Pick a number between one and ten. Someone familiar with US practices would know that one and ten are included. A visitor to the US might think the range is two through nine, being between one and ten. What would be the best way to word the offer, so the visitor would not be at an unfair advantage in case the number to choose is one or ten?

  • 1
    I don't believe there's any concept of AmE being different to usage by other native speakers. The expression between A and B can be either inclusive or exclusive, as covered previously on ELU, but in OP's exact context almost everyone would assume inclusive. Why would any speaker force his audience to go through the pointless distraction of adding/subtracting one from each of the two numbers explicitly specified? Commented May 28, 2015 at 15:42
  • 4
    …especially when in practise almost no-one ever chooses either of the extremes anyway ;) Commented May 28, 2015 at 17:20
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    @Tetsujin, That's true. Five or six would give the guesser about a one in two chance against a single opponent picking higher or lower. One or ten would yield a one in ten chance. I don't have the statistics to prove this, but I believe the most chosen number by the one offering the challenge is lucky seven.
    – JimM
    Commented May 29, 2015 at 13:40

3 Answers 3


You could say, "Pick a number from one to ten". This is usually understood to be inclusive - going from A to Z doesn't mean you start at B and end at Y, and working from Monday to Friday doesn't mean working only three days a week. Or, if you want to be extremely precise, say "Pick a number from one to ten, inclusive".

  • 5
    In all fairness, if you want to be extremely precise, you would need to specify that you're asking for integer numbers. Otherwise, someone taking the statement literally could quite conceivably pick 4.42, and it will be valid according to the given criteria: it matches the range "from one to ten, inclusive".
    – user
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 19:25
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    @Matt, Your choice of from instead of between is a good choice.
    – JimM
    Commented May 28, 2015 at 19:58
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    I find Pi is a perfectly wonderful number between 1 and 10 😉 Commented May 28, 2015 at 22:45
  • @Bill Michell, Aw, how did you know the number I was thinking of is Pi? You win!
    – JimM
    Commented Jun 1, 2015 at 12:48

@Matt's answer is the way I've usually heard it, but one way to be even clearer that 10 is included is to use "through":

Pick a number from one through ten.

and you can emphasize that you're including the endpoints with "anywhere":

Pick a number anywhere from one through ten.


I'm not sure why Talmu deleted his answer, because I think it's correct and what I intended to say. If you want to be absolutely clear, you say "between one and ten inclusive" or "between one and ten exclusive".

The phrasing "between X and Y" is ambiguous on whether the end-points are included. If you said, "Al's scores were all between 8 and 10", I'd probably understand you to mean that he got some 8's, some 9's, and some 10's. But if you said, "Al's score was between Betty's and Carl's", I'd think you meant higher than Betty's and lower than Carl's, and not that it might have been the same as one or the other. It all depends on context, and is often not clear.

As others have noted, there are other phrasings that are not ambiguous. Like if you said "pick a number from 1 to 10", I think any English-speaker would assume that 1 and 10 are included in the range.

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