20

If I want to buy a phone with 64 GB, how should I say it?

Should I say

"A phone with 64 gigabyte."

or

"A phone with 64 GB (simply pronounce the letter 'G' and 'B')."

which one is more native?

  • 15
    A "sixty-four gig" phone. – Andrew Jan 25 '17 at 22:17
  • 4
    64 gigabytes of what? Say "A phone with 64 gigabytes of storage". Just saying "A phone with 64 GB" is like saying "a car with 20 liters" -- you'd want to add "of fuel capacity" or "gas tank". – DepressedDaniel Jan 26 '17 at 3:21
  • 4
    @DepressedDaniel eeh, I'd say a 16 GB phone - that's not going to refer to anything else. – Tim Jan 26 '17 at 7:48
  • 3
    It may be worth noting that in “gigabyte”, both ‘g’s are pronounced the same way, like in “garden”, and not like in “ginger”. In French, when pronouncing “gigaoctet”, both ‘g’s differ in phonetics. – Benoit Jan 26 '17 at 9:05
  • 6
    I came here all ready to answer 'Great Britain'. – nekomatic Jan 27 '17 at 11:53
54

You typically don't spell out shorthand or acronyms for units of measurement, especially if the shorthand is not easily pronounceable.

In this case, say "gigabytes".

Colloquially, native speakers may also say "gigs".

  • 6
    Yep, I was just going to say "gigs" is fine, but you edited :) – Andrew Jan 25 '17 at 22:20
  • 3
    @user13267 - I often use "K" for kilometers, but I would always say "kilograms", not "K-G". – J.R. Jan 26 '17 at 1:25
  • 5
    To be fair, gibibyte is not in common use by the average English speaker. Gigibyte will almost always be assumed. – Curtis White Jan 26 '17 at 4:39
  • 5
    @EBrown The unit symbol for Gibibyte is "GiB" not "GB". – walen Jan 26 '17 at 8:34
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    @user13267 I'd usually say "kilos" for kilograms, "mils" or "mil" for milligrams/millilitres. – Tom Jan 26 '17 at 9:32
23

With units of measurement like that, you write them without any plural marker, but say them with the plural marker

Examples:

64GB → Sixty-four gigabytes

1GB → One gigabyte

30km → Thirty kilometers

1L → One liter

2L → Two liters


As for saying 'Gee Bee' instead of gigabytes, that's harder to answer, and probably up to personal preference to a certain degree. It sounds a little bit like something my technically illiterate parents would say

My phone has 64 gee bee

But as a counter example, I often hear things like

My internet is slow, I'm only getting 300 kbps (said kay bee pee ess, stands for kilobits per second)

I also agree with people saying

My phone has 64 gigs

or

I have a 64 gig phone

Those are probably the most natural and casual for GB specifically.

  • 4
    For your internet speed example, "kbps" is actually kilobits per second, not kilobytes. – MJ713 Jan 25 '17 at 23:22
  • 1
    Ah, sorry, I should have capitalized the B. I intended to talk about bytes – Joe Pinsonault Jan 25 '17 at 23:25
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    @JoePinsonault you are still wrong, you say "I often hear things like" - however, no one on the planet talks about internet speed in terms of bytes. So please change it to kilobits per second. – theonlygusti Jan 25 '17 at 23:34
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    I can vouch that in my area we always talk in bytes when talking about internet speeds. It's annoying that providers list the bits instead but they do that to make it seem like a bigger number. – CornSmith Jan 26 '17 at 0:07
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    @theonlygusti not sure where you got the impression that "no one on the planet" thinks internet speeds are measured in bytes. I can assure you the opposite is true. Only technical people know or care that network speeds are bitwise. – barbecue Jan 26 '17 at 1:26
6

The answer may vary regionally.

I would pronounce a "64GB phone" as a

64-gigabyte phone

(Notice that there is no -s on gigabytes here because "gigabyte" precedes and is modifying "phone.")

I would not call it a 64-gig phone or a 64-gigabytes phone, although I would understand what someone meant if they used either of those expressions.

I have a 64-gigabyte phone.


If the question were about "64GB of RAM" in a computer, I would pronounce it as either

64 gigabytes of RAM

--or--

64 gigs of RAM

I am thinking about buying a computer that has 64 gigs of RAM.

I am thinking about buying a computer that has 64 gigabytes of RAM.

  • 3
    Just to clarify, a numeric quantity used as a compound adjective takes the singular form of the unit because English does not have a plural form for adjectives. Hence "a 64-gigabyte phone", "a 10-meter drop", "a 4-gallon drum" and so on. – traktor53 Jan 27 '17 at 0:04
3

The most common would be to say it fully.

A phone with 64 gigabytes.

Note the plural 'gigabytes'. It's also fairly common to say

A phone with 64 gigs.

Though this is more informal, it's usually clear in context what the unit is with only the prefix. This is similar to how someone might say

That stone weighs 100 kilos.

  • 2
    I'd say 'A phone with 64 gig'. – flywire Jan 26 '17 at 3:13
  • 6
    but a stone weighs 6.35 kilos! ;) – xorsyst Jan 26 '17 at 12:32
1

Should I say

  "A phone with 64 gigabyte."

or

  "A phone with 64 GB (simply pronounce the letter 'G' and 'B')."

To answer your direct question, I would say:

I would like a phone with 64 gigabytes of RAM, please.

(You have to put in the units, otherwise it is like saying "I want a phone with 42").

To say "GB" sounds like "jeebee" as in Heebie-jeebies. I think you would get a blank look if you asked for "64 jeebee".


More colloquially you might say:

What have you got with 64 gigabytes?

They will probably realise you mean RAM and not buttons or cameras or something like that.

-1

I agree with @Shosht that the pronunciation is likely very regional, for example in England i've heard it commonly pronounced

Guh-Buh

It is unlikely to be used in a formal context, for example a meeting or presentation, but between friends, family or a relaxed environment I have heard this frequently used.

I'll even admit that i have used this phrasing before when talking to less IT literate people.

So the sentence would be phrased something like -

I would like the 64 guh buh phone please

  • 2
    Not sure what part of England (or GB - 'Gee-Bee', not 'Guh-Buh' - Great Britain or UK - 'You-Kay', not 'Uh-Kuh' - United Kingdom) you are from but I have never heard anyone say 'guh buh' (except maybe a 5 year old child learning the alphabet). 'Gig' is probably the most common I've heard. – Piers Myers Jan 26 '17 at 16:38
  • I wasn't implying this pronunciation worked with similar words or contexts so I don't understand your emphasis on GB as in Great Britain. I did state that its used within an informal environment, maybe even as you suggested by an adult being rather childish. I agree that Gig is likely the most common and didn't dispute that, I was merely giving another example of how regional phrases vary, with some being more common than others. – samuelmr Jan 26 '17 at 16:42
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    I have never heard "GB" pronounced as "guh-buh" in England (or anywhere else in the UK); this is not common at all and will likely get you some strange looks if you use it! – psmears Jan 26 '17 at 17:01
  • The use of "Guh-Buh" might be more down to the teaching of phonics rather than regional accents. I say this, because I once asked a native English person to spell something, and they pronounced the letters this way. I remember finding it strange. Anyway, I think it is safer to stick with gigabytes. – AlexB Jan 27 '17 at 10:22

protected by snailboat Jan 27 '17 at 11:41

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