Using Word Names for Numbers

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  • 0:01 Numbers
  • 0:53 Word Names
  • 3:03 Example 1
  • 3:33 Example 2
  • 4:18 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

Watch this video lesson to learn how the worlds of math and English mix together. Learn how to go from English to math and then back to English again. Learn how every single math number has an equivalent English word for it.


Numbers are everywhere. In math, we define numbers as mathematical objects used to count. You know these as your counting numbers that begin with 1, 2, and 3 and go on forever. If you spend just a bit of time walking around your neighborhood, you will see that these numbers are in use everywhere. All the houses in your neighborhood probably have a house number attached to them to let the mailman know where to deliver mail. There are speed limit signs everywhere that tell cars how fast they should go. Numbers are everywhere. While it's easy to recognize a number and they are easy to write down on paper, how would you tell your buddy in Australia your street address, for example, so he can send you a gift or a letter?

Word Names

This is where the English words for our numbers come in handy. By using these words, we can describe any number to anybody else. Yes, you will be able to give your street address with your street number to your buddy in Australia. How do you do this? There is a certain process involved in reading a number, the most important being that you have to know your place values.

Remember that your place values begin with the Units, or Ones, place. While we read our numbers from the left to right like we read everything else in English, our place values go in the opposite direction. Our place values increase from right to left. So, the rightmost digit is the Ones place. The second digit to the left is the Tens place. The third digit to the left is the Hundreds place. For the number 123, the 1 is in the Hundreds place, the 2 is in the Tens place, and the 3 is in the Ones place.

To read a number like this, we look to see what digit we have in each place value. We then say our digit and then our place value unless that particular number has a name of its own. For example, 123 is read one hundred twenty-three. For the Hundreds place value we have a 1, so we read the one first followed by the place value. For the Tens place, we have a 2, but instead of reading it as two tens, we read it as twenty because we know that 2-0 has a special name, which is twenty. All of our numbers in the Ones place have a special name, so we don't say three ones either, but we use their special names - in this case, three. That's how we get one hundred twenty-three.

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