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Cardinal Numbers in English (Basic, A-Level)

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In this lesson, you will learn the cardinal numbers in English.

Cardinal numbers are the numbers you use to count people and things: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and so forth.


The Units

The basic units used for counting from 0 to 9 are

0. zero

1. one

2. two

3. three

4. four

5. five

6. six

7. seven

8. eight

9. nine

The 10s

Unique Names for 10–12

The numbers from 10–12 are a little different.

10. ten

11. eleven

12. twelve

The Teens

The numbers from 13 to 19 are called the teens because they end in -teen. The “teen” syllable is stressed.

By the way, adolescents are called “teenagers” because their ages are in the teens (13, 14, 15, and so on).


13. thirteen

14. fourteen

15. fifteen

16. sixteen

17. seventeen

18. eighteen

19. nineteen

From 20 to 90

Starting with 20, the tens end in -ty.

The teens and 10’s sound similar. Make sure to stress the syllable before ”-ty”.


20. twenty (”two” but “twenty”)

30. thirty (”three” but “thirty”)

40. forty (”four” but “forty”)

50. fifty (”five” but “fifty”)

60. sixty

70. seventy

80. eighty (drop one T)

90. ninety

Adding Units to 20

See the pattern when you add single numbers to 20:

21. twenty-one

22. twenty-two

23. twenty-three

24. twenty-four

25. twenty-five

26. twenty-six

27. twenty-seven

28. twenty-eight

29. twenty-nine

30s - 90s

For 30, 40, 50, and so on, follow the same pattern you see for the 20s. See some examples:

31. thirty-one

32. thirty-two

43. forty-three

54. fifty-four

65. sixty-five

66. sixty-six

77. seventy-seven

87. eighty-seven

98. ninety-eight

99. ninety-nine

Attention! Notice these irregularities.

two - twelve - twenty

three - thirteen - thirty

four - fourteen - forty (no U)

five - fifteen - fifty

The Hundreds (100s)

There are three ways to say 100: hundred, a hundred, and one hundred.

  • When you say 100 by itself, you can say “hundred,” “one hundred,” or “a hundred.”
  • When you use 100 with a noun, you must use “a” or “one” with it. For example, you write “100 people,” but you read “one hundred people” or “a hundred people.”

The numbers between 100 and 900 are pretty simple. You just count the hundreds:

100. one hundred

200. two hundred

300. three hundred

400. four hundred

500. five hundred

600. six hundred

700. seven hundred

800. eight hundred

900. nine hundred

Adding Numbers to the Hundreds

You can simply add the numbers after hundred. Here are some examples:

203. two hundred three

215. two hundred fifteen

311. three hundred eleven

325. three hundred twenty-five

427. four hundred forty-seven

570. five hundred seventy

683. six hundred eighty-three

791. seven hundred ninety-one

820. eight hundred twenty

999. nine hundred ninety-nine

You can say “two hundred three” or “two hundred and three.” In the United States, it is more common to say “two hundred two” (without “and”).

The Thousands (1000s)

For 1,000 to 999,000, you just count how many 1000s you have. Here are some examples:

1,000. one thousand

2,000. two thousand

10,000. ten thousand

17,000. seventeen thousand

29,000. twenty-nine thousand

Adding Numbers to the 1000s

Of course, you can then add other numbers to that:

38,001. thirty-eight thousand one

46,209. forty-six thousand two-hundred nine

259,618. two hundred fifty-nine thousand six hundred eighteen

895,183. eight hundred ninety-five thousand one hundred eighty-three

999,999. nine hundred ninety-night thousand nine hundred ninety-nine

Large Numbers

Useful Large Numbers

Large numbers from one million can be represented by 10 to the power of N (or 10 to the nth power) to show the number of zeros in the number. For example, 2,000,000 can be represented as two times 10 to the power of six (or 10 to the sixth power).

Large numbers are as follows:

10 to the power of 6. One followed by six zeros. One million

3 times 10 to the power of 6. Three followed by six zeros. Three million

1 times 10 to the power of 7. Ten million

10 to the power of 8. One hundred million

10 to the power of 9. One billion

As you can see, the number get very long because of so many zeros. Let’s stick powers of 10 only:

1010. ten billion

1011. one hundred billion

1012. one trillion

1013. ten trillion

1014. one hundred trillion

Of course, you could keep counting forever, but such high numbers are not very useful in everyday life. For more information on very large numbers, see Very Large Numbers in English.

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