We often say something like "a million and two hundred dollars" or "ten thousand and fifty five dollars", which are the common ways to say such things. However, I remember a certain form, which is the inversed way I once spotted that interests me:

  • Ten hundred and two thousand dollars.
  • Seventy eight and a hundred bucks.
  • A thousand and half a million pounds.

And also these two forms:

  • One hundred dollars and two thousand more.
  • A hundred over a thousand coins.
  • 1
    They read like arithmetic exercises, and the last two only make sense as such. Sometimes I might say "twelve hundred" but I won't complicate it by then adding more parts. I never start with the smallest section, but the largest. Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 14:57
  • 2
    Tangentially, "ten hundred" is not idiomatic to me - I would always say "one thousand." Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 15:05
  • 2
    I remember a certain form, which is the inverted way I once spotted that interests me: You are perhaps thinking of an old-fashioned method of counting in English for numbers between 20 and 99. 25 can be said as "Twenty-five" or "five and twenty". Likewise, 73 can be said as seventy-three and "three and seventy". The second versions of these are archaic: the only current use I can think of in British English is "five and twenty", which is sometimes used when telling the time: A What time is it?" B It is five and twenty to six." (= 05:35, i.e. 25 minutes before 6 o'clock.)
    – user81561
    Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 15:19
  • 2
    Related (seeing as that feature is still broken): Why are two-digit numbers in Jonathan Swift's “Gulliver's Travels” (1726) written in “German style”? Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 15:26
  • 1
    For dates twelve hundred is quite common. The Magna Carta was signed in 1215, twelve hundred and fifteen.
    – mdewey
    Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 16:01

1 Answer 1


In modern English, we give the largest amounts first and then work down. "Ten thousand three hundred eight-five", NOT "eighty-five, three hundred, and ten thousand".

I have seen the smaller numbers given first in old books. Hundreds of years ago apparently English-speakers did say things like "six and twenty". But that's just about non-existent today. You might see it in poetry where someone is trying to make a particular rhyme or rhythm.

"One hundred dollars and two thousand more" ... I can't imagine someone writing that except to be deliberate strange-sounding, or as I say to make a rhyme in a poem, or something of that sort.

  • I might say "I'll pay you two hundred dollars today and two thousand more over the next twelve months", but that wouldn't be a single number.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Jul 29, 2020 at 22:24
  • @gnasher729 Sure. I can think of any number of sentences like that, where it's two or more different numbers.
    – Jay
    Commented Jul 30, 2020 at 1:12

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