Chapter 24   --   Counting in Spanish


The number system used in Spanish is identical to that used in several other languages, English included.   There are some differences in usage, and there is one notation difference, namely the use of commas and periods in writing numbers.   In English, we use a period to separate the decimal places from the units, but in Spanish, a comma is used.   English uses a comma to separate the thousands, but Spanish uses a period.

          example: English $1,339,227.12                 Spanish $1.339.227,12


All other notation in the use of numbers is the same as in English, as are the symbols used in mathematics.   Curiously, the dollar sign used in English originated from the Spanish symbol for the peso.

                   Cardinal numbers                                                                                             Ordinal numbers*

zero 0 cero        
one 1 uno   first 1 primero*
two 2 dos   second 2 segundo
three 3 tres   third 3 tercero
four 4 cuatro   fourth 4 cuarto
five 5 cinco   fifth 5 quinto
six 6 seis   sixth 6 sexto
seven 7 siete   seventh 7 séptimo
eight 8 ocho   eighth 8 octavo
nine 9 nueve   ninth 9 noveno
ten 10 diez   tenth 10 décimo
eleven 11 once   eleventh 11 decimoprimero/undécimo
twelve 12 doce   twelveth 12 decimosegundo/duodécimo
thirteen 13 trece   thirteenth 13 decimotercero
fourteen 14 catorce   fourteenth 14 decimocuarto
fifteen 15 quince   fifteenth 15 decimoquinto
sixteen 16 dieciseis/diez y seis   sixteenth 16 decimosexto
seventeen 17 diecisiete/diez y siete   seventeenth 17 decimoséptimo
eighteen 18 dieciocho/diez y ocho   eighteenth 18 decimoctavo
nineteen 19 diecinueve/diez y nueve   nineteenth 19 decimonoveno
twenty 20 veinte   twentieth 20 vigésimo
twentyone 21 veinte y uno/veintiuno   twentyfirst 21 veinte primero
twentytwo 22 veinte y dos   twentysecond 22 veinte segundo
twentythree 23 veinte y tres   twentythird 23 veinte tercero
twentyfour 24 veinte y cuatro   twentyfourth 24 veinte cuarto
twentyfive 25 veinte y cinco   twentyfifth 25 veinte quinto
twentysix 26 veinte y seis   twentysixth 26 veinte sexto
twentyseven 27 veinte y siete   twentyseventh 27 veinte séptimo
twentyeight 28 veinte y ocho   twentyeighth 28 veinte octavo
twentynine 29 veinte y nueve   twentyninth 29 veinte noveno
thirty 30 treinta   thirtieth 30 trigésimo
thirtythree 33 treinta y tres   thirtythird 33 treinta tercero
fourty 40 cuarenta   fourtieth 40 cuadragésimo
fourtyfour 44 cuarenta y cuatro   fourtyfourth 44 cuadragésimo cuarto
fifty 50 cincuenta   fiftieth 50 quincuagésimo
fiftyfive 55 cincuenta y cinco   fiftyfifth 55 quincagésimo quinto
sixty 60 sesenta   sixtieth 60 sexagésimo
sixtysix 66 sesenta y seis   sixtysixth 66 sexagésimo sexto
seventy 70 setenta   seventieth 70 septuagésimo
seventyseven 70 setenta y siete   seventyseventh 77 septuagésimo séptimo
eighty 80 ochenta   eightieth 80 octogésimo
eightyeight 88 ochenta y ocho   eightyeighth 88 octogésimo octavo
ninety 90 noventa   nintieth 90 nonagésimo
ninetynine 99 noventa y nueve   ninetyninth 99 nonagésimo noveno
one hundred 100 cién   onehundredth 100 centésimo
one hundred one 101 ciento uno   onehundredfirst 101 centésimo primero
two hundred 200 dosciento*   twohundredth 200 ducentésimo
two hundred twentytwo 222 doscientoveinte y dos        
three hundred 300 tresciento   threehundredth 300 trecientésimo
three hundred thirytthree 333 trescientotrenta y tres        
four hundred 400 cuatrociento   four hundredth 400 cuadringentésimo
four hundred fourtyfour 444 cuatrocientocuarenta y cuatro        
five hundred 500 quiniento   five hundredth 500 quingentésimo
five hundred fiftyfive 555 quinientocincuenta y cinco        
six hundred 600 seciento   six hundredth 600 sexcentésimo
six hundred sixtysix 666 secientosesenta y seis        
seven hundred 700 seteciento   seven hundredth 700 septingentésimo
seven hundred seventyseven 777 setecientosetenta y siete        
eight hundred 800 ochociento   eight hundredth 800 octingentésimo
eight hundred eightyeight 888 ochocientoochenta y ocho        
nine hundred 900 noveciento   nine hundredth 900 noningentésimo
nine hundred ninetynine 999 novecientonoventa y nueve        
one thousand 1.000 mil   one thousandth 1.000 milésimo
one thousand one 1.001 mil uno        
ten thousand 10.000 diez mil        
one million 1.000.000 millión   one millionth 1.000.000 millionésimo

