I have read two examples about "Billion" word and I got confused with why are existences "a" and " the" in these contexts . Is it mentioned "definite" and "indefinite" meaing ?

Examples- 1. The Clinton administration last winter assembled the $50 billion emergency bailout package to ease a financial crisis in Mexico.( From Cambridge dictionary )

  1. It is estimated that UK business could save a further $3 billion if they made the effort. (From my book)

1 Answer 1


The articles "a" and "the" don't actually attach to "billion".

In the first example, "the" attaches to "bailout package", which is further modified by specifying its size as "$50 billion".

The second example should be read as "a further 30 billion dollars", and that is an elliptical way of saying "an additional sum of 30 billion dollars."

  • There's no weird rule in English that would prescribe reading "3 billion" as "30 billion".
    – Ben Voigt
    Apr 13, 2020 at 5:12
  • My, what a cogent observation. Apr 13, 2020 at 5:27
  • And yet your answer still advises interpreting the sentence with a number 10 times larger than what's printed. Once you make the edit we can clean up these comments.
    – Ben Voigt
    Apr 13, 2020 at 5:28

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