value and subtract the value of the smaller symbol from that of the larger symbol to get the total value. For example:

IV is 5 – 1 = 4

IX is 10 - 1 = 9

Take a look at the table below to see more examples:

Number | Roman Letter |
---|---|

1 | I |

2 | II |

3 | III |

4 | IV |

5 | V |

6 | VI |

7 | VII |

8 | VIII |

9 | IX |

10 | X |

20 | XX |

30 | XXX |

40 | XL |

50 | L |

60 | LX |

70 | LXX |

80 | LXXX |

90 | XC |

100 | C |

200 | CC |

300 | CCC |

400 | CD |

500 | D |

600 | DC |

700 | DCC |

800 | DCCC |

900 | CM |

1000 | M |

5000 | V̅ |

10000 | X̅ |

## Phone Numbers

In English, to tell a phone number, we need to say every number individually. Let's see an example:

675 - 391 - 782 → six, seven, five - three, nine, one - seven, eight, two

we say each number individually.

If there is a 'zero' in the phone number, it is more commonly expressed as 'oh' instead of 'zero'.

670 - 391 - 782 → six, seven,

If there are two numbers repeated in the phone number, we can say **"doube+number"**. And if the number is repeated three times we can say **"triple+number"**.

675 - 3

double

675 -

triple

## Two and More Digit Numbers in Addresses

To say the number of apartments (this can be an apartment number, villa number, hotel room number, house number, or even a street with more than two digits number), first we need to look at the last two digits. When the number has only two digits, we say the number like the following examples:

Apartment #

Room #

If the number has three digits, we can either say each digit individually or say the first digit alone and the last two digits in pair; the second way is more common:

Room #

common way

Room #

If the number has four digits, we read them in pairs, we can also say them digit by digit.

Apartment #

more common

Apartment #

In case there are zeros in the number, the rules change. If the last two digits are zeros, we cannot say them separately. Therefore, we will do as the examples:

house #1500 → number

If the three-digit number has zero in the middle, we need to say the numbers digit by digit, and we pronounce the zero as 'oh'.

building #

If in a four digit-number, the second to the end number is zero, we say it as the following:

room #

Room #

### Tip!

The same rules apply to the numbers of transportation vehicles, such as bus number, taxi number, subway number, train number, flight number, etc. Here are some examples:

Bus #213 →

Taxi #105 →

Subway #1545 →

Flight number → BA

we say the two letters and then the numbers.

### Comments

###### Contents

- When to Spell Out Numbers?
- Numbers 1-9
- Numbers Above Ten
- Starting Sentences with Numbers
- Ordinal Numbers
- Consecutive Numbers
- Time And Date
- Sums of Money
- Technical and Scientific Texts
- Decimals and Fractions
- Roman Numerals
- How To Write Numbers With Roman Numerals?
- Phone Numbers
- Two and More Digit Numbers in Addresses