Why learn English numbers?

Can you imagine a society that functions without numbers? We certainly can’t. Numbers are everywhere and are connected to everything we do.

Numbers are a part of everything from telling the time, buying groceries to distance, dates, and general conversation. They’re part of science, technology, and thus humanity and life. Let’s look at some of the main reasons why you should learn all about numerals.

1. Understanding dates and time

Knowing numbers is essential when scheduling business meetings, going out with friends or catching a plane. If you don’t know them, you might easily get confused when it comes to the dates and times of your business meetings, train departures, or your friend’s birthday party.

You certainly don’t want to miss any of these important events simply because you didn’t study the numbers!

2. Understanding prices

If you don’t know the cost of what you’re buying, you can easily spend more money than you intended. Although you can see the price of every item in the supermarket, you need to ask for it in some places.

Knowing English numerals will help you understand the prices while shopping in local markets, second-hand shops, or negotiating the cost of the product or service you want to purchase.

3. Understanding phone numbers

Phones are an intrinsic part of our everyday life, and so are phone numbers. We need them to make new friends, ask that cute girl or guy out, make restaurant reservations, and call important organizations or departments. If you don’t understand English numbers, you’ll easily write down the wrong phone number. This can make you miss out on new friendships, fun dates, and complicate dealing with important matters.

Learn English numbers, spelling, and pronunciation

In order to count in English, you first need to learn the numbers from 1 to 20. Once you learn the spelling and pronunciation of these numbers, it’ll help you easily count to 1000. However, learning the first 20 numbers in any language is always the hardest.

Below, we’ll give you the spelling and phonetic pronunciation of each number. Pay attention to each sound, as later on, you’ll need to put them together to form higher numbers. So, let’s break it down!


Tones for numbers 1–10 are simple.

However, those for 11–20 are harder because they're compound tones. It means that there are multiple sounds involved in pronouncing them. For example, to pronounce 11, you’ll say “ee-LEH-vihn”.

Check out the table below for more sounds.

Number English numbers spelling English pronunciation
1 One /wuhn/
2 Two /too/
3 Three /three/
4 Four /fohr/
5 Five /faiv/
6 Six /sihks/
7 Seven /SEH-və(ɪ)n/
8 Eight /ayt/
9 Nine /nain/
10 Ten /tehn/
11 Eleven /ee-LEH-vihn/
12 Twelve /twehl-ve/
13 Thirteen /th’r-TEEN/
14 Fourteen /fohr-TEEN/
15 Fifteen /fihf-TEEN/
16 Sixteen /sih-ks-TEEN/
17 Seventeen /seh-vihn-TEEN/
18 Eighteen /ay[t]-TEEN/
19 Nineteen /nain-TEEN/
20 Twenty /TWEHN-[t]ee/


When a number contains tens and ones, don’t pause between the two words. For example, the number 23 is pronounced as “twenty-three”.

Number Spelling English pronunciation
21 Twenty-one /twehn-[t]ee-WUHN/
22 Twenty-two /twehn-[t]ee-TOO/
23 Twenty-three /twehn-[t]ee-THREE/
24 Twenty-four /twehn-[t]ee-FOHR/
25 Twenty-five /twehn-[t]ee-FAIV/
26 Twenty-six /twehn-[t]ee-SIH-ks/
27 Twenty-seven /twehn-[t]ee-SEH-vihn/
28 Twenty-eight /twehn-[t]ee-AY[T]/
29 Twenty-nine /twehn-[t]ee-NAIN/
30 Thirty /TH’R-dee/
31 Thirty-one /th’r-dee-WUHN/
32 Thirty-two /th’r-dee-TOO/
33 Thirty-three /th’r-dee-THREE/
34 Thirty-four /th’r-dee-FOHR/
35 Thirty-five /th’r-dee-FAIV/
36 Thirty-six /th’r-dee-SIH-ks/
37 Thirty-seven /th’r-dee-SEH-vihn/
38 Thirty-eight /th’r-dee-AY[T]/
39 Thirty-nine /th’r-dee-NAIN/
40 Forty /FOHR-dee/
45 Forty-five /fohr-dee-FAIV/
50 Fifty /FIHF-dee/
52 Fifty-two /fihf-dee-TOO/
55 Fifty-five /fihf-dee-FAIV/
60 Sixty /SIH-ks-dee/
66 Sixty-six /sih-ks-dee-SIH-ks/
70 Seventy /SEH-vihn-dee/
77 Seventy-seven /seh-vihn-dee-SEH-vihn/
80 Eighty /AY-dee/
88 Eighty-eight /ay-dee-AY[T]/
90 Ninety /NAIN-dee/
99 Ninety-nine /nain-dee-NAIN/


Let us look at how numbers 100–1000 are pronounced.

