The Billion Dollar Question

So how much is a billion?

Answer: 1,000,000,000 (one thousand million)

Sub-plot: In American English a billion is 1,000,000,000. In British English a billion used to be, and technically still may be, 1,000,000,000,000 (one million million); but in practical usage British English now treats a billion the same as American English does: 1,000,000,000.

Nevertheless, a British billionaire is still worth more than an American billionaire (slightly more than twice as much at today’s rate of exchange).


By Josef Essberger for EnglishClub February 2008
Josef started teaching English as a foreign language in 1991 and founded EnglishClub for learners and teachers in 1997.

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