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Numbers in Spanish.

Numbers are everywhere... Why don't we learn today how to express quantities in Spanish?

Let's begin with:

  1. Numbers: 1 to 10

    1: uno (un / una) (*)
    2: dos
    3: tres
    4: cuatro
    5: cinco
    6: seis
    7: siete
    8: ocho
    9: nueve
    10: diez

    (*) Number 1 ("uno"), in Spanish, changes to "un" if it is followed by a masculine noun, and to "una" if followed by a feminine noun.

    Examples:

    "Yo tengo un hermano" (I have one brother)
    As "hermano" is a masculine noun, we use "un"

    "Yo tengo una hermana" (I have one sister)
    In this case, "hermana" is feminine, that's why we use "una".

    Ok, but... what about for "uno"?

    ¿Cuantos libros tienes? (How many books do you have got?)
    Sólo tengo uno. (I just have got one)
    (See it?)

    Ok, here we have other examples:

    "Tengo tres manzanas" (I have got three apples)

    As you can see, the order of verb and complements in both sentences (Spanish and English) is very similar. And… good news! Apart from number "uno", Spanish numbers make no difference between masculine and feminine nouns. So, you can say:

    "La casa tiene cuatro habitaciones" (The house has four rooms)
    (The word "habitación" is masculine)

    or:

    "Tienes cuatro hermanas" (You have four sisters)
    (The word "hermana" is feminine)

    § Grammar Point:

    What's the difference between "habitación" and "habitaciones"?

    The difference is just that the first word is singular and the second plural. And here comes the rule:

    - In Spanish, any word ending with "-ón" makes the plural in "-ones". Remember?

    Camión - Camiones (Van)

  2. Numbers: 11 to 20

    11: once
    12: doce
    13: trece
    14: catorce
    15: quince
    16: dieciséis
    17: diecisiete
    18: dieciocho
    19: diecinueve
    20: veinte

    Note than numbers 16 (dieciséis), 17 (diecisiete), 18 (dieciocho) and 19 (diecinueve) are "contracted" words:

    16 = diez y seis -> dieciséis
    17 = diez y siete -> diecisiete
    18 = diez y ocho -> dieciocho
    19 = diez y nueve -> diecinueve

    (where the word "y" means "and")

    This first 20 numbers could be the most complicated, as 30, 40, 50, etc… follow rules which may be easier to remember. Let's take a look at them.


  3. Numbers: from 21 to 30

    21: veintiuno
    22: veintidós
    23: veintitrés
    24: veinticuatro
    25: veinticinco
    26: veintiséis
    27: veintisiete
    28: veintiocho
    29: veintinueve
    30: treinta

    From number 21, everything becomes easier. Let's see how it works:

    20 = veinte

    So, 21 is "veinte" and "uno" --> "veinte y uno". (As said before, "y" means "and") Isn't it?

    Ok. From this point, these three words becomes one: veintiuno. The final "e" of "veinte" disappears and the conjunction "y" becomes an "i".

    And the rest of these numbers will follow the same rule.

  4. Other Numbers:

    As said before, from number 21, we won't find more exceptions. So all we need, by now, is to know how to say 40, 50, 60, etc.

    40: cuarenta
    50: cincuenta
    60: sesenta
    70: setenta
    80: ochenta
    90: noventa
    100: cien
    1000: mil

    Let's see some examples:

    "Mi marido tiene cuarenta y dos años" (My husband is 42 years old)

    - You can see that number 42 is composed by three words: cuarenta (forty) y (and) dos (two)

    "El libro tiene ciento siete páginas" (The book has 107 pages)

    - From number 100 to 999, numbers are composed as follows:

    101 - ciento uno
    102 - ciento dos
    103 - ciento tres, etc.

    Note that we use "ciento" + any number. We use the word "cien" just for the exact number (100).

    Other exception is 500 = quinientos, as numbers from 100 to 400, and from 600 to 900 follow the same rule:

    100 = cien
    200 = doscientos
    300 = trescientos
    400 = cuatrocientos

    600 =seiscientos
    700 = setecientos
    (in this case, it should be "sietecientos", but vowels -ie- become an -e-); So, instead of sietecientos we must say setecientos.

    800 = ochocientos
    900 = novecientos
    (this is also other exception, as number 700: vowels -ue- become an -o-); So, instead of nuevecientos, we must say novecientos.

For any question or doubt, feel free to e-mail me or just post a message at the forum.

¡Que tenga un buen día!
Angeles F.



VOCABULARY IN THIS LESSON (alphabetical order):
año (m): yearhermano (m) : brother
camion (m): van manzana (f): apple
¿cuantos...? (m): How many...? marido (m): husband
habitación (f): room página (f): page
hermana (f): sister solo: just, only, lonely, alone
libro (m): book tengo (Tener) : I have (To have)





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I write monthly articles for "Think Spanish" ("Piensa en español") since 2002. All "Think Spanish" articles are written in Spanish, and they include a Spanish/English glossary. You'll also have the option to buy this magazine including a CD. Nice way to learn about Spanish language and customs!

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