Number Spelling English pronunciation
100 One hundred /wuhn-HUN-dʒrih[d]/
200 Two hundred /too-HUN-dʒrih[d]/
300 Three hundred /three-HUN-dʒrih[d]/
400 Four hundred /fohr-HUN-dʒrih[d]/
500 Five hundred /faiv-HUN-dʒrih[d]/
600 Six hundred /sihks-HUN-dʒrih[d]/
700 Seven hundred /SEH-və(ɪ)n-HUN-dʒrih[d]/
800 Eight hundred /ayt-HUN-dʒrih[d]/
900 Nine hundred /nain-HUN-dʒrih[d]/
999 Nine hundred ninety nine /nain-HUN-dʒrih[d] nain-dee-NAIN/
1000 One thousand /wuhn-thauz(e)nd/

How to put it all together

Let’s look at an example of a number such as four hundred fifty-five (455).

You pronounce 455 by joining four hundred (fohr-HUN-dʒrih[d]) + fifty (FIHF-dee) + five (faiv) = four hundred fifty-five (fohr-HUN-dʒrih[d] FIHF-dee-faiv).

Combining numbers in English may seem complex. However, once you understand the logic behind it, it becomes easier. For example, a number such as 999 is a combination of 900 + 90 + 9, so nine hundred (nain-HUN-dʒrih[d]) + ninety (nain-dee) + nine (NAIN).

Ordinal numbers in English

English has both cardinal numbers and ordinal numbers. Cardinal numbers describe quantity (one, two, three, etc.), and ordinal numbers describe position or rank in sequential order (first, second, third, etc.). More specifically, we use ordinal numbers when talking about order or placement in a sequence or series.

We use the suffix -th to form most ordinal numbers, such as fourth, fifth, or tenth. The ordinal numbers for one (first), two (second), and three (third) are exceptions.

Number Cardinal Ordinal
1 One First
2 Two Second
3 Three Third
4 Four Fourth
5 Five Fifth
6 Six Sixth
7 Seven Seventh
8 Eight Eighth
9 Nine Ninth
10 Ten Tenth
11 Eleven Eleventh
12 Twelve Twelfth
13 Thirteen Thirteenth
14 Fourteen Fourteenth
15 Fifteen Fifteenth
16 Sixteen Sixteenth
17 Seventeen Seventeenth
18 Eighteen Eighteenth
19 Nineteen Nineteenth
20 Twenty Twentieth

English ordinal numbers from 21–99

English ordinal numbers from 21 to 99 and beyond are formed by a cardinal number for the tens and an ordinal number for the ones.

So, for example, the ordinal number for twenty-five (25) is twenty-fifth (25th). You must use a hyphen.

Number Cardinal Ordinal
21 Twenty-one Twenty-first
22 Twenty-two Twenty-second
23 Twenty-three Twenty-third
24 Twenty-four Twenty-fourth
25 Twenty-five Twenty-fifth
26 Twenty-six Twenty-sixth
27 Twenty-seven Twenty-seventh
28 Twenty-eight Twenty-eighth
29 Twenty-nine Twenty-ninth
30 Thirty Thirtieth
31 Thirty-one Thirty-first
32 Thirty-two Thirty-second
33 Thirty-three Thirty-third
34 Thirty-four Thirty-fourth
35 Thirty-five Thirty-fifth
36 Thirty-six Thirty-sixth
37 Thirty-seven Thirty-seventh
38 Thirty-eight Thirty-eighth
39 Thirty-nine Thirty-ninth
40 Forty Fortieth
45 Forty-five Forty-fifth
50 Fifty Fiftieth
52 Fifty-two Fifty-second
55 Fifty-five Fifty-fifth
60 Sixty Sixtieth
66 Sixty-six Sixty-sixth
70 Seventy Seventieth
77 Seventy-seven Seventy-seventh
80 Eighty Eightieth
88 Eighty-eight Eighty-eighth
90 Ninety Ninetieth
99 Ninety-nine Ninety-ninth

