Numbers-Can anyone asnwer this or have an idea

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• 15-Dec-2009, 15:46
alkaspeltzar
Writing numbers in word form?
My question is this:

Numbers for the most part are adjectives, that is their part of speech. They help quantify and explain 'how many'.

Yet most adjectives are one word. Why are numbers though written as several words, sometimes stringing out quite far. For example 5,402 would be read as "five thousand, four hundred and two".

Is it just how it is, number which are adjectives, have their own form when put into words and that is just the way it is?

Just curious, numbers seem to be kinda special compared to other parts of speech in our languauge. They are the only part that can be an word, or symbol or rumeral numeral etc.

Thanks for the help.
• 16-Dec-2009, 20:37
2006
Re: Writing numbers in word form?
Quote:

Originally Posted by alkaspeltzar
My question is this:

Numbers for the most part are adjectives, that is their part of speech.
Yes, they often quantify nouns, but they also function as nouns and pronouns. In fact, dictionaries list their primary function as nouns.
eg. She can count to five.

Yet most adjectives are one word. But that doesn't mean anything, and there are many compound adjectives.
eg. an extremely-well-written book

Why are numbers though written as several words, sometimes stringing out quite far. For example 5,402 would be read as "five thousand, four hundred and two". But how else would you write it? And 5,402 by itself is a noun.

Thanks for the help.

2006
• 16-Dec-2009, 21:28
alkaspeltzar
Re: Numbers-Can anyone asnwer this or have an idea
Okay, I understand what you are saying. Numbers are just one type of adjective that can be written out as more than one word. Like other adjectives sometimes are. You are right, how else would you break down 5,402 or something like that.

But I have looked in dictionaries, and most list numbers primarily as adjectives, except when used as nouns. At least that is how Dictionary and Thesaurus - Free Online at Your Dictionary puts it, and that is webster's. I mean, if I said "give me 3 apples", '3' is definitely an adjective. So to say otherwise seems odd.
• 16-Dec-2009, 21:59
Barb_D
Re: Numbers-Can anyone asnwer this or have an idea
They really fall into the class of "determiners" as "quantifiers" rather than ordinary adjectives (like "blue" or "happy").

Articles, Determiners, and Quantifiers
or
The Grammatical Determinative in English: Articles, Demonstratives, Possessive Determiners, Other Determiners | Suite101.com
• 16-Dec-2009, 22:22
Tdol
Re: Numbers-Can anyone asnwer this or have an idea
And some of them crop up as nouns or verbs too.
• 17-Dec-2009, 15:19
alkaspeltzar
Re: Numbers-Can anyone asnwer this or have an idea
Never mind, that is not my question.

I mean, I can show multiple text books that show numbers as adjectives. Determiners and quantifiers are words like few and many, but the don't even show a number as an example. I can't trust that is right. Check out the site below...it makes more sense:
English Grammar: DETERMINERS: QUANTIFIERS - NUMBERS ORDINAL AND CARDINAL

But back to my original question, why are numbers written out in such long combinations? I mean they don't act like typical adjectives, being one or two words rather they can get quite long. Such as 546 "five hundred forty-six". Is that just how numbers are written?
• 17-Dec-2009, 22:54
Barb_D
Re: Numbers-Can anyone asnwer this or have an idea
Quote:

Originally Posted by alkaspeltzar
I can show multiple text books that show numbers as adjectives. Determiners and quantifiers are words like few and many, but the don't even show a number as an example. I can't trust that is right.

Did you look at the information in the links I provided. I think you can trust that numbers fall into the category of determiners!

Quote:

Originally Posted by alkaspeltzar
But back to my original question, why are numbers written out in such long combinations? I mean they don't act like typical adjectives, being one or two words rather they can get quite long. Such as 546 "five hundred forty-six". Is that just how numbers are written?

Yes, that's just how they are written. Most style guides suggest that when numbers are greater than 10, you use numerals instead of words, for this very reason.

How do you write 1,316 in your native language, using words instead of numerals? Can you really do it in two words?
• 17-Dec-2009, 23:22
alkaspeltzar
Re: Numbers-Can anyone asnwer this or have an idea
Okay, I get it now how to write numbers. Thanks for answering that

But I have learned there are 8 parts of speech, so determiners must fall under one of those. From reading other text books and such online, determiners still fall under are adjectives. They still are a modifiying/describing word, hence then numbers are still adjectives right?

I guess that is what I want to know. I did read you information, but it seems to not follow the english text books as how they define numbers. Everything I have, including dictionaries, puts the number 'four' as an adjective primarily.
• 17-Dec-2009, 23:58
Barb_D
Re: Numbers-Can anyone asnwer this or have an idea
Yes, they are adjectives, but they are a special class of adjectives.

Instead of describing the nature of the noun (thrilling, happy, red, cold) that sub-set describes which ones (this street, my dog) or how many (a few girls, 12 apples).
• 18-Dec-2009, 15:03
alkaspeltzar
Re: Numbers-Can anyone asnwer this or have an idea
Barb, okay, I think I got it. Please see if this is correct.

First, numbers when written in word form can be more than one word, that is just how they are broken down and explained. So if I said '154', it would be 'one hundred, fifty-four'. That is just the way language uses numbers

Second, numbers are adjectives. But like you said, they are a special type that explains 'how many' not other characterisitcs. Numbers are just a special word form used to explain and answer 'how many' kinds of questions.

Please let me know if this is correct. Sorry for the badgering, I really appreciate the help. Thank you
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