# Cardinal numbers

What is a cardinal number?

It is a number we use for counting. We need cardinal numbers to say **how many** objects there are.

Examples of cardinal numbers

They have **two** children.

There are **five** oranges in the bowl.

I've had **three** Zoom meetings today.

## Numbers from 1 to 12

You'll have to memorise these numbers.

Number | Word |
---|---|

1 | one |

2 | two |

3 | three |

4 | four |

5 | five |

6 | six |

7 | seven |

8 | eight |

9 | nine |

10 | ten |

11 | eleven |

12 | twelve |

## Numbers from 13 to 19

All these numbers end with **-teen**. Don't forget to stress the last syllable!

Number | Word |
---|---|

13 | thirteen |

14 | fourteen |

15 | fifteen |

16 | sixteen |

17 | seventeen |

18 | eighteen |

19 | nineteen |

## Numbers from 20 to 99

All round tens end with **-ty**. Here is the list.

Number | Word |
---|---|

20 | twenty |

30 | thirty |

40 | forty |

50 | fifty |

60 | sixty |

70 | seventy |

80 | eighty |

90 | ninety |

To make a compound number, we add 1–9 to round tens with a hyphen..

Examples

21 → twenty-one

46 → forty-six

99 → ninety-nine

## Numbers larger than 100

Number | Word |
---|---|

100 | one hundred (a hundred) |

1,000 | one thousand |

1,000,000 | one million |

1,000,000,000 | one billion |

Milliard or billion?

The word "billion" means a thousand million (9 zeros) and it originally came from the US. The British word for "billion" is "milliard" but the British officially accepted the US practice in 1974. Today, you will rarely hear the word "milliard" from a British English speaker. The US terminology for numbers gradually spread from international commerce to everyday life.

Now, let's look at large compound numbers. To make 3-digit compound numbers, we put **and** after **hundred**. See the examples below.

Examples

101 → **one hundred and one**

110 → **one hundred and ten**

186 → **one hundred and eighty-six**

273 → **two hundred and seventy-three**

750 → **seven hundred and fifty**

999 → **nine hundred and ninety-nine**

Pay attention

In US English **and** is not used. For example, one hundred eighty-six, two hundred seventy-three etc.

With larger numbers, the principle is the same: going from left to right, we say how many thousands, hundreds, tens and ones there are. Note that we **do not add** **and** after thousand, million, billion etc.

Examples

1,304 → **one thousand three hundred and four**

17,721 → **seventeen thousand seven hundred and twenty-one**

358,842 → **three hundred and fifty-eight thousand eight hundred and forty-two**

1,609,100 → **one million six hundred and nine thousand one hundred**

In writing, we usually put commas after every 3 digits counting from the right. It makes reading simpler.

Pay attention

When pronouncing cardinal numbers, we do not put the words "hundred", "thousand", "million", "billion" into the plural form. Note that there is **no -s** at the end.

However, when we refer to large but not exact quantities of people, animals or things, we can use these words in plural.

Compare

Thousand**s** of birds were circling over the rocks.

The candidate received two thousan**d** two hundred and fifteen voices.

## Zero and synonyms

The symbol 0 or the absence of number is called differently depending on where we use it. You may always use the word **zero** and people will understand you correctly. However, here is a helpful table in case you come across one of these words, in speaking or writing.

Word | Usage | Example | Reading |
---|---|---|---|

o, oh | in a sequence of digits, e.g. telephone numbers | My number is 609 035. | My number is six oh nine oh three five |

nought | symbol 0 in British English | -2 + 2 = 0 | Minus two plus two equals nought. |

zero | symbol 0 in US English; in Br English — used with temperatures |
-15ºC | fifteen degrees below zero |

nil, love | score 0 in various sports | (tennis) The score is 40:0. | The score is forty love. |