1

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.
6
  • 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. – Weather Vane Jul 29 '20 at 14:57
  • 1
    Tangentially, "ten hundred" is not idiomatic to me - I would always say "one thousand." – Canadian Yankee Jul 29 '20 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.) – Greybeard Jul 29 '20 at 15:19
  • 2
  • 1
    For dates twelve hundred is quite common. The Magna Carta was signed in 1215, twelve hundred and fifteen. – mdewey Jul 29 '20 at 16:01
3

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.

2
  • 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 Jul 29 '20 at 22:24
  • @gnasher729 Sure. I can think of any number of sentences like that, where it's two or more different numbers. – Jay Jul 30 '20 at 1:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.