1. Scientists say zero (“zi:ro”). People often say ‘O’. In football scores you will hear ‘nil’ (in tennis ‘love’). You may also hear the word ‘nought’ (rhyming with ‘bought’).

2. We use a point (.) before decimals and a comma (,) after thousands, millions, etc. (every third digit from right in positional notation)

3. Mathematicians read the numbers after the decimal point digit by digit. So 6.55957 = “six point five, five, nine, five, seven”

4. £11.50 = “eleven pounds (and) fifty (pence)”, $349.60c = three hundred forty-nine dollars and sixty cents”.

5. The stress is on the root word (racine) per cent. This is important because if you stress the ‘per’ in ‘50%’ English speakers might understand “50 persons”.

6. The British always say “three hundred and forty-two”. Americans omit the ‘and’.

7. Dates are normally said as two numbers (e.g. ‘nineteen ninety-six’), but turn of the century years are read as whole numbers (‘nineteen hundred’).

However, after 2000 (two thousand) people continued to say ‘two thousand (and)…’ before the numbers ‘one’, ‘two’, etc. because ‘twenty one’ = 21 (for some reason ‘twenty oh one’ was not generally used).

From 2010 (‘twenty ten’) the usual system has started to kick in but you can still hear “two thousand and thirteen”.

For how much longer?

8. Numbers read “whole” are those which represent a ‘real life’ value (most often numbers of people or amounts of money).

Phone numbers, flight numbers, bank account numbers are read digit by digit?

Numbers Quiz – ANSWERS
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