When the exact number 100 is meant, the word cién is used; in all other cases, the word ciento is used. Due to the fact that the word cien is a contraction of the word ciento, when it is written it is shown without an accent, but when spoken, the accent is on the letter e as it would be in the word ciento.

* Due to the fact that all numbers are adjectives, they must agree in gender, and be in singular or plural with the noun they modify.   Some examples follow.

          in first place                                       en primer lugar

[ uno, primero and tercero are shortened to un, primer and tercer when they precede a singular, masculine noun]

          in second place                                 en segundo lugar

          near the third door                            cerca de la tercera puerta

          on the fifth page                                en la quinta página

          the tenth part                                    la décima parte

          on the eleventh floor                         en el undécimo piso

          the fifteenth player                            el decimoquinto jugador

          the twentieth time                             la vigésima vez

          the thirtieth month                             el trigésimo més

          the first ten members                        los primeros diez miembros

After the number ten, the tendency is to replace ordinal numbers with cardinal numbers.   Instead of saying “the thirtysixth page”, they tend to say “page thirtysix”.

Some ways of expressing numbers

We celebrate the Fourth of July Celebramos el cuatro de julio
She's fourtyish Ella tiene de unos cuarenta años
I wrote to him on the fifth Le escribí en el cinco
We have a thiry percent chance of rain Tenemos un chance de treinta por ciento de lluvia
He is in his twenties Es un veinteañero
twenty-odd; about twenty; early twenties Tiene veintipocos
thirty something; late 30's Tiene treintatantos
twentyfold; twenty times veinte veces

In Spain, like most European countries, the metric system of measurement is used for distance, volume, and weight.   All of the standard terminology is used in ordinary speech, with one exception, which is that instead of kilogramo, a shortened form, kilo, is used. It is common to hear “un kilo” or “dos kilos”.   It is understood that the letter k is imported from Greek, and is not a Spanish letter.

Positives and negatives

                   positive                                                  negative

                   acá, right here                                        allá, way over there

                   algo, something                                      nada, nothing

                   alguien, someone, somebody                 nadie, no one, nobody

                   alguno, some, any                                  ninguno, none, not any

                   aquí, here                                               ahí, allí, there, over there

                   bién, well                                                malo, bad

                   con, with                                                 sin, without

                   demasiado, too much                             apenas, hardly, scarcely

                   muchas veces , often                              raras veces, seldom

                   mucho , a lot, many                                 poco, little, a few

                   muy, very                                               apenas, hardly

                   o ... o, either ... or                                    ni ... ni, neither ... nor

                   por primera vez, for the first time           por última vez, for the last time

                   , yes                                                     no, no, not

                   siempre, always                                     nunca, jamas, never, not ever

                   también, also, too                                  tampoco, neither, nope

                   una vez, once                                         ninguna vez, at no time


This book is available from under item number 3352644. Books purchased from Lulu are accompanied by a complete list of irregular verbs and all of their forms.

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