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One of the most confusing things for me is spelling English numerals.

What is grammatical way to spell the following numbers in the context of writing the numeral in a receipt?

$100 — a hundred dollars or one hundred dollars?
$201 — two hundred [and?] one dollar[s?]?
$1500 — fifteen hundred dollars or one thousand five hundred dollars?
$1525 — fifteen twenty-five dollars or [one/a] thousand five hundred twenty-five dollars?

Also, is there any difference between UK and US systems? If so, what are they and what system do I use in a non-English speaking country?

  • Guidelines for check-writing can be found on this website, which answers many of your questions, and even offers a tool for trying numbers like 201 and 1525. – J.R. Feb 7 '13 at 0:55
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    This is also a question that is addressed by style guides, so look it up in whatever style guide your superiors consider authoritative. As with our opinions, the various style guides will vary, but at least you will have an established authority to justify whichever way you do it. – Brian Hitchcock May 3 '15 at 11:47
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I'm British, but I can answer for the UK and US:

$100 — a hundred dollars or one hundred dollars?

"A hundred dollars" is how I'd say it in speech. "One hundred dollars" is how I'd write it on a cheque.

$201 — two hundred [and?] one dollar[s?]?

In the UK we'd say "two hundred and one dollars". In the US, they might say "two hundred one dollar[s]".

$1500 — fifteen hundred dollars or one thousand five hundred dollars?

"Fifteen hundred dollars" is how I'd say it in speech. The more "proper" way to say it, and the way I'd write it on a cheque is: "One thousand, five hundred dollars" (never "one thousand and five hundred dollars").

$1525 — fifteen twenty-five dollars or [one/a] thousand five hundred twenty-five dollars?

I'd never say "fifteen twenty-five dollars", I'd either say "Fifteen hundred and twenty five dollars", or "one thousand, five hundred and twenty five dollars". Americans might skip the "and".

For a non-English speaking country, say the number fully using "one", for the sake of clarity. In some countries though (such as the Netherlands and Norway), the use of "fifteen hundred" etc. is the same in that language too.

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    As a native speaker from the US, I have to say that it's not correct that we'd skip the "and" in any of the cases you mentioned. You could, informally, and sometimes people do. But the "and" is used quite often, I'd say most of the time, and is definitely more formally correct. – WendiKidd Feb 6 '13 at 23:40
  • No problem! Glad to have helped :) – WendiKidd Feb 6 '13 at 23:41
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    In what way would you "sign a receipt" using numbers? Fully worded numbers, no less. I don't quite understand... – Danny Beckett Feb 7 '13 at 0:06
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    @WendiKidd: I'm British, but I agree with what Danny says here about American usage because it's largely backed up by what Americans said on this related ELU question. Obviously there will be variation among American speakers, but the fact of the matter seems to be that if someone omits the "and", they're very likely to be American (even if including it doesn't necessarily mean they're British! :) – FumbleFingers Feb 7 '13 at 0:34
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    Danny: Ah, no, I wouldn't say so in the case of "One thousand [and] five hundred dollars". That definitely sounds odd to me as well! :) I was referring to the "two hundred [and] one dollars" and "one thousand, five hundred [and] twenty five dollars" situations, where you specifically mentioned the UK/US split. In the first case it sounds very odd to me without the and; I don't think I've ever heard it said that way. In the second case it could go either way IMO. @FumbleFingers I definitely can see that point! I've no experience as to how Brits would say it, so will bow to your experience :) – WendiKidd Feb 7 '13 at 1:22
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In writing receipts, checks, or other formal documents, Americans are taught to use the numeric values. As and indicates a decimal, it should not be written into the main value in such documents. Generally, one breaks down a number every three orders of magnitude (i.e. thousands, thousands of thousands, and so on):

$100 — one hundred dollars

$201 — two hundred one dollars

$201.37 — two hundred one dollars and 37 cents or (for checks) two hundred one and 37/100 dollars

$1525 — one thousand five hundred twenty-five dollars

$723,493 — seven hundred twenty-three thousand, four hundred ninety-three dollars

Conversationally, however, the usage varies.

