Numbers (I): the universal language (A1)

numerosGlobalization has increased the need of learning languages. Information travels at the speed of light and we have to be ready to be able to understand it. All of us should learn English, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic… for different reasons: economic, sociopolitical, labour or just tourist ones.

However, neither English nor Spanish are or will be the universal languages. Los números (numbers) are which rule our lives. Los números are everywhere and if you travel to other country, the first foreign words you might hear could be numbers: horarios (schedules), precios (prices), información personal (personal information).

So, let’s learn how to use numbers in Spanish.

  • 0-10: As in most of languages, you need to memorize them. There’s no logical rules to form them, unless you’ve already studied another Romance language; in this case, it will be easy for you: Cero (0), uno (1), dos (2), tres (3), cuatro (4), cinco (5), seis (6), siete (7), ocho (8), nueve (9), diez (10).
  • 11-19: We have two different groups here: irregular and regular ones:
    • 11-15: again, we need to learn them by heart: Once (11), doce (12), trece (13), catorce (14), quince (15).
    • 16-19: now we have some logic here. We put the prefix “dieci-“ (it comes from “diez y” = ten and…) and unit numbers in a whole word. Take care with the accent marks! Dieciséis (16), diecisiete (17), dieciocho (18), diecinueve (19).
  • 20-29: following the previous rule, we use the prefix “veinti” (it comes from “veinte y” = twenty and…) and the unit number in a whole word. Again, Take care with the accent marks! Veinte (20), veintiuno (21), veintidós (22), veititrés (23), veinticuatro (24), veinticinco (25), veintiséis (26), veintisiete (27), veintiocho (28), veintinueve (29).
  • 30-99: From here, the rule is very simple: you just need to learn the “tens”, add “y” (and) and finally the units.Treinta (30), cuarenta (40), cincuenta (50), sesenta (60), setenta (70), ochenta (80), noventa (90). Treinta y cuatro (34), cincuenta y ocho (58), noventa y nueve (99).
  • 100-999: For hundreds we can divide them in two groups:
    • 100-199: although cien (100) is its name, we should use the word ciento for bigger numbers, and in other word the rest of the number, following the previous rules.Ciento veinticinco (125), ciento sesenta y siete (167)…
    • 200-999: for hundred numbers we need to use the prefix from 1 to 9 (some of them are irregular*) joined to the plural word cientos, in a single word. Doscientos (200), trescientos (300), cuatrocientos (400), quinientos* (500), seiscientos (600), setecientos* (700), ochocientos (800), novecientos* (900). Doscientos treinta y ocho (238), quinientos sesenta y cinco (565), novecientos noventa y nueve (999).

In the near future we’ll carry on with bigger ones and other contents related to maths and numbers. However, if you want to learn Spanish via Skype with us, you will just need to learn small numbers to understand our fees. Don’t you believe me? Click here and try a trial lesson. You don’t need to calculate the price, it’s free!



* Image courtesy of digitalart at

By | 2017-02-15T22:32:04+00:00 Junio 17th, 2015|A1, Pocket Grammar|Sin comentarios

About the Author:

I was born in Badajoz (Extremadura) and I currently live in Bilbao (Basque Country). I studied a Bachelor degree in Spanish Language and Literature and an International House degree as a qualified teacher of Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language. I think languages are the key that opens the doors to new cultures and I love teaching mine.

Deje su comentario