by Liz Walter
In my last post One thousand one hundred and ninety three: how to say numbers (1) I looked at how to say large numbers. In this post I will look at other types of numbers: mathematical numbers, telephone numbers, and years in dates.
I’ll start with words we need for talking about numbers in the context of mathematics.
For decimal numbers, we use the word point for the dot, and we say the numbers after the point separately:
3.2 three point two
9.18 nine point one eight
55.39 fifty-five point three nine
For fractions, we use the word and before the fraction.
2 ½ two and a half
1 ¾ one and three quarters
⅘ four fifths
6 ⅞ six and seven eighths
For fractions containing numbers over 9, we use the word over and we say the numbers as full numbers, not separately:
15/33 fifteen over thirty-three
42 four squared
153 fifteen cubed
For other numbers, we say to the power (of):
319 three to the power of nineteen
147 fourteen to the power of seven
-850 minus eight hundred and fifty/negative eight hundred and fifty
-1.3 minus one point three/negative one point three
Another form of numbers we often need to say aloud is telephone numbers. We say all the numbers separately, and we often pause in the middle of a long set of numbers. For the number 0, you can say zero or oh /əʊ/:
01283 569904 zero one two eight three, five six nine, nine zero four
In British English, when two numbers next to each other are the same, we sometimes say double:
01223 455933 zero/oh one double two three, four double five, nine double three
Finally, let’s look at years and how we pronounce them when we say them aloud.
1500/1900 fifteen hundred/nineteen hundred
2000 (the year) two thousand
1904 nineteen hundred and four/nineteen oh four
2005 two thousand and five/twenty oh five
1945 nineteen forty-five
2016 two thousand and sixteen/twenty sixteen
Numbers are an important part of the language, and it can be difficult to know how to use them in different contexts. I hope these two posts have helped.