It was my friend’s 30th birthday on April, 3rd, and she is now 30 years old. Let’s talk about numbers! Numbers are used in many forms. The way they are said and written can change according to the context. There are even some idioms that use numbers!
One of the most commonly confused aspects of numbers is the difference between Cardinal and Ordinal numbers. Cardinal numbers are the typical counting numbers: 1, 2, 3. Ordinal numbers are used for orders in sets: 1st, 2nd, 3rd. They are used for dates: April 22nd, March 5th, January 3rd. Ordinal numbers are frequently seen when they are used for: birthdays, weddings, sporting events, and prizes.
Example: Our wedding anniversary is on March 5th.
Example: “First place goes to the Green Team.”
How do you talk about money?
$9.99 “Nine dollars and ninety-nine cents” or the more informal and common “nine ninety-nine”
Incorrect: “Nine ninety-nine dollars”
When making a number plural add “s”, “es”, or “ies.” Do not use apostrophes.
Correct: “In the 1800s, tens, sixes, twenties, thirties…”
Incorrect: “In the 1800” or “in the 1800’s.”
In numerals with more than three digits, use a comma after every third digit from right to left. Do not include numbers right of the decimal point in your count.
While we are at it, let’s review:
100,000 - one hundred thousand
100,000,000 - one hundred million
1,000,000,000 - one billion
When they are written as words, whole numbers between twenty-one and ninety-nine are hyphenated.
Example: Forty-three people won the prize this year.
Use an en-dash to separate digits in a range.
Example: 1–15 “one to fifteen"
The Number Sign or Pound Sign #
Example: #5 “number five”
General use of numbers:
Example: April 6, 1986 “April sixth, nineteen eighty-six”
(Did you know there is a way to say phone numbers in the US? It is usually “4-1-0, 7-0-6, 7-7, 2-5.” If you say it differently, it may confuse people. How do people say phone numbers in your country?)
Example: 20, 40, 50, and 70 cm
Example: 3:1 “three to one”
Example: Thirty-nine percent
The restaurant is open 24 hours.
It is a 24-hour restaurant.
The grocery store is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (another way to say this is 24/7.)
Many people in the US have a 5-day work week.
The student is 20 years old.
He is a 20-year-old student.
She has a 10 month old. (Not a 10 months old.)
Some idioms with numbers:
meaning: so familiar that you can do it easily
She has studied English so much that it has become second nature to her.
That pizza place is second to none.
“put two and two together”
meaning: to figure a problem out using the information you have
I hope that you are able to put two and two together after reading about numbers!
meaning: appears to have the features you describe when you first see it but later it is found to be different.
At first sight, the paper seemed daunting, but it turned out to be an easy and fun read!
meaning: instantly attracted
When I saw her it was love at first sight.
meaning: after thinking about something you have changed your opinion
Have a good day. On second thought, have a great day!