How to Read Numbers Aloud

The numbers less than 100 are read normally. For numbers that are larger than 100, we usually read them in a special way.

Three-Digit Numbers

If a three-digit number ends in 00, we say the first digit and the word hundred.

100 1  00 one hundred
200 2  00 two hundred
500 5  00 five hundred
900 9  00 nine hundred

If that three-digit number does not end in 00, we mentally divide the number in two parts. Beginning at the right divide the number into two digits and one digit and say each part.

150 1  50 one fifty
237 2  37 two thirty-seven
694 6  94 six ninety-four
999 9  99 nine ninety-nine

If a three-digit number has a zero in the middle, we say each number separately, usually saying "oh" instead of "zero."

105 1  0  5 one oh five
207 2  0  7 two oh seven
604 6  0  4 six oh four

Four-Digit Numbers

If a four-digit number ends in 000, we say the first digit and the word thousand.

1000 1  000 one thousand
2000 2  000 two thousand
7000 7  000 seven thousand
9000 9  000 nine thousand

If a four-digit number ends in 00, we mentally divide the number in groups of two, say the first group and the word hundred for the 00.

1400 14  00 fourteen hundred
1500 15  00 fifteen hundred
1800 18  00 eighteen hundred
1900 19  00 nineteen hundred

If a four-digit number does not end in 000 or 00, we mentally divide the number into groups of two and say each part.

1025 10  25 ten twenty-five
1539 15  39 fifteen thirty-nine
1810 18  10 eighteen ten
1958 19  58 nineteen fifty-eight

If the last two digits of a four-digit number end in zero plus a number from one to nine, we usually say "oh one," "oh two," etc.

1203 12  0  3 twelve oh three
1509 15  0  9 fifteen oh nine
1701 17  0  1 seventeen oh one
1907 19  0  7 nineteen oh seven

It is very common to use this method for street addresses, years, and prices.

The late 1900's was a period of rapid technolgical adavances. [nineteen hundreds]
He lives at 1308 Market Street. [thirteen oh eight]
Her address is 1298 Elm Street [twelve ninety-eight]
Apartment 401 [four oh one]
Columbus discovered America in 1492. [fourteen ninety-two]
My shirt cost $12.98. [twelve ninety-eight]
That used car costs $1,298. [twelve ninety-eight]

Students often ask how we distinguish between the numbers in the last two examples. The context usually makes the amount clear. In the examples, a shirt does not normally cost $1, 298, and a car, even a used one, does not normally cost $12.98. If, however, we believe the amounts could be confused, we say the full amount.

If a number contains a decimal point, we say the word point for the decimal point.

3.14 [three point one four]
5.04 [five point oh four]

note: We use point for the decimal point, period for the end of a sentence and abbreviations, and dot for other uses [.com = dot com, the dot on the i ].

Practice saying the following numbers aloud.

107 237 1066 1202 1100
205 515 1241 1608 1300
409 750 1519 1707 1500
803 942 1857 1901 1900

Click here for answers
Back to Grammar Page

This page was last modified on 06/15/10

Free web hostingWeb hosting