Numbers are used in many areas of English. Numerical knowledge is fundamental for communication and is essential in many spheres of life, such as business, daily activities, and scientific compilations. Learning English numbers enables people to convey numerical instructions. The use of numbers in English varies depending on the context. Let’s explore the meaning and applicability of numbers in the English language.

**Cardinal and Ordinal Numbers**

A cardinal number (one, two, three, four, or five) indicates the quantity of an item.

An ordinal number (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc.) indicates a thing’s place in a list.

1 | One | 1st | First |
---|---|---|---|

2 | Two | 2nd | Second |

3 | Three | 3rd | Third |

4 | Four | 4th | Fourth |

5 | Five | 5th | Fifth |

6 | Six | 6th | Sixth |

7 | Seven | 7th | Seventh |

8 | Eight | 8th | Eighth |

9 | Nine | 9th | Ninth |

10 | Ten | 10th | Tenth |

11 | Eleven | 11th | Eleventh |

12 | Twelve | 12th | Twelfth |

13 | Thirteen | 13th | Thirteenth |

14 | Fourteen | 14th | Fourteenth |

15 | Fifteen | 15th | Fifteenth |

16 | Sixteen | 16th | Sixteenth |

17 | Seventeen | 17th | Seventeenth |

18 | Eighteen | 18th | Eighteenth |

19 | Nineteen | 19th | Nineteenth |

20 | Twenty | 20th | Twentieth |

21 | Twenty one | 21st | Twenty-first |

22 | Twenty two | 22nd | Twenty-second |

23 | Twenty three | 23rd | Twenty-third |

24 | Twenty four | 24th | Twenty-fourth |

25 | Twenty five | 25th | Twenty-fifth |

30 | Thirty | 30th | Thirtieth |

31 | Thirty one | 31st | Thirty-first |

32 | Thirty two | 32nd | Thirty-second |

33 | Thirty three | 33rd | Thirty-third |

34 | Thirty four | 34th | Thirty-fourth |

40 | Forty | 40th | Fortieth |

50 | Fifty | 50th | Fiftieth |

60 | Sixty | 60th | Sixtieth |

70 | Seventy | 70th | Seventieth |

80 | Eighty | 80th | Eightieth |

90 | Ninety | 90th | Ninetieth |

100 | One hundred | 100th | Hundredth |

1000 | One thousand | 1000th | Thousandth |

Here are some examples of the use of cardinal and ordinal numbers in sentences:

**Cardinal Numbers**

On the table are **four** books.

She went to the grocery shop and purchased **seven** bananas.

Within an hour of opening for business, the firm sold **fifty** computers.

The classroom is filled with **one hundred** kids.

**Ordinal numbers**

She placed **third** in the competition.

He arrived at the meeting as the **sixth** person to do so.

The **twentieth** of September is Sarah’s birthday.

I have come to this museum **twice** before.

In the rating of the best performances, he ranked **ninth**.

**Reading decimals**

To read a decimal number, the following steps should be followed: first read the whole decimal number and then read the decimal point and read each digit of the rational fraction separately. For example, the number 12.50 is read as “Twelve point five zero”.

0.8 | Point eight |
---|---|

0.35 | Point three five |

0.91 | Point nine one |

0.03 | Point zero three |

0.721 | Point seven two one |

4.17 | Four point one seven |

**Reading fractions**

To read fractions use the cardinal number as the numerator and the ordinal number as the denominator. Then make the ordinal number plural if the numerator is more than one. However there is an exception for “two” as the denominator, called “half” or in some cases, “halves.”

Written | Said |
---|---|

4/7 | Four sevenths |

6/8 | Six eights |

2/3 | Two thirds |

5/2 | Five halves |

3/5 | Three fifths |

7/8 | Seven eights |

**Pronouncing percentages**

First say the number and then use the word “percent” after it.

Written | Pronounced |
---|---|

6% | Six percent |

45% | Forty-five percent |

12.50% | Twelve point five percent |

100% | One hundred percent |

150% | One hundred fifty percent |

**Reading sums of money**

To read sums of money, start by mentioning the currency, then continue with the whole number part. If there’s a decimal portion, read it as well. Finally, add the currency denomination such as dollars, pounds, or euros. This ensures clarity and precision in expressing the monetary value.

Written | Spoken |
---|---|

16$ | Sixteen dollars |

75€ | Seventy-five euros |

200₤ | Two hundred pounds |

$8.50 | Eight dollars fifty cents |

€30.75 | Thirty euros seventy-five cents |

₤50.25 | Fifty pounds twenty-five pence |

**Pronouncing measurements**

Just read out the number, followed by the unit of measurement, which is often shortened in the written form.

100m | One hundred meters |
---|---|

50km/h | Fifty kilometers per hour |

15ft | Fifteen feet |

5L | Five liters |

2 tsp | Two teaspoons |

4 tbsp | Four tablespoons |

**Pronouncing years**

To pronounce years, start reading the first two digits and then the other two digits. Other words start by stating the numerical value of the year, such as “twenty-twenty” for 2020 or “nineteen sixty-four” for 1962.

Written | Spoken |
---|---|

2000 BC | Two thousand |

1923 | Nineteen twenty-three |

5007 | Five thousand seven |

1002 | Ten o two |

5000 | Five thousand |

1903 | Nineteen o three |

933 | Ninth thirty-three |

1300 | Thirteen hundred |

21 | Twenty-one |

**Frequently Asked Questions About Numbers in English**

**What is the difference between cardinal and ordinal numbers?**

Cardinal numbers describe amount (one, two, three), whereas ordinal numbers indicate item order or position (first, second, third.)

**How do you pronounce large numbers in English?**

Large numbers are often spoken in three-digit groupings separated by commas. For example, “1,543” is pronounced “one thousand five hundred forty-three.”

**What are fractions?**

Fractions are pieces of a whole that have a numerator (top number) and a denominator (bottom number).

**What are prime numbers?**

Prime numbers are natural numbers greater than one that have no positive divisors other than 1 and themselves. (for example, 2, 3, 5, 7)

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