English ordinal numbers from 100–1000

Ordinals for numbers from 100 to 1000 are formed by adding the suffix -th to the word “hundred”. Let’s take a look:

Number Cardinal Ordinal
100 One hundred Hundredth
200 Two hundred Two hundredth
300 Three hundred Three hundredth
400 Four hundred Four hundredth
500 Five hundred Five hundredth
600 Six hundred Six hundredth
700 Seven hundred Seven hundredth
800 Eight hundred Eight hundredth
900 Nine hundred Nine hundredth
999 Nine hundred ninety-nine Nine hundred ninety-ninth
1000 One thousand Thousandth

So, how do we use English ordinal numbers in practice? Let’s take a look at a few examples:

  1. I was third in the queue.
  2. He won his fifth football game in a row.
  3. This is my grandparents’ twentieth wedding anniversary.

How to say decimal numbers

Decimals are numbers with decimal points – in other words, numbers that aren't whole, such as 0.00201, 0.03, 0.75, or 3.14159. Decimal numbers are spoken by listing each individual digit:

  • 0.00201 = zero point zero zero two zero one
  • 0.03 = zero point zero three
  • 0.75 = zero point seven five (in this case, you can also say “zero point seventy-five”)
  • 3.14159 = three point one four one five nine

The zero before the point can sometimes be omitted. So instead of saying “zero point zero three” (0.03), you can say “point zero three”.

Written decimalHow to say it


Zero point one


Zero point five


Zero point seven five, or zero point seventy-five


Zero point eight


One point four one four


Two point two five, or two point twenty-five


Three point zero zero one


Three point one four one five nine


Nine point eight seven, or nine point eighty-seven


Ten point five four six

So, how do we use decimal numbers in a sentence? Let’s see a few examples:

  1. Over the last week, there was a 0.03% (zero point zero three percent) rise in gasoline prices.
  2. The distance is 0.75 (zero point seventy-five) miles.

How do you read sums of money in different currencies?

If the decimal refers to sums of money, it’ll be pronounced differently. So, for example, $9.99 will be pronounced as “nine, ninety-nine” instead of “nine point nine nine”. This is because it’s a shortcut that stands for nine dollars and ninety-nine cents.

In a sentence, it’d look like this:

  1. A gallon of milk costs $3.88 (three, eighty-eight, or three dollars and eighty-eight cents).
  2. Today, one euro can give you $1.11 (one dollar and eleven cents).
Sum of money Spoken
$2 Two dollars
€5.40 Five forty, or five euros and forty cents
£13.5 Thirteen fifty, or thirteen pounds and fifty cents
¥55.99 Fifty-five, ninety-nine yens
8 zł Eight złoty
€99.99 Ninety-nine ninety-nine, or ninety-nine euros and ninety-nine cents
$225.75 Two hundred twenty-five dollars and seventy-five cents
$9.99 Nine ninety-nine, or nine dollars and ninety-nine cents
£7.15 Seven fifteen, or seven pounds and fifteen cents
$25.50 Twenty-five fifty, or twenty-five dollars and fifty cents
€2.20 Two twenty, or two euros and twenty cents

Fractions in English

To form a fraction in English, write the numerator (the number on top of the fraction), followed by the denominator (the number on the bottom).

To pronounce English fractions, first, say the numerator as a cardinal number. Then, say the denominator as an ordinal number. For example:

  • 1/2 = one half (this is an exception, and we don't say “one second”)
  • 1/3 = one third
  • 1/4 = one fourth, or one quarter

If the numerator is more than one, the denominator will be pronounced like a plural ordinal number. For example:

  • 2/3 = two thirds
  • 2/5 = two fifths
Written fraction Spoken
1/2 Half or one half
1/6 One sixth
2/5 Two fifths
3/4 Three quarters
4/7 Four sevenths
7/8 Seven eighths

Fractions are very useful in our everyday life. We use them to describe a part of something, for example:

  1. I ate half the pack of cookies yesterday!
  2. There’s still three-quarters of my birthday cake left.
  3. He already drank two-thirds of the Coca-Cola bottle.

Measurements in English

Measurements in English follow either a metric or an imperial system. For example, the US uses the imperial system and measures temperature in Fahrenheit instead of Celsius.

