Large Numbers in Spanish

Instructor: Ashley Zehel

Ashley has a M.A. in Spanish as well as a B.S. in Foreign Language Education. She has taught K-12 and now teaches college level.

Dealing with large quantities is common in our world. This could be money, time, products, or even people. In this lesson, you will learn how to communicate using large numbers in Spanish. Now you can keep track of these quantities, or count the number of hairs on your head just to pass the time.

Spanish Numbers

Counting in Spanish is pretty easy. Just like English, many of the numbers share prefixes while they are in groups of tens, hundreds, thousands, millions, and beyond.

When writing big numbers in numeric form, periods are used to separate hundreds, thousands, and millions places while commas are used where we would use decimal points. For example, something that costs 60 thousand dollars and 99 cents in the Spanish-speaking world might be written $60.000,99. Note that the U.S. use of the decimal points and commas are the exact opposite. Some countries that have more of a U.S. influence may write their prices exactly the same as English, so just ask if something is unclear!

money

Hundreds

You're likely already knowledgeable about number 1-99. Let's now take a look at the numbers that make up the hundreds.

  • 100 - cien if standing alone, or ciento if followed by another number. For example, 150 is said ciento cincuenta, 101 is ciento uno, 183 is ciento ochenta y tres, while 100 is just said cien. When you want to say something like 'Hundreds of people' you'd make it plural: Cientos de personas.

The rest of these hundreds-place numbers are always the same no matter if they stand alone or have other numbers after them.

  • 200 - doscientos
  • 300 - trescientos
  • 400 - cuatrocientos
  • 500 - quinientos
  • 600 - seiscientos
  • 700 - setecientos
  • 800 - ochocientos
  • 900 - novecientos

Thousands

Now let's jump to an even bigger number: the thousands! Notice the decimal where you might normally see a comma in English.

  • 1.000 - mil, or use miles when saying something like 'thousands of people:' Miles de personas.

To say anything more than one thousand, you would just say the number of thousands and the word mil afterwards. Here are some examples:

  • 2.000 - dos mil
  • 3.000 - tres mil
  • 9.000 - nueve mil
  • 10.000 - diez mil
  • 79.000 - setenta y nueve mil
  • 100.000 - cien mil
  • 150.000 - ciento cincuenta mil
  • 900.000 - novecientos mil

Millions

Alright, let's get even higher. Let's look at how we would say millions, billions and beyond!

  • 1.000.000- un millón or, again, to say 'Millions of people:' Millones de personas.

This number works just like mil where you would just say the number of millions with the word millones after it.

  • 2.000.000 - dos millones
  • 40.000.000 - cuarenta millones
  • 561.000.000 - quinientos sesenta y uno millones

The even bigger numbers work just the same as millón and millones, whereas just one million is singular and everything beyond that is plural.

  • billion - mil millón and mil millones
  • trillion - billón and billones

Note that billón is a false cognate and does not mean 'billion' in English. To say billion in Spanish, we are really saying one thousand millions.

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