1. Around the World in a Hundred Years: From Henry the Navigator to Magellan

2. A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History

These are the titles of books. I would like to ask why the indefinite article is used before the number. When omitting the article would the meaning be different?

2 Answers 2


"A" is used in place of "one". "A hundred" = "one hundred" and "a thousand" = "one thousand".

The sentences would not make sense without the article. It would need either "a" or "one" or some other number.

That said, sometimes in casual speech, the "a" is skipped, but is still implied.


We would not say

Around the World in a Eighty-Six Years.

When dealing with common units of measure: hundreds, thousands, dozens etc., we use the article.

A dozen years

A hundred years

A million years

A thousand years

  • What about a hundred and one dalmatians or a thousand and one ideas? Around the world in hundred and two years? A thousand and forty seven years of nonlinear history? So does anything over 99 work? Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 16:33
  • 1
    So does anything over 99 work? Nope. 243? The article goes with the noun (dozen, hundred, thousand, million, ... gazillion). There is no article before X in "and X".
    – TimR
    Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 16:46
  • 1
    @AlanCarmack - All of those examples kind of use numbers as common units, though, as though they were "the dalmatians, which are a hundred and one". BTW, I was taught that it is incorrect to say numbers like "a thousand and forty-seven" and that the correct way is "one thousand forty-seven".
    – stangdon
    Commented Mar 29, 2016 at 17:38

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