$100 — a hundred dollars or one hundred dollars

$201 — two hundred and one dollars

$201.37 — two hundred and one dollars and thirty-seven cents

$1525 — one thousand five hundred and twenty-five dollars or fifteen hundred and twenty-five dollars

$723,493 — seven hundred twenty-three thousand, four hundred and ninety-three dollars

  • it is common to drop one in leading quantities in favor of aThe repair cost a thousand francs! I would add that saying "one thousand francs" more strongly suggests a value of exactly one thousand francs, whereas "a thousand francs" could be taken as an approximation.
  • and is often inserted for values of under 100 as well as the decimal — The grand total is twelve thousand four hundred and seventy-one dollars and four cents. To omit and would make the number sound very formal to my ears.
  • round multiples of hundreds as xx hundred, up to 9900 — You can get one used for thirty-six hundred dollars, but with the touring package it's hard to find them under four thousand. I am told that this is more common in American speech than British.

In a non-English speaking country, however, I would always say one thousand instead of a thousand for clarity. The division of magnitudes will vary somewhat by local custom; I think expressing in thousands as opposed to tens of hundreds would be safest, as kilo- is a common prefix in the metric system and well-understood as 10^3. In South Asia, however, I have found fluent English speakers will use lakh freely in conversation (100000), something that would not be widely understood elsewhere.

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    I think the important thing here is that and triggers the reaction that what follows is the decimal part of the number. That would be explicit on a check (in order to make changes impossible), and a receipt would logically follow that practice, or at least would not be inappropriate. – barbara beeton Feb 7 '13 at 17:29
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    barbara and choster, that seems to be a US/UK difference. The word and is used in the UK and omitting it is both weird and different, from an English perspective. – Tristan Jun 2 '13 at 11:52
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Going through each one I can help answer your question.

$100 — a hundred dollars or one hundred dollars?

For this one we can say either a hundred or one hundred, it makes little difference apart from when writing.

$201 — two hundred [and?] one dollar[s?]?

For this example we would use and between the hundred and the unit. When using hundreds, tens and units, we put and after the hundred but before the tens and units.

  • HTU = Hundreds (100-900), Tens (10-90) and Units (1-9).

  • 101 = One/a hundred and one.

  • 220 = Two hundred and twenty two.
  • 333 = Three hundred and thirty three.

$1500 — fifteen hundred dollars or one thousand five hundred dollars?

This one can be said in both ways without confusion.

$1525 — fifteen twenty-five dollars or [one/a] thousand five hundred twenty-five dollars?

Fifteen twenty five dollars is not usually used. If the unit of currency is mentioned we would go for the second option. On television advertisements it has been known for the advertiser to use examples like fifteen twenty five but not use the name of the currency.

The HTU example also works with thousands. Also like before the tens and the units.

  • THTU = Thousands (1-900) Hundreds (100-900), Tens (10-90) and Units (1-9).

  • 1101 = One thousand, one hundred and one.

  • 2220 = Two thousand, two hundred and twenty two.
  • 3333 = Three thousand, three hundred and thirty three.

  • 5050 = Five thousand and fifty.

  • 6656 = Six thousand, six hundred and fifty six.

  • 7500 = Seven thousand, five hundred.

There is also no real difference between UK and US counting system. The main differences in the languages are spelling and pronunciation.

  • Can you please elaborate? Say, 3333: why comma and why "thirty three" without dash? – bytebuster Feb 7 '13 at 0:09
  • @bytebuster The comma is just a brief pause. – Danny Beckett Feb 7 '13 at 0:45
  • @DannyBeckett Pause? In a receipt? – bytebuster Feb 7 '13 at 1:01
  • @bytebuster Yup – Danny Beckett Feb 7 '13 at 1:13
  • I wouldn't include a comma when I was writing numbers in this context. – J.R. Feb 7 '13 at 10:52

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