Counting in Spanish
Spanish (español, also known as Castilian, or castellano) is a romance language (more specifically in the Ibero-Romance group) from the Indo-European family. Official language in 21 countries, including Spain, Mexico, Colombia and Argentine, it counts about 330 million speakers (of which 40 million in Spain alone).
Spanish numbers list
- 1 – uno
- 2 – dos
- 3 – tres
- 4 – cuatro
- 5 – cinco
- 6 – seis
- 7 – siete
- 8 – ocho
- 9 – nueve
- 10 – diez
- 11 – once
- 12 – doce
- 13 – trece
- 14 – catorce
- 15 – quince
- 16 – dieciséis
- 17 – diecisiete
- 18 – dieciocho
- 19 – diecinueve
- 20 – veinte
- 30 – treinta
- 40 – cuarenta
- 50 – cincuenta
- 60 – sesenta
- 70 – setenta
- 80 – ochenta
- 90 – noventa
- 100 – cien
- 1,000 – mil
- one million – un millón
- one billion – mil millones
- one trillion – un billón
Spanish numbering rules
Now that you’ve had a gist of the most useful numbers, let’s move to the writing rules for the tens, the compound numbers, and why not the hundreds, the thousands and beyond (if possible).
- Digits and numbers from zero to fifteen are specific words, namely cero , uno  (which is apocoped in un before a vowel, and has a feminine form: una), dos , tres , cuatro , cinco , seis , siete , ocho , nueve , diez , once , doce , trece , catorce , quince . Sixteen to twenty-nine are regular numbers, i.e. named after the ten (or the twenty) and the digit. Diez y seis [10 and 6] is phonetically shortened with an apocope as dieciséis. The same applies up to twenty-nine: diecisiete [10 and 7], dieciocho [10 and 8]… veintinueve [20 and 9].
- The tens have specific names based on their multiplier digit root except for ten and twenty: diez , veinte , treinta , cuarenta , cincuenta , sesenta , setenta , ochenta , and noventa .
- The same applies for the hundreds where one word is created by removing the space between the multiplier and the hundred word: cien  (plural cientos), doscientos , trescientos , cuatrocientos , quinientos , seiscientos , setecientos , ochocientos , and novecientos .
- Tens and units are linked with y (and), as in treinta y cinco .
- The word for thousand is mil. Thousands are formed by stating the multiplier digit before it, except for one thousand itself: mil [1,000], dos mil [2,000], tres mil [3,000], cuatro mil [4,000], cinco mil [5,000]…
- The Spanish language uses the long scale system in which we alternate between a scale word and its thousand. Thus, we have millón (106, million), mil millones (109, billion), billón (1012, trillion), mil billones (1015, quadrillion), trillón (1018, quintillion), mil trillones (1021, sextillion)… The only (local) exception to this rule is the Spanish spoken in Puerto Rico where the short scale is in use. In Puerto Rico, un billón is 109 (equivalent to the US billion).
Write a number in full in Spanish
Let’s move now to the practice of the numbering rules in Spanish. Will you guess how to write a number in full? Enter a number and try to write it down in your head, or maybe on a piece of paper, before displaying the result.
Schaum’s Outline of Spanish Grammar, 5ed
by Conrad J. Schmitt, editors McGraw-Hill (2008)
[ , ]
by Christopher Kendris, editors Barron’s Educational Series (2001)
A Comprehensive Spanish Grammar
by Jacques De Bruyne, editors Wiley-Blackwell (1996)
Nueva gramática de la Lengua Española
by Real Academia de la Lengua Española, editors Espasa Calpe (2010)
Competencia gramatical en USO A1
editors Edelsa (2010)
Diccionario panhispánico de dudas
by Santillana Rae, editors Real Academia Española (2005)
Perdón, imposible. Guía para una puntuación más rica y consciente
by José Antonio Millán, editors RBA Libros (2005)
Les Idiomatics : Français-espagnol
by Nestor Salas, editors Seuil (2003)
Grammaire de l’espagnol
by Beatriz Job, Marie-Claude Dana, editors Nathan (1999)
Bescherelle Grammaire Espagnole
by Monique Da Silva, editors Hatier (1998)
Parlons espagnol : langue et culture
by Gilbert Fabre, editors L’Harmattan (1997)
Language training and methods
- Learn the most useful words and phrases first so you can start speaking Spanish fast with MOSALingua
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