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

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:

The exact figure is 0.002.

Can you get back to me on 01244 249071? I'll be here all morning.

Can you put that on my bill? I'm in room 804.

Do we have to hold the conference in Reykjavik? It's 30 degrees below 0.

What's the score? 2 –0 to Juventus.

THE DECIMAL POINT

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:

It's somewhere between 3.488 and 3.491.

Look, it's less than 0.0001! It's hardly worth worrying about.

I changed all those lira into sterling and I only got ₤13.60!

That's about 14.50 in Swiss francs.

Did you say 0.225 or 0.229?

The dollar is at 1.95.

No, I meant 15,005 not 15,005.

PER CENT

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:

What's 30% of 260?

They have put the rate up by another 0.5%.

0.75% won't make a lot of difference.

HUNDREDS, THOUSANDS, AND MILLIONS

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 21^{st} 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:

Why do you say 175 in Britain? In the States we usually say 175.

It's got 1001 different uses.

Profit will have doubled by the year 2000.

Thanks. You're one in a 1,000,000!

No, that's 2,000,000,000 not 2,000,000!

SQUARES, CULES, AND ROOTS

10 is ten squared

10 is ten cubed

√6 is square root of 6

TELEPHONE AND FAX NUMBERS

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

7. FRACTIONS

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'!"

CALCULATING

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