Here are some common measurements in English with their symbols:

Metric system:

  • millimetre (mm)
  • centimetre (cm)
  • metre (m)
  • kilometre (km)
  • gram (g)
  • kilogram (kg)

Imperial system:

  • inch (in)
  • foot (ft)
  • yard (yd)
  • mile (mi)
  • ounce (oz)
  • pound (lb)

To pronounce measurements, use cardinal numbers. Take a look at the following table.

Written measurements Spoken
5L Five liters
10m Ten meters
60km/hr Sixty kilometers per hour
73lb Seventy-three pounds
50kg Fifty kilograms
1.20kg One kilogram and twenty grams
0.75km Zero point seventy-five kilometers, or 750 meters

Let’s see how to use the English measurements in sentences:

  1. The distance between New York and San Francisco is 4129.06km (four thousand hundred twenty-nine point zero six kilometers).
  2. I used to weigh 88kg (eighty-eight kilograms).
  3. She lost over 20lb (twenty pounds) for her wedding day.

Percentages in English

We use percentages to describe parts of a whole. For example, if we say that our pizza is 50% cheese, that means that half of the pizza is cheese. We also use percentages to compare one thing to another. For example, if we say that our pizza is 50% cheaper than the competition, we are comparing our price to the price of other pizzas.

So, how do you pronounce percentages? Just say the number and add the word “percent” after it! Take a look at the examples:

Number percentage Spoken or written percentage
1% One percent
10% Ten percent
25% Twenty-five percent
0.5% Zero point five percent
99% Ninety-nine percent

Here’s how to use percentages in real-life sentences:

  1. 45% of people have blue eyes.
  2. 95% of the world's population aren’t English native speakers.
  3. The enrollment rate was just 15%.

English numbers songs

The following are different numbers songs that learners can use to learn how to count in English and remember all the numbers:

Number songs 1–10

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Once I Caught a Fish Alive by Nursery Rhymes and Kids Songs

Numbers songs 1–20

Twenty Green Bottles

You can use these songs to count up to a thousand by switching the words, for example,

A thousand green bottles
Hanging on the wall
A thousand green bottles
Hanging on the wall
And if one green bottle
Should accidentally fall
There'll be nine hundred ninety-nine green bottles
Hanging on the wall

FAQs for the English numbers

The numbers 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 are called Arabic or Hindu-Arabic numerals since they were invented by mathematicians in 5th century India. They were called Arabic numerals by Europeans.

Before Europeans adopted the Arabic numerals around the 15th century, they used the Roman numerals.

Here are some fun ways to practice numbers in English:

  • Memory cards game:
    Write the digit on one side and the corresponding word on the other. Then lay out the cards with the digit facing up. So you’ll say the number out loud, then flip it to see if you’re right.
  • Newspaper number hunt:
    When reading a newspaper, highlight any number you come across and say it out loud. Then confirm if you’re right.
  • My Timeline:
    Create a timeline of the significant events in your life on a long paper roll. You could use photos or illustrations to mark the occasions. Then instead of writing the years in numerals (e.g., 2021), write them in words (e.g., Two thousand twenty-one).

English numbers are mainly used to count people, money, and objects. They’re also used to tell the time, phone numbers, addresses, and dates.

Dial up the fun with these tips to learn English numbers

When you make learning fun, you’ll be more motivated to learn – and your new knowledge will stick in your brain more easily. Here are some tips for learning the numbers with a little joy:

1. Get a calendar

Having a calendar in the house can be helpful as you can mark off the numerical dates of the days in English.

2. Play games

You can play Battleship, Scrabble, and crossword puzzles using numbers for example. Using an English pack of playing cards will train your brain to identify numbers more easily. Be creative! The world is your oyster.

3. Practice with flashcards

Flashcards are a fun way of testing yourself and improving your knowledge of new vocabulary – ideal for learning numbers in English!

Make sure each flashcard has one number on one side and the written number on the other side (for example, 5 = five). To use them, hold up a card, read the number out loud, try to say the word in English, then check if you’re correct by looking at the answer written on the opposite side of the card.

Final thoughts

Numbers are one of the basic building blocks of language, and they’re necessary in our everyday life, whether you’re buying groceries or waiting at a bank. Learning them is essential!

Ten to one, you’ll master English numbers in no time if you follow the tips provided in this guide and practice, practice, practice!

So what are you waiting for? Start counting!

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