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How do we write 3,251 in words?

A. Three thousand two hundred and fifty one
B. Three thousand two hundred and fifty-one
C. Three thousand two hundred fifty-one

Essentially, I am requesting a clarification regarding the use of 'and' and the hyphen.

  • In BrE we include the and: the hyphen is also required. – JavaLatte Apr 4 '17 at 9:22
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    AmE usually does without the "and". BrE requires the "and" before the ten's unit or, if the ten's unit is empty, before the unit's unit within each number position, e.g.: 255 - two hundred and fifty-five, 205 - two hundred and five. The right spelling of the numbers like "fifty-one", "sixty-eight", "ninety-nine" reguires the hyphen, as JavaLatte said. – Yulia Apr 4 '17 at 9:52
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    A similar question: How to read numbers in English – Jasper Apr 4 '17 at 11:33
  • All of these sound fine to me. Some may prefer one over another but I don't think there's any formal rule you need to follow. – Andrew Apr 4 '17 at 17:29
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In American English, including the "and" in this context can be either very formal, or informal.

In spoken American English, this "and" is natural. In informal speech, it is often shortened to "'n'". When speech is written down, most contractions like "'n'" are either spelled out in full (like "and") or omitted entirely.

American primary school teachers tell children to not say "and" in this context. Most American primary school teachers teach both English and arithmetic. I think they want the children to be clear about whether they are stating a math problem, like "two and three make five", or whether they are naming a number, like "one hundred twenty-five". Thus, using "and" in this context is informal in American English.

On the other hand, there are famous American examples of formal speeches that use "and" in similar contexts. For example, Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg address includes the phrase "four score and seven years ago". Thus, very formal texts sometimes use "and" in this context.

For normal writing in American English, I recommend omitting the "and" in this context.

  • As an American, I'm not sure I agree that including "and" is natural - I think it would sound distinctly unusual for someone to say "three thousand two hundred and fifty-one." Good point about the Gettysburg Address, but that was poetic language even in its day. Do you have a source for the claim that very formal texts use "and"? I admit I'm not sure how you would look it up. – stangdon Apr 4 '17 at 11:46

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