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Saying Numbers



The above are all ways of saying O in English.


We say oh     We say nought We say zero   We say nil We say love   after a decimal point in telephone numbers in bus numbers in hotel room numbers in years   before the decimal point for the number for temperature in football scores in tennis 5.03 67 01 38 No. 701 Room 206   0.02 -5° C 5 – 0 15 - 0 five point oh three six seven oh one three eight get the seven oh one I'm in room two oh six nineteen oh five   nought point oh two the number zero five degrees below zero Spain won five nil. The score is fifteen love.


We say the following:

  1. The exact figure is 0.002.
  2. Can you get back to me on 01244 249071? I'll be here all morning.
  3. Can you put that on my bill? I'm in room 804.
  4. Do we have to hold the conference in Reykjavik? It's 30 degrees below 0.
  5. What's the score? 2 –0 to Juventus.




In English, we use a point (.) and not (,) for decimals. We use commas in figures only when writing thousands.

10,001 is ten thousand and one.

When accounts are prepared on computer, commas are not used. The number appears as 82103.

10.001 is ten point oh oh one.


In English all the numbers after a

decimal point are read separately.



10.66 0.325 ten point six six nought point three two five Not ten point sixty six  

You will also hear people say:


0.05 zero point oh five or 10ˉ oh point oh five


But if the number after the decimal point is a unit of money, it is read like a normal number:

₤12.50 twelve pounds fifty DM 2.95 two marks ninety five


NB. This is very important on the phone, say nought point three seven five (0.375) and not nought point three hundred and seventy five. If the listener missed the word point, you might lose a lot of money. Say the digits separately after the point.

Now say the following:

  1. It's somewhere between 3.488 and 3.491.
  2. Look, it's less than 0.0001! It's hardly worth worrying about.
  3. I changed all those lira into sterling and I only got ₤13.60!
  4. That's about 14.50 in Swiss francs.
  5. Did you say 0.225 or 0.229?
  6. The dollar is at 1.95.
  7. No, I meant 15,005 not 15,005.




The stress is on the cent of per cent ten perCENT

Notice the following when talking about interst rates:


0.5% a half of one per cent

0.25% a quarter of a percentage point


For example:

The Bank of England raised interest rates this morning by a quarter of a percentage point.

Now say the following:


  1. What's 30% of 260?
  2. They have put the rate up by another 0.5%.
  3. 0.75% won't make a lot of difference.





In British English you hear In American English you usually hear The number 1,999 is said The year 2000 is said The year 2001 is said The year 2015     a hundred and twenty three. a hundred twenty three. one thousand nine hundred and ninety nine. the year of two thousand. two thousand and one. two thousand and fifteen or twenty fifteen.


Note: It is likely that different people will refer to the early years of the 21st century in different ways. Remember that the year 1066 is always referred to as ten sixty six –not one thousand and sixty six.


1,000,000 is a million of ten to the power of six (10°)

1,000,000,000 is a billion or ten to the power of ten (10°)


This is now common usage. British English used to be that a billion was ten to the power of twelve 10 but now everyone has accepted the current American usage.

Now say the following:


  1. Why do you say 175 in Britain? In the States we usually say 175.
  2. It's got 1001 different uses.
  3. Profit will have doubled by the year 2000.
  4. Thanks. You're one in a 1,000,000!
  5. No, that's 2,000,000,000 not 2,000,000!






10 is ten squared

10  is ten cubed

√6 is square root of 6




We usually give telephone and fax numbers as individual digits:

01273 736344 oh one two seven three, seven three six, three four four

344 can also be said as three double four

44 26 77 double four, two six, double seven

777 can be said as seven double seven or seven seven seven




Fractions are mostly like ordinal numbers (fifth, sixth, twenty third etc):


a third a fifth a sixth


Notice, however, the following:


a half a quarter three quarters

three and a half two and three quarters


Now read the following news item:


In an opinion poll published today, over ¼ of the electorate say they intend to vote in next month's referendum/ ¼ of voters say they will definitely vote 'Yes', while 1/3 will vote 'No'. But that leaves over 2/3 of the voters who haven't made up their minds. Both sides remain hopeful. A spokesman for the 'Yes' campaign said, "At the moment, 2/3 of the electorate won't vote 'No'". A spokesman for the other side replied, " That's true, but ¾ won't vote 'Yes'!"




Remember to pronounce the s in equals as [z]. It is singular; the part on the left equals the part on the right.


10 + 4 = 14 ten plus four is fourteen

ten and four equals fourteen

10 – 4 = 6 ten minus four is six

ten take away four equals six

10 x 4 = 40 ten times four is (or equals) forty

ten multiplied by four is forty

10 ÷ 4 = 2 ½ ten divided by four is two and a half

+ = add - = subtract (deduct) x = multiply ÷ = divide


Other ways of saying divide are:


per Fr/$ francs per dollar

6% p.a. six per cent per annum

over (x - y)/z x minus y, over z which is not the same as

x, minus y over z: x –y/z




Dollar rates: Australia……… 1.0113 AUD Canada……….. 1.0106 CAD Germany ……. 0.7304 EUR Hong Kong….. 7.7514 HKD Japan………….. 82.4827 JPY

Notice these ways of speaking about exchange rates:

How many francs are there to the dollar?

How many francs per dollar did you get?

The current rate is 205 pesetas to the pound.


How would you say these dollar rates?




When a number is used before a noun – like an adjective – it is always singular. We say:


a fifty-minute lesson not a fifty- minutes lesson


Here are more examples:


a sixteen-week semester a thirty-five pounds book

a fifteen-minute walk a six-week waiting list

a twenty- pound reduction a two and a half litre bottle

a six billion dollar loan a two litre engine


Say the following in a similar way:


1. They lent us 250,000 pounds They gave us a …..

2. Our house is 200 years old We bought a ………..

3. We lost $50,000 We made a…………..

4. The salmon weighed 15 pounds! I caught a ………..





How many of the following can you say aloud in under 1 minute?


  1. 234,567
  2. 1,234,567,890
  3. 1.234
  4. 0,00234%
  5. 3.14159
  6. $19.50
  7. ₤ 7.95
  8. 19,999
  9. 1,999 years
  10. in 1999
  11. I think the phone number is 01227-764000.
  12. Have you got a pen? Their fax number is: 00 33 567 32 49.
  13. Please pay it into my account –number 04.744.440
  14. He was born in 1905 and dies in 1987.
  15. It's a white Lamborghini Diabolo, registration number MI 234662, and it looks as if it’s doing 225 kilimeters an hour!
  16. 30 x 25 = 750
  17. 30 -: 25 = 1.20
  18. x + y = z



Date: 2015-04-20; view: 2809

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