the world's premier FREE website for learners + teachers of English

Vocabulary of Numbers

numbers

Numbers are the words or symbols that we use to count quantity.

We have one nose and two eyes on our face. We have four fingers and one thumb on each hand. There are seven days in a week. There are twelve months in a year. And there are one hundred years in a century.

On these pages we look at:

Cardinal Numbers
These are "normal" numbers, eg: 1, 2, 3 etc

Ordinal Numbers
How we write numbers that describe the "order" of things, eg: first, second, third

Thousands
How we use the comma (,) to separate thousands, eg: 5,000,000

Tens And Units Blues Song
Fun with numbers. Sing along if you like.

Decimal Numbers
How we use a point (.) to express numbers smaller than 1, eg: 0.9, 0.5, 0.001

Fractions
How we use fractions to express numbers smaller than 1, eg: ½, ¼,¾

Roman Numerals
How we express numbers the hard way, with letters as symbols, eg: I, II, III etc

The symbols that we use for numbers today (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9) are called Arabic numerals. Another system that you sometimes see (i, ii, v, x, l, c etc) uses Roman numerals.