Numbers
Many foreigners seem to have trouble using big numbers (over 10 thousand) in
English. It is really quite easy once you get the hang of it. The secret is to
look at the comma separators and place divisions in large numbers. Numbers
below 1000 are easy.
5= five 73= seventy three 129= one hundred and twenty nine
In using large numbers, you are basically repeating this simple process, but between the comma separators you include additional words for the place divisions. These words are thousand, million, billion, trillion, and zillion.

Trillion 
Billion 
Million 
Thousand 
hundred 
tens & ones 
1,344 



1 
3 

16,798 



16 
7 
98 
123,787 



123 
7 
87 
3,655,102 


3 
655 
1 
02 
77,503,911 


77 
503 
9 
11 
1,689,237,705 

1 
689 
237 
7 
05 
99,237,008,478,208 
99 
237 
8 
478 
2 
99 
77,503,911=
seventy seven million, five hundred and three thousand, nine hundred and eleven
In this digit,
1 say the basic number before the first comma (77),
2 add the place division word (million),
3 say the basic number before the second comma (503)
4 say the place division word (thousand),
5 then say the small number (911)
Practice saying these numbers with your partner.
12,567 343,756 24,457, 800
458,903,111 123,456,789 6,840,678,236
45,693,777,043 543,867,903,040
111,222,333,444,555 56,583,694,784,223,275
In very, very large (or small) numbers scientific notation is used.
The number 15 X 10^{4 }is
read as: 15 times 10 to the fourth.
The small number 22 X 10^{–5 }is read as 22 times 10 to the negative
fifth.
Dialogue Numbers
Rex: Do you know the population of the earth?
Tex: Yes, it’s approximately 6,100,000,000.
Rex: Do you know the speed of light?
Tex: Yes, it’s 186,000 miles per second.
Rex: Do you know the number of neurons a human brain has?
Tex: Yes, a human brain contains 100,000,000,000 neurons.
Rex: Do you know how many miles Pluto is from the Sun?
Tex: Yes, Pluto is 5,913,520,000 miles from the sun.
Rex: Do you know how many dollar bills, stacked end on end, it would
take to reach the moon?
Tex: Actually no, I know it’s a whole lot more than I have.
Rex: What is the average number of hairs on the human head?
Tex: The average number of hairs is 200,000.
Rex: Do you know how many stars are in the sky?
Tex: Not exactly, but to quote Carl Sagan “Billions and billions.”
Rex: Do you know how many atoms are in an ounce of gold?
Tex: Yes, there are 9.5 X 10^{2} atoms in an ounce of gold.
Rex: Do you know how many seconds are in a year?
Tex: Yes, there are 3.2 X 107 seconds in a year.
Rex: Do you know how many holes it would take to fill the Albert Hall?
Tex: Uh? What are you talking about?
Rex: It’s a line from a Beatles song, ‘Now I know how many holes it
would take to fill the Albert Hall. I’d love
to turn you on. ’It’s from their song “A day in the life”.
Tex: Do you know you are strange?
Rex: Yes, I know.