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Writing Numbers in Words

Date: 10/15/97 at 22:16:20
From: Leah Faye Songalia
Subject: Numbers in words

Write each number in words: 1) 73.78007 2) 2.900087 (3) 34.4939.

Date: 10/24/97 at 18:25:59
From: Doctor Sonya
Subject: Re: Numbers in words

Dear Leah,

The key to writing numbers in words is knowing the name of the place 
where each digit is. For example, the number 461 has a 4 in the 
"hundreds" place, a 6 in the "tens" place, and a 1 in the "ones" 

Have you learned about place value in school yet? Place value is the 
key to this problem. Using our above example, 461 in words is:

   4 hundreds (400) plus
   6 tens (60) plus
   1 ones (1).

We change this around a little bit so that it is in standard English, 
and we get "four hundred sixty-one". (Remember that 6 tens is sixty.)

The question you are asking us is a little bit more complicated, 
because it has decimals in it and so you also have to worry about the 
names of the places after the decimal point. Let's take some decimals.  
I choose 4.337829. Here are the names of the places. I'll put a star 
in each place I'm talking about:

    4.*37829    tenths place
    4.3*7829    hundredths place
    4.33*829    thousandths palce
    4.337*29    ten thousandth place
    4.3378*9    hundred thousandths place
    4.33782*    millionths place 

Do you see a pattern here? 

Remember that a decimal is just another way of writing a fraction.  
For example:

    0.3 is really 3/10

In words, 3/10 is "three tenths," so 0.3 is also called "three 
tenths," and the 3 is in the "tenths" place.

The same is true for 0.33 = 33/100.  Can you figure our what 33/100 is 
in words?

Let's try to do one of the examples you sent us:


1) First, what's before the decimal point? You know what that is: 
   it's seventy-three.  

2) Now for after the decimal point. The first thing you have to do is 
   figure out how to say the number as if the decimal point weren't 

   4.9832 --> 9832 --> nine thousand eight hundred thirty-two
   0.364  -->  364 --> three hundred sixty-four

In our example, 73.78007 --> 78007 --> seventy-eight thousand seven.

3) The next step is to figure out what the name of the smallest place 
   (the place farthest to the right) is.  In our number, it's the 
   hundred thousandths place.

4) Finally, you say the whole number after the decimal, followed by 
   the name of this place:  

     seventy-eight thousand seven hundred thousandths  

   This is the way to say everything after the decimal.

5) Now that we know how to say everything before the decimal and after 
   the decimal, we just have to connect it with an "and":

   "seventy-three" and "seventy-eight thousand seven" hundred  

Now you can do your other examples the same way.

I hope this helps.  I haven't explained everything completely, so 
write us back if you have any questions.

-Doctor Sonya,  The Math Forum
 Check out our web site!   
Associated Topics:
Elementary Number Sense/About Numbers
Elementary Place Value
Middle School Number Sense/About Numbers

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